Springer buys open access publisher BioMed Central

According to Scientific American, the not-so-open-access publisher Springer has just acquired the very open access pioneer site BioMed Central.

Regarding if BioMed Central will continue to be open access:

Those in the open access movement had watched BioMed Central with keen interest. Founded in 2000, it was the first for-profit open access publisher and advocates feared that when the company was sold, its approach might change. But Cockerill assured editors that a BMC board of trustees “will continue to safeguard BioMed Central’s open access policy in the future.” Springer “has been notable…for its willingness to experiment with open access publishing,” Cockerill said in a release circulated with the email to editors.

No information yet as to how much this acquisition cost.

What do you think about this? Will Springer just “experiment” with open access publishing for a while and then close the gates? Or is this a genuine attempt to join the OA movement?

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  1. wim van der stelt’s avatar

    I quote Derk Haank, Springer’s CEO from our press release regarding the BioMed Central acquisition:

    “This acquisition reinforces the fact that we see open access publishing as a sustainable part of STM publishing, and not an ideological crusade. We have gained considerable positive experience since starting Springer Open Choice in 2004, and BioMed Central’s activities are complementary to what we are doing. Additionally, this acquisition strengthens Springer’s position in the life sciences and biomedicine, and will allow us to offer societies a greater range of publishing options.”

    This statement clearly shows Springer’s commitment to BioMed Central’s publishing model.

    Here’s a link to the complete press release:

    http://www.springer-sbm.com/index.php?id=291&backPID=132&L=0&tx_tnc_news=4970&cHash=b5a2aa41d8

    Reply

  2. rpg’s avatar

    Hah hah. I don’t know if it’s a genuine attempt or cynical marketing. It doesn’t actually matter (unless of course they then ‘close’ BMC).

    Publishers have to realize that OA is becoming more and more desired in the scientific community. Springer have a lot of catching up to do.

    But it’s a good thing, even if the reasons are cynical: it improves the perception and acceptability of OA elsewhere.

    Reply

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