Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

BMC's consultation workshop

On the BioMed Central blog, Matt Cockerill previews the BMC consultation workshop at Medical Libraries Association 2007 (Philadelphia, May 18-23, 2007).  Excerpt:

Join BioMed Central at MLA 2007 in Philadelphia to find out more about how librarians and research administrators can work together to promote open access....

Peer-reviewed open access publications, such as those listed in the Directory of Open Access journals, have the potential to deliver universal access at no greater cost to the scholarly community than the traditional publishing system. Desirable as this outcome may be, many librarians face a Catch-22 situation. Open access publication has costs - typically covered by publication fees - but library budgets are already so tight that they cannot easily stretch to cover publication fees, in addition to subscriptions.

Fortunately, a solution to this problem is at hand. Research funders around the world, most prominently the Wellcome Trust and the US National Institutes of Health, have recognized the shortcomings of the traditional journal publishing system, and are taking steps to enhance access by setting up open access repositories, calling on grantees to deposit publications in those repositories, and making funds available to cover the cost of publishing in open access journals. Reports commissioned by the Wellcome Trust , the European Commission and most recently the Australian Productivity Commission have all concluded that open access publishing has the potential to cost less than the traditional model, while delivering vastly more access, and so promises to be an extremely cost-effective use of research funds. Wellcome estimates the total cost of disseminating the results of research through open access journals as only 1-2% of the cost of carrying out the research.

A major benefit of open access journals is that they address the concern that open access repositories might undermine the peer-review system. Open access journals, such as those published by BioMed Central, provide a business model for the publication of high-quality peer-reviewed journals that is fully compatible with open access via repositories. Open access journals make the most of repositories by ensuring that articles are deposited systematically, in final form, with immediate open access, and without requiring additional effort on the part of the author....

Under the traditional model, the role of the librarian centred on purchasing access to proprietary information for users. In an open access environment, librarians have the opportunity to take a more active role in facilitating scholarly communication. By partnering with research funders and research administrators to support open access repositories and open access journals, they can ensure that research from their institution is effectively disseminated....

[The BMC consultation workshop] will be held onsite at the MLA conference on Monday, May 21st, 2007 from 7.00 - 9.00am and breakfast will be provided. Spaces are limited, so please send an email to if you would like to attend.