bhoman writes "The San Francisco Chronicle (sfgate.com) has an article today about Stanford biochemist Patrick O. Brown, who helped develop low-cost DNA microarrays for gene research. He is seeking $20M to start a foundation that would fund peer-review of research papers and then make them available for free over the web, thereby avoiding the high-cost of subscriptions common in existing research publications. Predictably, some publishers seem to be warning that their publishing model is hard to improve upon. The article mentions that a previous effort by Brown and others, The Public Library of Science garnered the signatures of 30,000 supporters, but then implies that it basically failed, suggesting that academics need the journals more than vice versa. Sounds like Brown's idea is exactly what the web is made for."