BioMed Central, the "open access" publisher, and the California Digital Library are pleased to announce that the 10 campuses of the University of California have joined the publisher's Institutional Membership Program. BioMed (BMC) Central is an independent online publishing house committed to providing immediate free access to peer-reviewed biological and medical research.
Under the agreement, processing charges are waived for University of California faculty who submit an article for publication in one of 80 peer-reviewed journals. Upon acceptance, the article becomes freely available through the Web to readers worldwide.
Dozens of papers written or co-written by more than 130 UC scholars are already included in BioMed Central's journals as the agreement commences. The 80 BioMed Central journals cover a diverse set of biology and medical topics. UC contributions have been similarly diverse. An analysis of risk factors connected with hospitalization for asthma (appearing in Respiratory Research), the use of garlic extract for sickle cell anemia patients (appearing in BMC Blood Disorders) and the attitudes of Korean women toward breast cancer (appearing in BMC Public Health) are just three examples, contributed by authors from UC Davis, UCLA and UC San Diego, respectively.
UC's collaboration with BMC is coordinated and supported by the California Digital Library's eScholarship program. BMC's commitment to providing free access to the articles it publishes is consistent with eScholarship's mission to facilitate innovations in scholarly communication in support of research and teaching. Scholars publishing in BioMed Central's journals are ensured widespread dissemination of their work while contributing to the movement toward "open access" to scholarly publishing.
BioMed Central offers an alternative way of publishing peer-reviewed research papers that does not rely on subscription charges or the transfer of copyright from author to publisher, as is the case with most scientific journals. Its innovative new publishing model charges authors a fee for managing peer review and formatting their manuscripts. Article processing charges, as these fees are known, are paid by an author or by the institution with which they are affiliated.
"Open access to published material on BioMed Central is unique and provides an invaluable service to investigators around the world," said Gary S. Firestein, professor of medicine at UC San Diego. "Free flow of ideas is greatly facilitated and will help stimulate scientific discovery. The university's affiliation with BioMed Central should be applauded as an important step in the growth of this initiative."
A significant advantage of institutional membership in BMC is that individual researchers at the University of California may submit manuscripts to BioMed Central's 80-plus freely accessible, peer-reviewed journals without incurring processing charges. Instead, processing fees are waived and replaced by an institutional membership, in this case, paid by the CDL's eScholarship program, creating predictable funding for BioMedCentral while providing an economic per article cost for the institution.
Scholarly communication is in crisis because expensive subscription charges are restricting access to the latest scientific developments. The difficulty in accessing scientific information is especially frustrating given that taxpayers fund much of this work through grants and public university salaries. Some pioneering programs and institutions, such as the University of California's eScholarship program, are promoting change by encouraging researchers to publish in â€œopen accessâ€? journals.
Dan Greenstein, university librarian and executive director of the California Digital Library, cites the agreement as an important step for UC to take.
"The stakeholders in producing, distributing and caring for scholarship must invent sustainable ways to make research results available," he says. "The view of our eScholarship program is that sustainable scholarly communication requires the leadership of the researchers and their institutions, new cost models and publishers who are willing to be creative. All of these components are present in the BioMed Central approach. We're quite pleased to become a member."
The addition of the University of California campuses takes the total number of BMC member institutions to more than 50, including Harvard and Princeton universities, the Institut Pasteur, and the World Health Organization.
Jan Velterop, publisher at BioMed Central, has been impressed with the response of the academic community to the membership program.
"The membership program has been a welcome shot in the arm for open access publishing, allowing institutions to demonstrate their commitment to fundamental change regarding science communication," he says. "We are delighted that UC campuses have joined, and look forward to increasing the visibility of the research they publish by giving access to anyone, anywhere in the world."
BioMed Central is an independent online publishing house committed to providing immediate free access to the peer-reviewed biological and medical research it publishes. This commitment is based on the view that open access to research is essential to the rapid and efficient communication of science. In addition to open-access original research, BioMed Central also publishes reviews and other subscription-based content.
The University of California is one of the largest, most prestigious teaching and research institutions in the world, whose current faculty includes 20 Nobel laureates and more than 330 members of the National Academy of Sciences. Over 306,000 students, faculty and staff study and work at UC campuses in Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz. A new campus in Merced, the first new American research university of the 21st century, is scheduled to open officially in 2004.
The California Digital Library (which partners with the 10 UC campuses in a continuing commitment to apply innovative technology to managing scholarly information, opened to the public in January 1999. Organizationally housed at the UC Office of the President in Oakland, CA, the CDL provides a centralized framework to efficiently share materials held by UC, to provide greater and easier access to digital content, and to join with researchers in developing new tools and innovations for scholarly communication.
For additional information about the CDL, please contact John Ober, CDL director for education and strategic innovation, (510) 987-0425; or email@example.com.
For additional information about BioMed Central, please contact Gordon Fletcher, +44(0)20 7323 0323; or firstname.lastname@example.org.