Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Matt Cockerill on BMC Evolutionary Biology

The September 2008 issue of ScienceWatch has an interview with Matt Cockerill, the publisher of BioMed Central, on BMC Evolutionary Biology.  Excerpt:

According to a recent analysis published by, BMC Evolutionary Biology is having a growing impact among journals in the field of Biology & Biochemistry. The journal's citation record in Essential Science Indicators [SM] from Thomson Reuters includes 608 papers cited a total of 2,819 times between January 1, 1998 and April 30, 2008.

Published by BioMed Central, BMC Evolutionary Biology is an online, open-access, peer-reviewed journal that has been publishing articles on "all aspects of molecular and non-molecular evolution of all organisms, as well as phylogenetics and palaeontology" since 2001....

SW:  How would you account for the increased citation rate of BMC Evolutionary Biology?

Evolutionary biology is a field that has been profoundly affected by genomic and computational approaches. BioMed Central's experience was that authors in fields such as bioinformatics and genomics were amongst the first to embrace publication in open-access journals, probably because Open Source software and openness with respect to data sharing are both deeply ingrained in those communities. We are now seeing that culture of openness spreading into adjacent fields, such as evolutionary biology, and this in turn has ensured that BMC Evolutionary Biology has been able to attract a substantial number of high-quality articles.

SW:  Was there a change in policy or editorial direction that might account for this?

Actually, it wasn't so much a matter of our editorial policy, but the fact that BMC Evolutionary Biology was not tracked by Thomson Reuters until 2004, so it did not receive its first Impact Factor until June 2007, even though it had been one of the most highly cited evolutionary biology journals for some time.... 

SW:  What role do you see for your journal?

...Another key goal for the journal is to make it easier for researchers to share not just their results, but also the datasets that were analyzed to produce those results. We are working with the research community to define appropriate standards and recommendations to facilitate the sharing of such data....