updated 10/27/2004 6:01:26 PM ET 2004-10-27T22:01:26

A new online medical journal will make its research articles available to the public free of charge and accessible through the Internet.

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The Public Library of Science Medicine (PLoS Medicine) was launched earlier this month and will be available to physicians, patients, scientists and anyone with Internet access.

The journal provides “health care personnel, their patients, and the citizens who have paid for much of the research with new findings from credible, peer-reviewed sources,” said Nobel Prize winner Harold Varmus, a former director of the National Institutes of Health and chairman of PLoS’ 11-member board of directors.

Readers will be able to copy and distribute the articles for teaching or personal purposes and thereby further expand the reach of the research.

The directors hope that people in poor countries or scientists at small research colleges will be able to benefit from medical research that otherwise would be unavailable without an expensive subscription.

To bypass the need for subscriptions, the journal will charge scientists $1,500 per article to publish their findings. The articles will be peer-reviewed by other scientists, just as the more traditional medical and science journals are.

The journal received financial support from groups including the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Sandler Family Supporting Foundation. PLoS Executive Director Vivian Siegel said that the journal will be self-supporting within five years.

The founders started an open access journal based on the same concept in October 2003 — PLoS Biology has articles available on the Internet.

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