Re: Draft letter for institutions to sign to implement Berlin Declaration

From: Alexei Koudinov <>
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2003 13:12:33 +0000

Dear Colleagues,

I wonder why to institutionalize "open access" journal as the one that
(proposed item 8) "recover costs by charging the author-institution for
each outgoing article they publish".

I lead the journal, Neurobiology of Lipids,
<> that does not charge authors for
article publication, and runs at the annual cost of below the cost of
one article at BioMedCentral, BMC (500$, please note that PloS biology
article publication cost is even higher, 1500$/article). The fee imposed
by BMC was the issue near all my colleagues-scientists on the Editorial
Board did not agree with.

In my view the current formulation of item 8 follows the compaign of PLoS
and BMC for aggresive promotion (that has nothing to do with Neurobiology
of Lipids constant growth of subject readership and article access'
hits comparable with the top rated BMC titles) and institutionalization
of the strict definition of Open Access to fit it into their particular
operation/business models.

This compaign in my view exploits (making revenues in case of
BMC?) the average scientific and librarian community member poor
understanding of desktop2internet publishing capabilities. When the
community is properly educated and the end user (not only BioMedCentral)
simplicity of internet publishing operation is realised (like a desktop
word processor software, or e.mail program operation: does anyone
need an operator for an e.mail program or MS Word, 500$ per e.mail
preparation/delivery or document typing?) there may be no need for a
part of BMC business, as interested committed scientists will be easy
doing themselves what now is offered by BMC as Start-your-journal fare
( <> ). These
journals run at no-monies by scientists BUT owned by and profiting BMC
currently compose near 50% of BMC titles.

I do claim that the low-cost technology is available and that the
community just need to be educated about it. When this is achieved
not-for-profit journals will be run with no technical quality compromise
(scholar excellence/quality was always an editorial-not publisher- duty)
by scientists with NO need to "recover their [low] costs by charging the
author-institution for each outgoing article they publish". Such journals
operation may well be supported by small grants (with no budgeting for
<>promotional lanch parties
in several countries that multi-million grant to PLoS could itemize)
or Institutional/Library budgets.

"Open access" is ethics, not business model of "charging the author or
institution" for article publication. Failure to appreciate the above
in my view indicate an unfair bias that will be used against Open Access
movement by those opposing it.

The proposed "Item 8" should NOT be incorporated in the proposed "Draft
letter for institutions to sign to implement Berlin Declaration" in the
present form. I request Item 8 and other relevant places to be modified
not to limit the definition of "open access" in favor of current major

Thank you.


Alexei Koudinov
Neurobiology of Lipids

Competing interest declaration: I do not have any competing financial
interest. I am a founding, managing and publishing editor of the
Neurobiology of Lipids, an unpaid position. Neurobiology of Lipids
(ISSN 1683-5506) has no affiliation with any professional association,
publisher, industry member, commercial enterprise, public, educational
or government organization. The viewpoint presented in the above letter
is my personal view. Also, please see my Open letter on Call to boycott
Cell Press, <> .


Prior Amsci Thread:
"Call for Boycott of Cell Press Journals"
Received on Fri Dec 26 2003 - 13:12:33 GMT

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