05 August 2007

Oooh-Er OA

This sounds slightly worrying:

After careful consideration, the Cushing/Whitney Medical and Kline Science Libraries have decided to end their support for BioMed Central's Open Access publishing effort. The libraries previously covered 100% of the author page charges which allowed these papers to be made freely available worldwide via the Internet at time of publication. This experiment in Open Access publishing has proved unsustainable. The libraries' support will continue for all Yale-authored articles currently in submission to BioMed Central as of July 27, 2007.

The libraries’ BioMedCentral membership represented an opportunity to test the technical feasibility and the business model of this OA publisher. While the technology proved acceptable, the business model failed to provide a viable long-term revenue base built upon logical and scalable options. Instead, BioMedCentral has asked libraries for larger and larger contributions to subsidize their activities. Starting with 2005, BioMed Central page charges cost the libraries $4,658, comparable to a single biomedicine journal subscription. The cost of page charges for 2006 then jumped to $31,625. The page charges have continued to soar in 2007 with the libraries charged $29,635 through June 2007, with $34,965 in potential additional page charges in submission.

Eeek: I wonder what the backstory to all this is?

Update 1: Matthew Cockerill, Publisher, BioMed Central, has put together a reply to Yale's points. But I can't help feeling that this one will run for a while yet.

Update 2: And here's the full analysis I should have done.


Bill Hooker said...

Eek, indeed. Charles W. Bailey, Jr points out:
According to ARL statistics, the Yale spent $7,705,342 on serials in 2005-06, which raises the question: If Yale can’t afford to support BioMed Central, what academic library can?
I'll be watching the BMC blog and Matt H's Journalology for responses.

Glyn Moody said...

Thanks for the links - let's hope there's a good (i.e. non-painful) explanation....