Information Today
Volume 19, Issue 8 September 2002
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BioMed Central Launches Open Access Charter

BioMed Central, a publisher of open access peer-reviewed research articles, has announced that it's publicly committing itself to maintaining an open access publishing policy through the launch of an Open Access Charter. The charter commits BioMed Central to permanently maintaining its open access publishing policy, retrospectively and prospectively, in all eventualities, including any future changes in ownership. In this charter, open access is defined as making peer-reviewed research articles publicly accessible via the Internet without any restrictions or payment by the user.

According to the announcement, BioMed Central has shown that open access can be a viable business model funded through article processing charges. The success of BioMed Central's institutional membership program, which has attracted more than 30 institutions since January, shows that by spreading the costs of publishing across institutions, open access can be maintained. The full list of members can be found at http://www.biomedcentral.com/inst.

The success of open access publishing depends on convincing authors that it is in their interests to publish in open access journals. According to the announcement, the launch of the Open Access Charter will do much to allay fears that open access publishing will be crushed by the financial muscle of conventional publishers that might try and buy open access publishers like BioMed Central and "nip the development of open access journals in the bud."

In the event of any change of ownership, an independent board of trustees will be asked to judge and advise whether sufficient guarantees to continue a policy of unconditional open access for research articles are being offered by any prospective new owner. BioMed Central will not enter into a change of ownership agreement unless the board of trustees accepts these guarantees.

Source: BioMed Central, London, 011-44-20-7323-0323; http://www.biomedcentral.com.

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