Top biomedical researchers form Editorial Directorate for open-access publishing venture

May 21, 2000

Some of the world's leading biological and medical scientists have joined the Editorial Directorate of BioMed Central, a new publishing house that will give free on-line access to biomedical research. BioMed Central will allow researchers around the world to access peer-reviewed research articles free-of-charge, and without the traditional barriers to access imposed by conventional publishers. The BioMed Central Directorate includes:

Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics and Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of California, San Francisco (USA)

Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (USA)

Head of the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School. (USA)

Professor of the Collège de France and Director General of the Pasteur Institute (France)

Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (USA)

President of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (USA)

Director-General of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (UK).

President of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (USA)

Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford (UK)

Professor of Kyoto University, Graduate School of Biostudies (Japan)

"BioMed Central will be the most significant development for disseminating the results of biomedical research in our lifetime", says Dr Paul Nurse.

"BioMed Central and other on-line initiatives will serve to make science more democratic, and more efficient, and in so doing will speed scientific progress," says Dr Steven Hyman. "In the long run, I think that journals that are not freely available in electronic formats will be read less and less".

"BioMed Central promises to deliver all primary research without financial and copyright barriers and deserves all our support," says Professor Marc Kirschner. "Free access to research and the right to distribute work among colleagues and other contacts will allow scientists the freedom to participate in a truly worldwide community of scholars."

"BioMed Central will help clinical, basic and population scientists who need to communicate with each other rapidly and efficiently", says Dr David Nathan. "The paper system is comfortable but terribly slow. BioMed Central will close the gap between what scientists and clinicians know and what the patients need. That's why I am for it."

"By fully co-ordinating with the PubMed Central archive, BioMed Central has the potential to demonstrate how high quality, peer reviewed reports in many important fields of life sciences can be made freely accessible throughout the world solely through electronic journals," says Dr Harold Varmus. "If this works as hoped, we will move much closer to achieving the revolution in scientific publishing that the Internet promises."

A few more researchers and clinicians are expected to join the Directorate over the coming weeks. The Directorate will oversee the editorial and scientific integrity of BioMed Central and the activities of the many hundreds of editors, referees and reporters. The directorate will also supervise the continued development of the BioMed Central publishing plan which includes publishing subscription-free journals in all areas of biology and medicine as well as providing other information resources, databases and other services relevant to the biomedical community on a subscription basis. All primary research published by BioMed Central will be made available free and placed immediately and full in PubMed Central, the NIH-sponsored archive of biomedical research. Authors will retain the copyright for their work and will be allowed to distribute their work however they see fit including archiving it on their own website.

Many of the issues that have arisen as a result of the advent of open-access publishing will be discussed at a conference on 6-7 July 2000 at the New York Academy of Medicine, USA. "Freedom of information: The impact of open-access on biomedical science" will discuss the impact that this new publishing model will have on science and how it is used, communicated and done. How open-access publishing will change the relationship between science and the general public will also be discussed at the conference.
Notes for editors 1. BioMed Central will begin accepting research articles from today, Monday 22nd May 2000. Information for authors is available at
2. BioMed Central is part of the Current Science Group, a group of independent companies that collaborate closely with each other to publish and develop information and services for the professional biomedical community. The Group has its head-office in London (UK), with additional offices in Philadelphia, New York and Tokyo.
3. Further information and free media registration for "Freedom of Information: The impact of open-access on biomedical science" is available at

Information on the BioMed Central Editorial Directorate
4. Elizabeth Blackburn is a professor in the Departments of Biochemistry & Biophysics, and Microbiology & Immunology at the University of California, San Francisco. Since her co-discovery of the ribonucleoprotein enzyme telomerase in 1985, she has become an internationally recognized leader in the field of chromosomal telomeres, telomerase, and their control. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (1993) a Fellow of the Royal Society, London (1992), and former President (1998) of the American Society for Cell Biology. A biography and more information about Dr. Blackburn's research can be found at
5. A biography of Dr Steven Hyman can be found at:
6. Information on Professor Marc Kirschner can be found at
7. Professor Philippe Kourilsky is a Professor of the Collège de France, a Member of the French Academy of Sciences and General Director of the Pasteur Institute
8. Professor Joseph Martin has been Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Harvard Medical School since 1997 and is an internationally recognized leader in the field of neurological sciences. A biography of Professor Joseph Martin can be found at:
9. Professor Sir Paul Nurse is the Director-General of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in the UK and was awarded the 1998 Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research. A biography of Sir Professor Paul Nurse can be found at:
10. Dr Varmus, was a co-recipient of the 1989 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his work in the discovery of the cellular origin of retroviral oncogenes. From 1994 to 1999 he was Director of the National Institutes of Health, one of the world's leading centers for biomedical research. In 1999 Dr Varmus proposed the concept for PubMed Central, an on-line repository for archiving, organising and distributing peer-reviewed reports from journals. A full biography for Dr Varmus can be found at: Dr Varmus's proposal for PubMed Central can be found at:
11. Professor Sir David Weatherall is also the Honorary Director of the ICRF Laboratories at the Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford.
12. Professor Yanagida's research areas include the control of chromosome dynamics in cell division cycle and the genetic control of mitosis. He is currently the President of the Molecular Biology Society of Japan.

BioMed Central

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