PLoS ONE received its 2010 journal impact factor today, 4.411, placing the open access journal in 12th spot among 85 Biology journals.
The open access journal, published by the Public Library of Science, has grown rapidly since its launch in December, 2006. In 2010, it published nearly 7,000 articles and became the largest scientific journal in the world. Based on this trajectory, the publisher predicts 12,000 published articles by the end of 2011.
PLoS ONE is based on a scalable publishing model with an editorial board of 1,300 volunteer academics. As an online-only publication, the growth of the journal is nearly limitless: The journal is purposefully interdisciplinary in nature, bases criteria for inclusion primarily on "sound methodology," not novelty, and pays for itself through individual article fees. At the 2011 SSP Annual Conference, PLoS ONE publisher, Peter Binfield, believes that we've entered the era of the "OA Mega Journal." According to his predictions, by 2016, 50% of all STM articles will be published by 100 of these mega journals.
The metaphor to describe this new publishing model could go both ways: For the cynical, PLoS ONE is an alien Blob that is bent on devouring the publishing landscape; for its supporters, it represents a successful model to be emulated — and emulated it has. In the last two years, many subscription publishers have launched PLoS ONE-like journals (SAGE Open, BMJ Open,Biology Open, and Open Biology, to name a few) into the growing market, promising similar services–fast publication, high-acceptance, and article-level metrics — at competing prices.
Expect several more entrants this year.
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