Boston College Libraries Faculty Newsletter



Boston College Libraries:
A Leader in Promoting Open Access Publishing in the Sciences

The combined effect of increases in the cost of academic journals outpacing increases in library budgets along with the potential to challenge traditional publishing business models with the growth and acceptance of electronic journals has led to the development of thousands of Open Access journals in recent years. See, for example, The Directory of Open Access Journals.


There are several business models for covering the costs of producing the journals, including library/institutional sponsorships and publication charges supported by researcher’s grant money, as well as hybrid models. All of these models depend on the support of the library community to remain robust.


With Open Access, access to scholarly journals is available to anyone freely over the Internet.  Open Access helps to lower barriers to education, research and scholarship, providing vital information to countries, institutions, and individuals regardless of their wealth.  As a Catholic, Jesuit University committed to social justice, Boston College has been a leader in support of these initiatives.  Boston College is a signer of BudapestOpenAccessInitiative (BOAI) and of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access.


Open Access is perhaps particularly valuable in the sciences.  The earliest mandates for making taxpayer-funded research available have been by funding agencies in this area.  Open Access has been shown to increase both the visibility and citability of articles, which is of high importance to scientists.  Many Open Access journals are peer reviewed.


Ongoing relationships between Boston College Libraries and OA Publishers and consortia in the sciences currently include:

PLoS (Public Library of Science)
Boston College is an institutional member. According to Thomsen Reuter, PLoS Biology has the highest impact factor of any journal in the category of Biology, and by a huge margin. Through our membership, Boston College researchers get a 10% publication discount.


ArXiv, a pre-print server in the physical sciences and beyond (math, physics, astronomy, computer science, quantitative biology and statistics), is one of the earliest and most successful efforts of the Open Access movement. As a supporting institution, Boston College now provides financial help for this important publishing medium.


SCOAP3 (Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics)
SCOAP3, a consortium made up of High-Energy Physics (HEP) funding agencies,
HEP laboratories, and leading national and international libraries and library consortia, is working with publishers to develop a new business model supporting conversion of five traditionally-published core HEP journals into Open Access titles;  these five will serve as models for the wider HEP journal publishing environment.  Boston College has submitted an “expression of interest” to be a part of this ambitious undertaking.


BioMed Central
BioMed Central has a large roster of open access journals in a wide range of topics. Boston College is a sponsor member, which gives our researchers a 15% discount on publication costs.

For more information on Open Access and Scholarly Communication at BC see Scholarly Communication News@BC. The Libraries welcome feedback on our role in supporting Open Access and sponsorship of particular OA publishers, journals or initiatives. 


Enid Karr
Reference Librarian/Bibliographer, O’Neill Library