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More about BioMed Central

With permission from David Worlock of EPS.

EPS Update Note: 9 January 2002


On the web at http://www.epsltd.com/UpdateNotes/Today.htm

* The announcement of an institutional scheme for funding free and open
access to peer-reviewed research could be a critical success factor for
BioMed Central in 2002.


BioMed Central is changing its pricing policy from 1 January 2002. The
company who challenged the subscription-based business model of
traditional STM journal publishers by charging academics USD500 per
accepted article and by providing free access to all peer-reviewed
material published, has now introduced an institutional scheme. This
allows for annual membership at rates ranging from USD1,500 (for 20-500
full time researchers and postgraduates) to USD7,500 (for more than 5,000
staff). This has several neat effects. On the one hand, it removes a
number of problems associated with the individual writer's status
(research team member, institutional staff member etc) and recognises that
increasingly, institutions want a greater say in the downstream management
of their intellectual property (if it is, wholly or in part, their own).
It also provides additional value to institutions, which they can offer to
researchers who they seek to recruit, and provides an inducement to
publish that aligns with the institution's needs as well as the
individual's career requirements. And, of course, it preserves the free
and open access policy which is clearly close to contributor/user
perceptions of good practice.

If there are enough institutions to make it work (and work fast enough - a
not inconsiderable issue in itself), then this is another bold move from a
publisher seemingly determined to recreate a scientific literature
dissemination model that is derived directly from what users want. Finding
the right budget holder in some institutions will be an issue. In others,
especially where researchers individually would have been forced to invoke
BioMed Central's waiver policy, there is a prospect of getting something
where nothing was previously available. And if institutional support
quickens the pace of BioMed Central's development, it will also enable it
to expand its publishing activities more rapidly. It already has 60
e-journals with a further 20 planned this year. Institutions subscribing
at the levels given above will also get 15% of BioMed Central's paid-for
products (www.facultyof1000.com and www.images.MD).

And finally, with a nod towards institutional vanity (a not inconsiderable
force) and the deep desire to be in greater control of its generated
output alluded to above, BioMed Central will create a customised web page
on its site for abstracts of all articles written by a subscribing
institution's academics, whether published by BioMed Central or not. These
abstracts will be included in all relevant searches of the BioMed Central
site, with links back to the full text on the institution's own library or
proxy server.

It would, of course, be deeply ironic, but not implausible, if publishing
in STM returned to the subscription model via this route, and in the
process created a very valuable (and highly acquirable) publishing asset
at BioMed Central. But then, it would not be the first time in this market
that last year's ironic twist turned into next year's normal trading

by David Worlock (drw@epsltd.com)
� Electronic Publishing Services 2002

Comments? Contact the author on drw@epsltd.com

What would you like us to write about? Contact lara@epsltd.com

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BioMed Central: http://www.biomedcentral.com


BioMed Central: if publishing adds real value, then authors should pay for
it, EPS Update Note 26 July 2001


BioMed Central: a thousand reasons to pay for services, not content, EPS
Update Note 15 October 2001


Serial Killers, imi May 2001


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