I recalled that i got an email from VCU Library several months ago that our university would have a downgraded BMC subscription services. Then, i sent an email to BCM to express the concern of this downgrade service. As a regular readers, authors of multiple papers published in BMC and also regular reviewers for BMC series, i was very disappointed after i found last week that i have to pay around $2000 for publishing a paper in BMC Genetics and to pay more than $2000 for a paper in Genome Biology, both belonging to BMC. I guess other VCU researchers may also struggle with this new VCU membership. If possible, can you please reconsider a regular membership? This will benefit greatly many VCU researchers who may submit papers to BMC.
Thanks for your consideration.
From: a faculty member
Lynne U. Turman, Head, Tompkins-McCaw Library Collections, replies...
Thank you for contacting us and sharing your comments. VCU Libraries joined BioMed Central (BMC) as an Institutional Member in 2003. As one of the early experiments in alternative forms of scholarly publishing, we felt it was important to support it. Then in 2006, BMC announced changes in its pricing structure and Institutional Members started being charged the Article Processing Fees for all articles authored by their faculty. VCU Libraries continued its Institutional membership for another year to see what the changes would mean to our budget. During this year, our costs increased by 102%. Like many other academic research libraries, we were forced to re-examine our membership level because of the impact of these rising costs on our ability to support other journal subscriptions. Since there was no longer a cap on our costs, remaining an Institutional Member was equivalent to writing BMC a blank check. In addition, the VCU Libraries has little ability to absorb cost increases of this magnitude, since it has a relatively small budget for subscriptions when compared to other research institutions.
After careful consideration, VCU Libraries changed to the Supporters membership level which gives VCU authors a 15% discount on the Article Processing Fees. We recognize that this means VCU authors must absorb more costs to publish in BMC journals, which we deeply regret. However, we feel that BMC’s “dynamic charge” business model can not be supported with our relatively small funding base.
Thank you again for sending us your comments and please feel free to contact me if you have additional questions about our membership in BioMed Central.