PLoS unveiled recently an initiative they call PLoS Currents. It is an experiment in rapid dissemination of research built on top of Google Knol. Essentially, a community of people dedicated to a specific topic, could use PLoS Currents to describe their ongoing work before it is submitted to a peer review journal. They have focused their initial efforts to Influenza research where the speed of dissemination of information might be crucial.
The content of this PLoS Currents: Influenza is not peer reviewed but is moderated by a panel of scientists that will strive to keep the content on topic. There is a FAQ explaining in more detail the initiative. These articles are archived, citable, they can be revised and they should not be considered as peer-reviewed publications. For this reason, PLoS encourages authors to eventually submit these works to a peer-reviewed journal. It remains to be seen how other publishers will react to submissions that are available in these rapid dissemination portals.
PLoS Currents vs Nature Precedings
I think it is an interesting experiment and hopefully more bio-related researchers will get comfortable with sharing and discussing ongoing research before publication. I still believe this would reduce wasteful overlaps. As usual, I only fear that more of these experiments tend to fragment the required critical mass for such a community site to work.