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This is akin to the adoption of Linux and open source software by mainstream IT companies: Open access research publishing pioneer BioMed Central has been acquired by Springer Science, one the largest publishers of scientific journals. The financials were not disclosed, but said that BMC has revenues of approximately EUR 15 million per year. BMC, founded in 2000, is based in London and has about 150 employees.
Open access is the movement which advocated that the media and scientific research studies available for free online (and peer reviewed), instead of charging taxpayers who funded the research (and others) to read them, as SciAm points out. More details in release.
Springer and BMC are assuring that the open access nature of the company will be kept, and according to Springer CEO Derk Haank “we see open access publishing as a sustainable part of STM publishing, and not an ideological crusade.” Some more analysis of this acquisition on the Open Access News blog, here.