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Re: BiomedCentral Revised Institutional Membership Model

It seems to me that this message from Rebecca Stuhr illustrates nicely the
confusion that BMC has (with the very best of intentions) created by the
introduction of its membership scheme.  Their original model - Article
Processing Charges - was a simple and clear Open Access (OA) model, and
could be quite easily distinguished from a traditional toll-access (TA)
model.  As Stuhr's message makes clear, many institutions are expecting
the BMC membership fee to be paid from *library* funds, not the funds of
academic departments or research grants, which leads to people thinking
that BMC's OA model is no different from a TA model.

It is probably too late to remove the confusion now, though BMC are
clearly trying to rescue the situation.  It is a shame that the waters got
muddied in the first place.  Sadly, this may have set back the OA cause.

Fytton Rowland, Loughborough University.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Stuhr, Rebecca" <STUHRR@Grinnell.EDU>
To: <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>
Sent: Friday, February 13, 2004 6:34 AM
Subject: RE: BiomedCentral Revised Institutional Membership Model

> I'm writing as collection development librarian at a small liberal arts
> undergraduate institution.  We have about 1,400 students.  We joined
> BioMedCentral last summer to support the spirit and purpose of open
> access.  The approximately $1,500 membership fee seemed reasonable and
> sustainable.  It is possible that under the new model we may only pay
> $525.00.  I know that we've had one faculty member publish in a BioMed
> Central journal.  But the potential costs of calculating charges based
> a published articles means that the library rather than grant funds
> will be paying for that publication.  It also means that we will have a
> hard time predicting our expenses. This seems to me to be veering away
> from open access and into a potentially very expensive subscription
> model.  There are many BioMed Central journals that we would not choose
> to subscribe to because of their highly specialized nature.  It seems
> as though we would also, then, be looking at being tied into a bundled
> situation--one that I think most libraries are trying to get away
> from.  We are choosing to wait and see what happens--but we would not
> be able to maintain a membership at any cost.
> Rebecca Stuhr
> Collection Development and Preservation
>   Librarian
> Grinnell College Libraries
> Grinnell, Iowa 50112
> stuhrr@grinnell.edu