Open Access Policy

ASBMB: The Open Access Publisher

There has been a great deal of discussion recently about “open access” publishing by science journals. In its simplest version, the proposal is that all papers published in a journal be available free to everyone from the day they are first published. Given that there are costs associated with journal publishing, the corollary to free access is that the costs could no longer be covered by subscriptions but would be borne by the authors/granting agencies as page charges. The Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) has long used a combination of income sources to cover costs receiving about one-third from page charges to authors and about two-thirds from subscription revenues, primarily from libraries.

The ASBMB and the JBC have been strong supporters of the spirit of open access publishing as defined above. As a Society publisher, it is our sole mission to serve readers, authors and science. We were among the first to introduce a form of open access in 1996 when we started to release all back issues of JBC Online free to everyone at the end of each calendar year. On January 1, 1997, for example, all previous content became available without a subscription. We continue this practice.

We were also leaders in providing free access of current content to many low-income countries without subscriptions. This too is part of our mission.

Our most innovative advance, however, came in 2001 when we introduced JBC Papers in Press which allows us to publish and provide free access to all papers on the day they are accepted for publication. This innovation has reduced the time from acceptance to publication from 8 weeks to 1 day to the delight of both authors and readers. The JBC Papers in Press system has allowed us to meet the spirit of Open Access publishing yet maintain our ability to meet costs."

Our success with open access to JBC has led to the same policy for other ASBMB journals: Molecular & Cellular Proteomics and Journal of Lipid Research.

We hope that our record of service to authors, readers and science may serve as a model for others.

For a directory of Open Access journals, browse to