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BioMed Central Considers Author Charges

Press Release:  29th June 2001

BioMed Central to Consider Charging Authors
for Paper Submissions

BioMed Central (www.biomedcentral.com), the online
publishing company committed to providing free
access to the scientific research it publishes, is
considering levying author charges for published
articles as a means of covering publication costs.

The company is currently assessing the possibility
of charging a moderate fee of about $500 for
publication. Authors would only be charged at the
time of publication and would not be charged for
rejected papers. These fees would also be waived
selectively for authors who have difficulties with
funding or are from regions with limited research

Whilst BioMed Central would be pioneering author
charges of this type, a number of journal
publishers already levy page charges and there are
a multitude of hidden publication costs - i.e:
fees for colour plates and diagrams. These are
often much more then $500.

By paying a moderate charge to cover the cost of
publication, which in turn will fund open access,
scientists will be contributing to a system that
is revolutionising the way in which research is
shared. Open access will allow for the wide and
immediate dissemination of research findings and
will minimise the amount of funding needed to
cover journal subscription fees, thereby reducing
the cost to the academic community as a whole.

The scientific research community in the form of
the Public Library of Science (PLoS) Advocacy
Group (http://www.publiclibraryofscience.org/),
which is challenging publishers to offer open
access to their research, considers author charges
as a viable way of covering publication costs.

Mike Eisen, Assistant Adjunct Professor of
Genetics and Development at Berkeley and supporter
of PLoS, commented:

'Author charges that completely cover the costs of
reviewing, editing and publishing scientific
manuscripts and result in immediate and complete
free access are an excellent way for scientists
and granting agencies to maximize the impact of
the research they have conducted and funded.'

In addition, academic funding bodies have said
they are not adverse for grant funding to be
allocated to author publication charges. As Bahram
Beckradnia, Head of Policy of the UK Higher
Education Funding Council for Education (HEFCE)

'HEFCE provides a block grant to institutions, and
it is for them to decide how it is spent.  The
payment of publication fees would be a legitimate
use of the grant'.

BioMed Central does not envisage levying author
charges until 2002 and until this time is holding
a debate on this issue where it will listen to
feedback from the community.

To either read or contribute to this debate go to: 

BioMed Central is an independent online publishing
house committed to providing immediate free access
to the peer-reviewed biological and medical
research it publishes. This commitment is based on
the view that open access to research is essential
to the rapid and efficient communication of
science. In addition to open-access original
research, BioMed Central also publishes reviews
and other subscription-based content.

For futher details of BioMed Central Press Releases
go to: http://www.biomedcentral.com/info/pr-releases.asp

For further information about BioMed Central, 
contact: Gordon Fletcher, PhD
e-mail: Gordon@biomedcentral.com, 
tel: +44 (0)20 7323 0323