NHS England extend BioMed Central membership to 2008

BioMed Central is pleased to announce that NHS England have renewed their BioMed Central membership agreement until March 2008. Under the renewed membership agreement all 1.2 million NHS England staff can continue to publish their work in BioMed Central's growing number of open access journals without incurring a direct article processing charge. All the research content in BioMed Central's journals is freely available online immediately on publication.

News of the NHS England renewal comes at a key time for open access in the UK. In a study "How accessible is NHS-funded research to the general public and to the NHS's own researchers?" it was found that less than 30% of NHS-funded resulting research articles are accessible in full text to the general public and only 40% are immediately accessible to NHS staff at the hospital studied.1 In the House of Commons Science & Technology Select Committee's report 'Scientific Publications: Free for all2', the Committee concludes that changes in scientific publishing are "necessary as a matter of urgency" and everyone should have free, open access to UK research findings. They urge the UK Government and funding organisations to "act as a proponent for change" and "lead by example". NHS England's decision, to fund open access publication in BioMed Central's journals for all NHS England staff for a further two years, provides critical support for the growth of open access in the UK.

NHS England first signed up for BioMed Central membership in April 2003, and since then there has been a huge increase in support and usage from researchers in NHS England. Submissions to BioMed Central's journals by NHS staff so far in 2005 are almost six times the number submitted in 2003. Between 2004 and 2005 (to date), publication in BioMed Central's journals by NHS staff increased by 51%. Downloads of BioMed Central journal articles by the NHS England community have increased five-fold in the same time period. These results dem

Contact: Grace Baynes
BioMed Central

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