Up to and including 5 September 2001, 27,095 people had signed up in support of the controversial open letter from the Public Library of Science (PLoS) as part of its campaign to persuade publishers to make the contents of all scientific journals free of charge online; by the next day this figure had crept up to 27,205. If the intervening 24 hour period was typical, then over 100 scientists a day are signing up to the campaign.

The letter, available for signing on the PLoS website, calls on commercial publishing houses to allow research to be distributed freely by independent, online public libraries of science. Such a move, the PLoS states, would be in the best interests of "scientific progress, education and the public good".

But while some publishers have made moves to improve access, the overall response has fallen short of the PLoS' goals. Now, in a deliberate attempt...

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