BioMedCentral — The Case in Point for Open Access


Bryan Vickery, Deputy Publisher, and Marianne Haska, Head of Sales, BioMedCentral, now a division of Springer

If there is a poster child for Open Access publishing, it would appear to be BioMedCentral (BMC), the company founded in 2000 by VitekTracz, chairman of the London-Based Science Navigation Group.  The service was recently sold to Springer.

In making the acquisition announcement in mid-October of this year, Derk Haank, CEO of Springer Science+Business Media said:  “This acquisition reinforces the fact that we see open access publishing as a sustainable part of STM publishing, and not an ideological crusade."

When I met with Bryan Vickery and Marianne Haska in their stand yesterday, they told me there were now nearly 200 journals in the BMC collection (expected to grow 10% this coming year), all being provided under a model which involves "Article Processing Charges," i.e., someone–most likely the funding institution or the researcher’s employer–pays up-front to have the article published, thus supporting widespread free and "Open Acess" to the contents.

While noting that in addition to "biomed" central, BMC also has launched PhysMath Central (now with 3 titles) and Chemistry Central (with 1 title), Vickery observed that the acceptance of Open Access publishing by authors varies by discipline and is not evenly accepted yet in all fields.

Springer is no stranger to Open Access, having been one of the first big journal publishers to offer an Open Access option (Springer Open Choice), under which authors may choose to make their articles open, in exchange for paying an upfront Article Processing Charge.

"All staff at BMC," said Vickery, "view the acquisition as a proof of concept, that Open Access is a viable, stable publishing model."

Since its launch BMC has published 35,000 research articles, the number which is expected to grow to 50,000 by the end of 2009, according to Vicery.

Though I made a couple of attempts, I was unable to find a spokesperson available in the Springer stand for comment.

Dick Kaser

ITI, VP, Content

2 Responses to “BioMedCentral — The Case in Point for Open Access”

  1. Bryan Vickery December 5, 2008 at 11:55 am #

    Thank you for the mention Dick. As I mentioned to you at Online, there is a way to calculate how open access (publishing) is growing in various subject areas by using PubMed.

    For more details on the Open Access Quotient see:

    How open access is your research area? (revisited)


  2. Stevan Harnad December 4, 2008 at 9:20 am #

    BMC’s success and acquisition by Springer may be the case in point for Open Access Publishing, but (contrary to your headline) not for Open Access itself, which is not the same thing as Open Access Publishing…

    See: “Please Don’t Conflate Green and Gold OA”