Aug 142007

The Scientist : Yale dumps BioMed Central:

Yale University’s science and medicine libraries have decided to discontinue their membership to BioMed Central (BMC), an open access publishing company, citing skyrocketing membership costs in a public statement issued last Friday (Aug 3).

The Cushing/Whitney Medical and Kline Science Libraries at Yale have been members of BMC since 2003. The libraries have covered the costs of membership on behalf of the university and its researchers but can no longer absorb membership fees that have grown in excess of $30,000 over the past year, Kenny Marone, director of the medical library, told The Scientist.

“The library paying for faculty publishing has not been supported by the institution, we haven’t been given additional money for this,” Marone said. “If we have to make cuts this becomes one of the first things we cut.” Marone added that while the libraries supported open access publishing, some of the costs should be absorbed by the individual researchers, research funders or the readers who benefit from the published articles.

Old news now, I know. But I was struck by the gleefulness with which the story was picked up by those with an axe to grind on open access. Perhaps unsurprising given the polarisation of the debate, but you don’t see journal non-renewals reported quite so closely – for example, it made one of the headlines in the STM News for July/August

PS: The first online reader of The Scientist to comment on the article has really taken the public disclosure agenda to heart, complaining that it should have made it clearer that BMC and The Scientist are owned by the same group, else “[t]here could be a bit of bias…” Well, if “Yale dumps BioMed Central” is the friendly headline, I shudder to think what the enemies would say!

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