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A match made in open access heaven?

Will BioMed Central, the publishing house that's been the flagship for open access for nearly a decade, be in good hands with Springer? Yes, say some open access advocates, as long as the BioMed Central (BMC) publishing model is allowed to persevere. Indeed, the linkurl:acquisition this week;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55074/ of BMC by Springer may send the signal to other commercial groups that open access works. "I think it's a good sign for open access," Heather Joseph, execut

By | October 10, 2008

Will BioMed Central, the publishing house that's been the flagship for open access for nearly a decade, be in good hands with Springer? Yes, say some open access advocates, as long as the BioMed Central (BMC) publishing model is allowed to persevere. Indeed, the linkurl:acquisition this week;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55074/ of BMC by Springer may send the signal to other commercial groups that open access works. "I think it's a good sign for open access," Heather Joseph, executive director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), told The Scientist. "This is a nice indicator that open access is good for business, and not just a philosophical crusade." According to an Email sent to editors at BMC by the BMC publisher Matt Cockerill, BMC will be an autonomous operating unit within Springer, and everything remains business as usual. It may be too early to predict if and how Springer reconciles its Open Choice model -- which charges authors a $3000 extra fee to have their articles freely available upon publication -- with BMC's automatically open access model. "If BMC's presence within the organization means Springer moves closer to the BMC model and not BMC closer to the Springer Open Choice model -- then this will be a very good thing for open access," Rebecca Kennison, director of the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship at Columbia University, told The Scientist in an Email. "Time will tell." With BMC under its wing, Springer will offer authors three publishing choices, depending on the journal they choose in which to publish their: the traditional subscription model, the Open Choice model, and the BMC automatic open access model. "All of the business models are going to grow in the future," Eric Merkel-Sobotta, spokesperson for Springer told The Scientist, adding that they aren't going to stop adding journals under the subscription model, or the BMC model. There's no publishing model that fits all, he added, and no publishing business model is for free. "We don't refer to them as business models for nothing -- they're not an ideology." "I think people are very interested in seeing how you put these two diff publishing models together," Patricia Schroeder, president and CEO of the Association of American Publishers (AAP), told The Scientist. The AAP has been a linkurl:vocal opponent;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54442/ of the National Institutes of Health's mandate requiring federally-funded researchers to deposit a copy of their papers into PubMed Central. "It's exciting to see [the two publishing models] get out of silos," Schroeder added. "I'm anxious to see how it all evolves."
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Avatar of: Bradley Andresen

Bradley Andresen

Posts: 34

October 13, 2008

I think the most interesting comment is that this is a business model. This is obviously accurate, but often forgotten. It will be interesting to see which of the three models inside of Springer is the most profitable. My guess is over time Springer would move all operations to the most profitable model. The only reason they would not do such a thing is if they believe each model is within a niche market, but with the wide range of journals under the Springer umbrella it is doubtful that the individual journals are within a unique niche.\n\nAs stated, only time will tell. Perhaps The Scientist should follow the financials of the 3 models within Springer to illuminate this issue for us.\n

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