For the last fifteen years, subscription costs to the world’s scientific and medical literature has risen far beyond that of general inflation, greatly diminishing the ability of libraries to provide ready access to this research. Over the last two years, a variety of organizations and initiatives have begun to develop new alternative publishing models to providing free access to original, high quality research articles. Two such initiatives have recently been launched in the biomedical sciences: BioMed Central and PLoS (Public Library of Science).
Electronic Journals Category
BioMed Central is an independent publishing organization committed to providing immediate and free access to peer reviewed biomedical research. They currently publish over 100 online journals, ranging in subject scope from general interest to specialty topics. In addition to publishing their own journals, Biomed Central also assists groups of scientists wishing to run their own open access journals by making their online submission and peer-review technology available free of charge.
All articles published by BioMed Central are included in PubMed and are also immediately archived in PubMed Central, the National Library of Medicine’s digital archive of journal literature in the life sciences. As a result, all articles are easily searchable and permanently accessible to all.
Another key feature of Biomed Central is that authors retain copyright to their work by agreeing to allow free access to their articles.
BioMed Central is based on a business model in which an article processing charge, paid by the author, covers the cost of peer review and electronic publication. This $500 fee, which is in many cases less than that of some commercial publishers, is waived for authors from member institutions. The University Libraries has paid the membership fee for a year in order to support this publishing alternative as well as University researchers.
For further information about BioMed Central, visit their web site at: http://www.biomedcentral.com. To view the University of Iowa’s BioMed Central Gateway, go to http://www.biomedcentral.com/inst/gateway/
Another open access publishing initiative is PLoS, which launched its first online journal PLoS Biology in October. Their second online journal, PLoS Medicine, will follow in spring 2004. PLoS is also planning to expand its subject coverage to other fields as well as to specialty topics.
Headed by Dr. Harold Varmus, PLoS is a non-profit organization of physicians and scientists who are committed to making the world’s scientific and medical literature freely available as a public resource. They are further committed to working with scientists, societies, funding agencies, and other publishers to pursue the broader goal of developing open access for every published article.
Like BioMed Central, PLoS articles are searchable in PubMed and are immediately archived in PubMed Central.
PLoS’ business model is also based on a publication charge ($1,500), paid by the author or research sponsor, to cover the peer review and publication expenses. PLoS believes that publication is a fundamental part of the research process and as a result, publications costs are a small but essential part of the cost of research. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is a strong supporter of this new model and has promised to cover the costs for their 350 investigators when they publish their articles in open access journals.
For further information about PLoS, visit their web site at: http://www.plos.org/index.html
Access to journals produced by the following publishers has become available in the last few weeks. These titles have been added to the Hardin e-journal listing at: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/ej. Access is available from computers both on and off-campus as long as they are accessed through our e-journal listing.
These high-ranked titles include:
This family of titles includes:
While access for older issues of these titles has been available for quite some time, UI faculty, staff and students now also have access to the current issues as well.
Academic Press titles for which UI, ISU, or UNI have print subscriptions is now available as part of our Elsevier ScienceDirect offerings. Over 100 titles have been added as part of this additional consortial agreement amongst the 3 Regent’s institutions, including the heavily requested Journal of Molecular Biology.
As many you are aware, in late December the University Libraries learned that Faxon/RoweCom, one of the subscription agents it uses, was experiencing extreme financial difficulties. As a result, the 2000 Libraries’ subscriptions managed by Faxo/RoweCom fell under the risk of disruption starting with the January 2003 issues. 400 of the affected subscriptions are Hardin Library journal titles and comprise 16% of Hardin’s total serials subscriptions. These are listed on our web site at: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/hardin/faxon.html
Last week we were informed that Faxon/RoweCom filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and began negotiations with another subscription agent, EBSCO Industries Inc. Based on a February 7th news release, it now appears that EBSCO will acquire Faxon/RoweCom’s subscription base and make all efforts to minimize the disruption of these subscriptions. Final documentation on this is expected in two weeks.
This situation has affected many academic, government, and corporate libraries across the United States and Canada, including the libraries at NIH, several Illinois state university libraries, and 3M, as well as 19 other libraries in Iowa.
Library Consortia = Increased Buying Power
Hardin Library currently provides access to over 2200 biomedical journals. The dramatic increase in our electronic holdings over the past three years would not have been possible without the participation of the University of Iowa Libraries in several library consortia. Library consortia boost the purchasing power of member institutions by working with publishers to gain group discounts for e-access and/or increasing the number of titles available to consortia members.
The University Libraries participates in a number of consortia, the two major ones being the Committee for Institutional Cooperation (CIC) and the Interinstitutional Collection Management Committee (ICMC). The CIC consortia includes the Big Ten universities plus the University of Chicago and the ICMC consortia includes Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa. From May 2002 to October 2002, the University of Iowa Libraries saved $98,000 as a result of consortial membership. Access to the e-journals of Elsevier Science Direct, John Wiley, Wolters Kluwer, Blackwell, and Nature Publishers have all been negotiated through these two consortia.
New England Journal of Medicine in PDF on Selected Workstations
Full-text PDF access to the New England Journal of Medicine will soon be available on seven selected workstations at the Hardin Library, all near the Information Desk. The publisher of NEJM does not currently offer an institutional site license, meaning we can only provide access through a set number of specified computers. We recognize that true electronic access includes access to all UI users from any workstation on or off campus and like other health sciences libraries, we have been actively lobbying the publisher for institutional site licensing.
Electronic access to the Cell Press journals and Science was made available this summer as a result of a partnership between Hardin Library, The College of Medicine Administration, and the Departments of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, Microbiology, Pathology, Pharmacology, and Physiology and Biophysics. The Cell Press journals include Cell, Immunity, Neuron, Cancer Cell, Developmental Cell, Molecular Cell, Structure and Current Biology. Links to these titles can be found on the Hardin Library web site at http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/ej. These prominent titles along with Science are very important to a wide range of biomedical faculty, staff, and students across the campus and Hardin Library is very grateful to its partners in this collaboration.
The University Libraries are committed to acquiring access to electronic resources and currently subscribes to over 12,000 electronic journals. A full list of electronic journals available though the Libraries is available at http://infolink.lib.uiowa.edu/e-journals/. New titles and publisher packages are continually under review and suggestions or comments about our holdings are always welcome. These can be submitted through the Hardin Library web site or directly to Hope Barton (firstname.lastname@example.org, 335-9161).