madtom writes "Nature News announced the debut of the first issue of PLoS Biology this coming Monday. Positioned to compete with Nature, Science, and Cell, its arrival is already causing a stir: unlike other journals that record research about biology and medicine, this one is free. The scientists behind the journal are challenging standard publishing practice, in which researchers pay to read others' results in journals, arguing that this is unfair both to scientists who submit their work freely and to the public whose taxes subsidize the research. Not surprisingly, Nature has published a letter from John Ewing, director of the American Mathematical Society, who makes the counter argument that the journal's revenue model of charging the authors (upwards of $1500 per paper) is unfair to the authors, noting that the journal's assumption that researchers, especially outside the U.S., have their work funded by grants or their institutions, is erroneous.
, and see also,
Ewing, John, 'Open access' will not be open to everyone [Correspondence], Nature 425, 559 (09 October 2003); doi:10.1038/425559a (requires subscription)
Butler, Declan, Scientific publishing: Who will pay for open access? [News feature] Nature 425, 554-555 (09 October 2003); doi:10.1038/425554a (requires subscription)"