The most prominent open-access biomedical research publisher—that is, the Public Library of Science (PLoS)—has launched an "experimental" site for posting raw preprints of papers on hot topics. PLoS Currents (Beta) debuted today with a set of papers on influenza. Although the four papers don't break much new ground, the contributors include top virologists Peter Palese and Edward Holmes, who will also screen submissions for subsequent influenza posts. (Other themes for future Currents will have appropriate high-level screeners.)
Google appears to be hosting the site, and the National Institutes of Health has set up a new archive for the papers and other "rapid research notes" submitted through publishers. In a summary of the project , PLoS chair and co-founder Harold Varmus explains that the expectation is that the papers will later be published in peer reviewed journals. Varmus proposed an archive of unreviewed papers 10 years ago when he was director of NIH, but it got shot down.