Citing rapidly rising costs, the science and medical libraries of Yale University are stopping paying for faculty members’ articles to be published by BioMed Central, one of the two largest open-access publishers. (The university is keeping its membership in the Public Library of Science, the other well-known open-access publisher.)
The libraries paid BioMed Central less than $4,700 in 2005, but in 2006 had to pay $31,625, to publish articles in the journals, which are all freely available online. “This experiment in open-access publishing has proved unsustainable,” wrote Ann Okerson, R. Kenny Marone, and David Stern, of the Yale libraries.
The publisher responded to last week’s announcement on Tuesday in a blog post. “An increase in the number of open-access articles being submitted and going on to be published does lead to an increase in the total cost of the open-access publishing service provided by BioMed Central, but the cost per article published in BioMed Central’s journals represents excellent value compared to other publishers,” wrote Matthew Cockerill, BioMed Central’s publisher. He also noted that other ways to pay for open-access publishing exist, including having authors pay the fee out of their own grant funds.
Fifteen other American institutions have canceled their memberships in BioMed Central this year, leaving 107 members in the United States.
Beth Weil, director of the bioscience library at the University of California at Berkeley, told The Scientist that her library would keep its membership and said, about Yale’s move: “I don’t think it’s one of those things that’s going to ricochet around the library world.” —Lila Guterman