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Open Access Publishing: The Bio Med Central Model. Change is occurring:. From print to electronic From limited access to unlimited access From paid access to free access From output-paid to input-paid From slow to fast publication From expensive to less expensive.

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change is occurring
Change is occurring:
  • From print to electronic
  • From limited access to unlimited access
  • From paid access to free access
  • From output-paid to input-paid
  • From slow to fast publication
  • From expensive to less expensive
traditional role of the publisher is under scrutiny
Traditional role of the publisher is under scrutiny
  • Subscriptions and licences limit access
    • To be useful, research must be used
    • To be used (read, cited, applied, extended) it must be accessible
  • Prices do not reflect quality or costs
  • Subscription prices have increased by as much as 146% in 10 years – e.g.
    • Brain Research
    • 1991: £3,713
    • 2001: £9,148
  • Authors lose rights
    • e.g. to put their paper on a publicly accessible server
  • Often inefficient and slow
what is being done
What is being done?
  • PR Initiatives
    • Public Library of Science
    • Budapest Open Access Initiative
  • Facilitators
    • SPARC
    • Open Archives Initiative
  • Publishers
    • BioMed Central
what are publishers doing for us
“What are publishers doing for us?”

‘I think scientists all over would be shocked to realise what a phenomenally lucrative business scientific publishing can be.’

Nicholas Cozzarelli-

editor in chief of the PNAS

public library of science
Public Library of Science
  • Researcher-led initiative, open letter had 30,000+ signatories
  • Advocated a boycott by researchers of journals that do not make available their articles in open access within 6 months of publication
      • Not to submit
      • Not to review
      • Not to serve as editor or on an editorial board
  • But, this has not proved successful –many signatories haven’t stuck to their promise
budapest open access initiative
Budapest Open Access Initiative
  • Soros Foundation-led initiative
      • Activists and innovators brought together last December by the Soros Open Society Institute in Budapest
      • Signatories are institutions and individuals
  • Agreed outcome
      • To stimulate ‘self-archiving’
      • To stimulate ‘open access’ journals
  • Library-led initiative in US and Europe
  • Partners with BioMed Central
  • Institutions become SPARC members
  • Advocate open access, and also low-cost alternatives to conventional journals
  • Urging authors and librarians to declare independence
open archives initiative
Open Archives Initiative
  • Library-technology-led initiative
  • Develops interoperability standards (metadata harvesting)
  • Enhances access to e-print archives
  • Facilitates self-archiving
biomed central
BioMed Central
  • Commercial initiative, independent company
  • Open access for research papers
  • 80+ open access online journals
  • Authors pay at input
  • Supplemental income from advertising and acting as sales agent for review journals published by sister companies
beneficiaries of open access
Beneficiaries of open access
  • Scientists
      • Much higher visibility: thousands of downloads/uses per paper vs. a few hundred in the conventional journals
      • Speed: publication immediately upon acceptance after peer-review
  • Libraries
      • Open access = free resource, freeing up budget
      • Enabling libraries to play active part in changing the model
how does open access work
How does open access work?
  • Taking BioMed Central as an example:
      • Article submitted for publication
      • Peer-review
      • If accepted, charge of $500 or waiver granted
      • Immediately published in manuscript-pdf form
      • Fully-coded HTML and hi-res pdf one week later
      • No restrictions on access whatsoever
bio med central
  • Independent online publishing house
  • launched in May 2000
  • Part of the Current Science Group of independent companies
  • Publishing peer-reviewed research across all areas of biology and medicine
  • Immediate, barrier-free open access for all
bio med central advantages
  • Immediate and continuous publication online
    • None of the spatial constraints of print
  • True free access for all
    • Not even compulsory registration, except when using search function
  • Fast, efficient peer review
  • Very high visibility
    • 200 downloads per article per month
    • Authors have access to download figures
  • Authors keep copyright and control
bio med central more advantages
BioMedCentralMore Advantages
  • Permanence
    • Archived on PubMed Central
  • Searchable and retrievable
    • Indexed in PubMed immediately upon publication
    • Published in one journal, but cross-listed in other relevant ones
  • Deposited in CrossRef, included in BIOSIS, ISI, CAS, Open Citation Project, and others
  • Extensive PR for outstanding articles
  • Opportunities to link to and from email updates
peer review
  • Online – rapid
  • 2 reviewers plus statistician, if necessary
  • Reviewers chosen from large network of experts in their field
  • Decision on whether to publish based on validity (even negative results are published)
editorial directorate
Editorial directorate
  • Dr Harold E VarmusPresident of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (USA)
  • Professor Elizabeth H BlackburnProfessor, Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California San Francisco (USA)
  • Dr Steven E HymanDirector of the National Institute of Mental Health (USA)
  • Professor Marc W KirschnerHead of the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School. (USA)
  • Professor Philippe Kourilsky
  • Director General, Pasteur Institute (France)
  • Professor Joseph Boyd MartinDean of the Faculty of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (USA)
  • Dr David G NathanFaculty Dean for Academic Programs at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (USA)
  • Dr Paul NurseDirector-General of Cancer Research UK
  • Sir David WeatherallHonorary Director of the ICRF Laboratories at the Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford (UK)
  • Professor Mitsuhiro YanagidaKyoto University and President of the Molecular Biology Society of Japan
bmc open access journals




Cell biology

Chemical Biology

Developmental Biology


Evolutionary Biology





Molecular Biology



Plant biology

Structural Biology

Plus Journal of Biology



Blood Disorders


Cardiovascular Disorders

Clinical Pathology

Clinical Pharmacology

Complementary and Alternative Medicine


Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders

Emergency Medicine

Endocrine Disorders

Family practice



Health Service Research

Infectious diseases

International Health and Human Rights

Medical Education

Medical Ethics

Medical Genetics

BMC Open Access Journals

Medical Imaging

Medical Informatics and Decision Making

Medical Research Methodology

Musculoskeletal Disorders



Nuclear Medicine





Oral Health

Palliative Care


Pregnancy and Childbirth


Public health

Pulmonary Medicine



journal of biology j biol
Journal of Biology (J.Biol)
  • An international journal publishing biological research articles of exceptional interest and importance
  • Editor-in-Chief: Martin Raff, University College London
  • Striving to achieve the fairest system of peer review
  • Rapid publication schedule
  • A variety of commissioned commentaries to accompany every research article
  • All research articles available immediately on publication, free of charge, over the web, with copyright retained by the author
new journals start your own
New Journals Start your own
  • Empowering scientists to launch new journals in specialist areas (small niches)
  • All they have to do is:
    • Provide a scope statement
    • Assemble an editorial board
    • Select a journal title
    • Provide lists of potential authors
  • BioMed Central provides:
  • the publishing platform
  • the web site and technical expertise
  • Promotional campaigns to ensure that papers are submittedfor publication
BioMed Central New JournalsSome examples of new, autonomous, journals using BioMed Central’s infrastructure and technology:
bio med central revenues
  • Article Processing Charges (APCs) of $500 per published paper
    • Automatic waivers for authors from developing countries – and to others on a case-by-case basis
  • Institutional membership
    • Includes automatic APC-waivers for authors from member institutions
  • Advertising
  • Sales of subscription products (Faculty of 1000, images.MD, etc)
institutional membership
  • Annual fee proportional to number of biology and medical researchers at each institution
  • Automatic waivers of article processing charges
  • Customized member’s pages on BioMed Central site on which papers by researchers at the institution published in BMC journals are listed
  • 15% discount on paid-for products such as Faculty of 1000 and images.MD
bio med central s members include
L’Institut Pasteur

Imperial College, London

Cancer Research UK

Harvard University

The NIH of the US

Princeton University

University of California (all campuses)

Lund University

University of Helsinki

World Health Organization

John Innes Centre


University of Amsterdam

University of Toronto

Utrecht University

Rockefeller University

University of York

Kyoto University

BioMedCentral’smembers include:
bio med central open access the new scenario
BioMedCentralOpen Access: The New Scenario
  • Authors take charge: author choice
  • Publishing becomes a service to researchers and their communities – not selling of content
  • No need for copyright transferfrom author to publisher
  • Massively increased exposure for research work
  • Introduces competition – breaks monopolies journals (publishers) have – enhances market efficiency
  • Librarians are empowered and can take active part in changing the model
so what is holding academia back
So what is holding academia back?
  • Given the clear benefits to scientists and libraries, why is the emergence of open access journals so slow?
  • Because what is required is a ‘cultural revolution’
  • Open access can only succeed if enough researchers choose to publish in open access journals
the prestige question
The ‘Prestige’ question
  • Scientists want to publish in prestigious, high IF journals, most of which are published in the conventional model
  • Most open-access journals are new and it takes time for new journals to gather prestige, even if their quality is impeccable from the start.
  • The solution:
    • Create more open-access journals, staff them with first-rate editors, and give them time.
what can librarians do
What can librarians do?
  • Publicise widely the availability of open access journals to potential authors
  • Arrange for the article processing bill to be picked up for the author
    • (e.g. by becoming a member in the case of BioMed Central)
  • Put up posters and distribute flyers from open access initiatives
  • Hold seminars to educate authors about these resources and their benefits
  • Include open access journals in library catalogues
‘It is the scientists who are going to have to figure out how they want their work to be available’

Mary Case –

Association of Research Libraries