Re: BioMed Central and new publishing models

From: <mjmd_at_JOURNALCLUB.ORG>
Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2000 10:42:59 -0500

You write that "Current Science Group is an independent, privately owned
publishing group". The question I have is: are there any sponsorship or
other ties between Current Science Group and the Pharmaceutical / Biotech

The reason I ask is that I see a scenario developing: Biotech
sponsored "medical communications companies" getting involved in the
freeing of the medical literature on the Web. If publications and
publishing houses that are predominantly industry-supported become the main
source of "free" and unfettered access to medical information on the
Internet, significant bias will be introduced into the dissemination of
this information.

I am particularly concerned that industry-sponsored publishers will become
major partners with the NIH and PubMed Central, giving industry-supported
publishing a significant credibility boost. Furthermore, given the deep
pockets of the pharmaceutical industry and the more limited resources of
traditional, non-sponsored journals, it is very possible that the only
journals that will be able to make their content available for free online
will be the sponsored ones.

This is actually another argument in favor of self-archiving and setting
the entire biomedical literature free, which is something I still don't see
happening, despite all the arguments on this list...

Michael Jacobson, MD, MPH
Journal Club on the Web

On Tue, 8 Feb 2000 13:16:40 +0000, Mike Brown <mike_at_BIOMEDCENTRAL.COM>

>BioMed Central is part of the Current Science Group
>[]. Current Science Group is an
>independent, privately owned publishing group and has no connection with
>Elsevier Science. In 1997 several companies within the Current Science
>Group (Current Biology, BioMedNet and ChemWeb) were sold to Elsevier
>Science, this may account for any confusion about ownership.
>BioMed Central believes that primary research should be available free to
>all, globally, and without any barriers to access. We believe the new
>technologies that are now available allow publishing of primary research to
>be done at very low cost and much more efficiently than before.
>BMC will develop technological and logistical methods to make the process
>submitting, refereeing and publishing of primary research results on the
>as efficient, fast and inexpensive as possible by making appropriate use of
>web technologies. This, combined with the avoidance of the costs associated
>with typesetting, printing, distribution and subscription collection make
>the process of publishing primary research results in BioMed Central very
>inexpensive. We will offer the service of publishing primary research free
>to authors.
>We plan to make our revenue by offering additional services on the BioMed
>Central site that will guide scientists to the most important information.
>This is an area where we believe that there is a real opportunity for
>publishers to add value. BioMed Central will provide intelligent and
>systematic commentary and reviews, news and alerting services, databases
>with strong editorial component, and e-commerce services. These services
>will charge a subscription or per usage fee. Some of these services may be
>free to academics, and will charge only to commercial users (as SwissProt
>[] does currently, for example).
>Our commercial success will depend on our ability to provide the services
>members of the community need and want at prices they are prepared to pay.
>In the future we may offer paid services to authors, when requested, such
>copy editing manuscripts by authors with insufficient command of English,
>help with manuscript mark-up for web publication (when authors prefer not
>do this themselves using utilities we will provide for that purpose) and
>Overall, BioMed Central plans to redefine the role of commercial scientific
>publishers by focusing on adding value, and offering services which
>complement the freely available original research literature of the future.
>Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions or
>would like to make any comments or suggestions.
>Mike Brown
>Customer Services Director
>email -
>Tel - +44 (0)20 7323 0323
>Fax - +44 (0)20 7580 1938
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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