Freedom of information - the impact on biomedical science

From: Thomas J. Walker <tjw_at_GNV.IFAS.UFL.EDU>
Date: Thu, 4 May 2000 13:28:35 -0400

This e-mail was sent by BioMed Central


6-7 July 2000, New York Academy of Medicine


Science is changing. Soon, scientific research will be made
freely available to all online. PubMed Central and other free
access initiatives are making it clear that the way science is
communicated, used and done will change forever. But what
will the impact of free access publishing be on the working
lives of scientists, publishers, librarians and the general public?
And what effect will free access to research have on science
itself? Some of the key players from the scientific community
are due to discuss these issues at a conference to be held
on 6-7 July 2000 in New York.

"Personal computers and the Internet promise revolutionary
changes in methods of scientific publishing that have persisted
for three hundred years," says Dr Harold Varmus, President
of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center who will
address the conference. "Now we have the opportunity, and the
imperative, to distribute scientific findings in a fashion that
allows free access and serves the scientific community and
the public in a highly responsible way. We need to know how
this will change the way we, as scientists, go about our

"Not all publishers and librarians are adding enough value to the
information they handle," says Jan Velterop, Director of
Publishing at Nature who will also be speaking at the conference.
"If they are going to continue to earn their existence, they must
find new ways to serve the scientific community. But does
"freedom of information" mean information for free? This
conference will be a very important forum to discuss this issue."

The conference will be held on the 6-7 July 2000 at the
New York Academy of Medicine, New York, USA.
Information on the event and registration details are available
on-line at


There are a limited number of places for the media to attend
this event free of charge. To register or receive further
information please visit or contact
Andrew McLaughlin on
or +44 (0)20 7323 0323


1. Organizing committee:
Professor Pat Brown (Associate Professor of Biochemistry at
Stanford University), Dr Fiona Godlee (British Medical Journal
Publishing Group) Dr David Lipman (Director of the National
Center for Biotechnology at the NIH) and Jan Velterop
(Publishing Director of Nature) in association
with BioMed Central.
2. Dr Harold Varmus's proposal on 5 May 1999 for an archive
of electronic publications in the biomedical sciences can be
found at:
3. Registration to attend the conference will be free to journalists.
A fee of $200 (US) for individuals from not-for-profit organizations
and $500 (US) to individuals from corporate organizations will
be applicable to registrations before 1 June 2000. The fee will
rise to $250 (US) and $750(US) respectively after this date.
Registration for the event is ONLY online at
4. Directions to the New York Academy of Medicine can
be found at
5. BioMed Central is a new publishing house that will give
free access to research at
BioMed Central is part of the Current Science Group - a group
of independent companies that collaborate closely with each
other to publish and develop information and services for the
professional biomedical community. The Group has its
head-office in London (UK), with additional offices in
Philadelphia, New York and Tokyo.

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Thomas J. Walker
Department of Entomology & Nematology
University of Florida, PO Box 110620, Gainesville, FL 32611-0620
E-mail: FAX: (352)392-0190
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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