Bentham announces OA growth strategy

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Traditional subscription publishers are increasingly interested in different approaches to publishing. Siân Harris finds out why the author-pays, open-access model has become a big part of Bentham Science's plans.

Bentham Science plans to launch over 300 open-access journals during 2007 with the first 100 journals being launched by May 2007. The journals, collectively known as ‘Bentham Science OPEN’, will cover all major disciplines of science including engineering, mathematics, chemistry, medicine, bio-chemical sciences, pharmaceutical sciences, earth sciences and environmental science. They will be published exclusively online and will be available for free viewing via Bentham Science’s website.

Bentham Science OPEN will launch three types of open-access journals: those that publish research articles; those that publish exclusively review articles; and those that publish letters or short communication articles. All articles will be peer-reviewed prior to publication and Bentham promises that article-processing charges to authors will all be less than US$1000 per published article.

‘We have decided that we can now build-up an impressive and large list of exclusively open-access titles without endangering our current subscription list,’ Bentham’s editorial director Matthew Honan told Research Information. ‘Our aim is three-fold,’ he continued. Firstly the company wants ‘to build-up the largest list of open-access journals of any existing STM publisher.’ It also hopes to successfully publish a list of both open-access and subscription journals. The third aspect of this open-access strategy is that the company has observed an increasing trend in favour of open-access publishing, for example from funding bodies such as The Wellcome Trust. ‘As a publisher we need to listen to our authors and follow the trends in publishing which we believe we are doing,’ said Honan.

This is not the company’s first experience of open access. An open-access option is available on Bentham’s 79 existing subscription titles, with author charges of US$3000 per published article. ‘Since we introduced the hybrid model to our subscription journals, there has been an increasing number of our authors who have opted for the open-access choice,’ said Honan. ‘The percentage of those authors who decide to publish open access is still very small but we expect this to increase in the future as the promotion, and general awareness and benefits of open-access publishing become more known to scientists worldwide. It is all a matter of developing and maintaining quality journals and offering the authors the choice of where and how to publish their work. We foresee an increasing trend to publish open-access titles at Bentham.’

These 300 open-access titles will be published in addition to Bentham’s existing subscription journals and also to the new subscription titles that it is launching this year.