Researchers will be free from the restrictive copyright agreements usually imposed by scientific journals thanks to a groundbreaking move announced by a new publishing house today. Authors publishing papers on BioMed Central will retain the copyright of their work, allowing them to freely distribute and archive their research findings however they see fit. All peer-reviewed research published by BioMed Central will also be made available immediately on PubMed Central, the NIH-sponsored repository for biological and medical research www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov, and on www.biomedcentral.com.
"BioMed Central promises to offer all primary research without financial and copyright barriers," says Professor Marc W Kirschner, Head of the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School. "This will allow scientists the freedom to participate in a truly worldwide community of scholars. It deserves all our support".
"We will make the publishing of original research quicker, easier and free to all," says Vitek Tracz, Chairman of BioMed Central. "Restrictive copyright agreements are simply not in keeping with our intention to help scientists communicate research findings as effectively as possible."
Current industry practice typically requires researchers to transfer the copyright of their work to the journal publisher. However, BioMed Central will require only the non-exclusive right to distribute the research and to be cited as the original publisher of the article. "We do not see primary research data as a direct source of income for us," continues Tracz, "We want to redefine the role of commercial biomedical publishing by focusing on adding value and offering services that complement the freely-available original research and literature of the future."
BioMed Central will, in addition to publishing primary research papers free-of-charge on the internet, provide commentary, reviews, news, alerting services, databases and e-commerce services. Some of these services will be available on subscription. "The success of our business will depend on providing the services that members of the biomedical community need, at prices that are both realistic and competitive," says Tracz.
Notes for editors
1. The full copyright agreement is available on-line at http://www.
2. BioMed Central will begin accepting papers from the end of May 2000. The site is currently under development but can be viewed on www.biomedcentral.com. All research published on BioMed Central will also be stored on PubMed Central, the National Institutes of Health sponsored repository http://www.
3. Useful link: The Association of Research Libraries and SPARC who have launched a campaign to create change in the scientific publishing community: http://www.
4. Useful link: A proposal from the "Transition of Paper" Working Group can be found at http://www.
5. Useful link: Free at Last: The Future of Peer-Reviewed Journals http://www.
6. BioMed Central is part of the Current Science Group, a group of independent companies that collaborate closely with each other to publish and develop information and services for the professional biomedical community. The Group has its head-office in London (UK), with additional offices in Philadelphia, New York and Tokyo. http://www.