Science and medical libraries at Yale have announced that they are suspending financial support for Yale authors publishing in BioMed Central, an open access repository.
Yale’s post argued: “While the technology proved acceptable, the business model failed to provide a viable long-term revenue base built upon logical and scalable options.”Â Reading the rest of Yale’s post, the decision clearly has less to do with BioMed Central’s business model in isolation and more to do with conflicts between BioMed Central’s business model and the budgetary imperatives now imposed on Yale libraries.Â Business model, meet business model.Â Yale, too, has to meet its numbers.
The news puzzles me. I had thought that the idea was to have professors to pay for publication themselves out of their grants. If those costs were being pushed onto the libraries, I can see why the library objected. (Yale’s announcement doesn’t make clear whether the increase in article charges was caused simply by more Yale professors submitting and publishing with the BioMed Central journals). I hope that all this means is that Yale professors are now paying BMC publication charges directly.
I am totally mystified by this announcement. The numbers just don’t seem to justify this drastic step. Consider:
“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.”
Isn’t it true that some neuroscience journals cost $15,000 each per year? Aren’t the libraries more concerned about unsustainable price demands from the commercial publishers? Why bleed the one model that promises to get them out of that dilemma?
Talk about a tragedy of the commons…