A couple of encouraging pieces of news for those following the progress of open-access science journals: The open access medical journal PLoS Clinical Trials has just launched, and recent research shows that science published in open journals is more widely cited and distributed.
PLoS Clinical Trials aims to publish studies into the effectiveness of treatments, regardless of whether they show an effect or not (to avoid the publication bias whereby trials showing ‘no effect’ are dismissed as uninteresting).
The journal also demands that trials are registered before they are submitted for publication, to avoid organisations hiding the results of trials which don’t support the effectiveness of their treatment.
Furthermore, PLoS Clinical Trials does not rely on advertising from drug companies or other vested interests, meaning they are less likely to be influenced by any outside commercial pressure.
In particular, these biases have been seen as a major problem for the effective evaluation of psychiatric drugs in particular, leading to the reform of procedures for publishing and registering drug company funded studies by some journals.
The article on the advantage of publishing on open-access journals is appropriately published in PLoS Biology, and shows that the advantage even holds over journals that make their articles freely available after a delay of 6 months.