BioMed Central advertises itself as “The Open Access Publisher” (see their logo floating next to this text). They publish a lot of journals, but I think the Public Library of Science (PLoS) has the lead when it comes to being THE open access publisher. That’s because everything published by PLoS is Open Access — it’s free to read, distribute, and reproduce, provided there is proper attribution. BioMed Central, not so much.
That’s right, BioMed Central, The Open Access Publisher, publishes paid-access articles. In fact, it publishes entire journals that are not open access. That includes Genome Biology, a journal I would read if I had access to the articles contained within. But I do not. Despite being published by The Open Access Publisher, Genome Biology is not open access.
BioMed Central is also behind the Faculty of 1000, a website that collects reviews of papers in a sort-of online journal club for leading researchers. Faculty of 1000 is, you guessed it, not open access, despite being produced by The Open Access Publisher. I have no way of assessing the utility of Faculty of 1000 because I don’t have access to the service.
I’m not calling out BioMed Central for offering paid-access content. I have no problem with that, although I’d prefer to see all scientific publications go open access. My issue is with BioMed Central labeling themselves as The Open Access Publisher despite the fact that they publish numerous paid access journals and paid access services.