There have been many news stories this month about Yale's decision to drop its Prepay Membership in BioMed Central (BMC), for example Yale dumps BioMed Central (The Scientist, Aug. 9, 2007.) WU Libraries has not been paying the full article processing charges (APC), our assumption is that this is being paid from other research support, but we (through Becker Library) do continue our Supporter Membership in BMC which includes a 15% discount on APC for WU authors.
So far there are about 150 articles by WU authors in BMC journals, about 65 in 2006-2007. Of those, most authors are from the medical school. I've found 4 examples where authors are from the Biology Dept: Bob Kranz in BMC Plant Biology, Sally Elgin in Genome Biology, Allan Larson in Genome Biology, and postdoc Kathryn Huisinga in Genome Biology. [Genome Biology has the highest impact factor among the BMC journals.] I am interested in supporting your research and publishing in whatever ways are appropriate and helpful. There is growing evidence that open access articles, especially high quality open access articles, are read and cited more: The open access advantage, Citation advantage of open access articles, Free online availability substantially increases a paper's impact, etc.
Of course BMC is not the only way to publish freely available articles. Other options include:
- choosing a journal that offers delayed open access (4-12 months after publication); a fairly high percentage of WU Biology Department researchers' articles already seem to do this
- paying to make your article open access when you publish, although the fee for this with most commercial publishers seems extremely high to me; this is sometimes called "hybrid access"
- submitting to PubMed Central or some other open repository (if you retain the rights to do this when you publish)
- self-archiving (if you retain the rights to do this when you publish); a.k.a. putting a pdf on your web site
- other high quality open access publishing, e.g., PLoS Biology, Nucleic Acids Research, Plant Physiology (if you are an ASPB member) and many more
- New Publishing Models [Becker Library Scholarly Communications Portal] gives a nice summary of the issues
I welcome your questions and comments about this issue. Let me know how I can help.