200th title in BioMed Central portfolio marks a growing trend towards open access

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With the launch this week of Journal of Angiogenesis Research, the number of journals in BioMed Central’s portfolio reaches 200. This major milestone reflects a growing trend as senior academics and learned societies turn to open access to publish their new journals or to improve the reach and visibility of their existing journals.

The success of any scientific journal, open access or subscription based, depends on it receiving a good number of high-quality papers in its area of interest. But for a subscription-based journal to succeed, it faces the additional hurdle of selling enough subscriptions to pay for its costs. In the current financial environment, libraries are increasingly having to trim their collections and are finding it virtually impossible to purchase new titles. This makes launching new subscription-based journals extremely challenging. Also, learned societies or scientific institutions who publish only a small number of titles are struggling to maintain their subscription numbers in competition with the larger publishers who sell collections of titles under the “big deal”.  In contrast, more and more institutions and funding bodies are making funds available for scientists to publish their papers in open access journals (see our recent blog posting on the Open Access Compact).

As a result of this situation, BioMed Central has recently seen an increasing number of institutions and societies choosing to take the open access route, either to launch new journals or increasingly to convert their existing journals to open access. Just this year, additions to our portfolio include Genetics, Selection and Evolution, owned and supported by INRA (the French National Institute for Agricultural Research), and Journal of Biomedical Science, which is supported by the National Science Council of Taiwan. These are established journals with impact factors and good rankings in their subject categories in the Journal Citation Report.  Also moving towards a re-launch with BioMed Central is Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology, the official journal of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. In addition, several societies have launched new journals with us this year, including Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy, Rehabilitation, Therapy & Technology and Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome.

Our experience with journals which have transferred to open access shows that they increase their submission levels and impact factors. For instance, the 50 year old Acta Veterinaria Scandanavica has doubled its submissions and nearly trebled its impact factor within three years of moving to BioMed Central.  The journal has already risen to an upper mid-table position in the “Veterinary Sciences” category of the Journal Citation Report (57/134 in 2008), from its previous position in the lower reaches of the category. 

So if you are considering launching a new journal or looking for a way to increase the visibility and address dwindling subscriptions of your existing journal, drop us a line on independentjournals@biomedcentral.com.