Prizes and anniversaries

Yesterday I attended BioMedCentral’s 10th anniversary celebrations and research awards. Yes, it is a whole ten years ago that Vitek Tracz created his novel publishing business model of “author pays” open access, or “gold” open access as it is sometimes known. At the time it excited quite a bit of discussion (e.g. this message and others in the thread) and I suspect that many people thought it was a crazy idea. BMC has had a few ups and down since then – raising its prices and changing the way that its membership subscriptions worked, then being bought up by one of the big commercial publishers – but it has survived and appears to be moderately successful. So, I think congratulations are due to the BMC team. The model they pioneered has been successful and has been taken up by a wide variety of publishers, even our own dear NPG (though perhaps not as widely as some would want).
Congratulations are due to BMC not least for throwing rather a good party, at the top of the Gherkin building, giving me an excuse to post a few photos here. Sadly it was rather a gloomy, overcast evening so they are a bit grey.
Roof of the Gherkin building
View from the Gherkin
Another view, showing Tower 42
The BMC research awards were also presented, with Matt Cockerill doing his best Jonathan Ross impersonation and a host of luminaries announcing the prizes: Tim Hunt, Richard Smith, Peter Murray-Rust, Cameron Neylon, to name a few. The list of prize-winners is on the BMC website. I didn’t receive a prize, in case you were wondering. Neither did another NN reprobate regular who was there:
Graham Steel – looking scary
I don’t know how many other publishers award prizes for papers they publish, but it is a nice idea. PNAS have their Cozzarelli prize. The 2009 winners were announced recently. I’m not aware of any others.
Anyway, here’s to the 20th anniversary party in 2020. I’m putting the date in my Google calendar.

About Frank Norman

I am a retired librarian. I spent 40 years working in biomedical research libraries.
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6 Responses to Prizes and anniversaries

  1. Martin Fenner says:

    Thanks for the report. I want more pictures…

  2. Frank Norman says:

    I think Graham took a lot more so maybe he can oblige.
    I was in a hurry yesterday and forgot to mention two other features of the evening:
    a) a very nice and self-deprecatingly funny speech from Evan Harris (ex-MP), referring to the 2004 Select Committee report on Open Access that he was involved in preparing.
    b) an auction of a strange assortment of objects (paintings, carvings, chair, iPad, sports tickets) in aid of Computer Aid international which aims to “reduce poverty through practical ICT solutions”.

  3. Matt Brown says:

    I’m officially jealous of your trip up the Gherkin.
    Elsevier (or at least the irreverent department I grew up in) used to hold an annual award ceremony to celebrate the peccadilloes of its authors. Prizes were given for such achievements as ‘best facial hair’, ‘best excuse for late submission’, ‘worst figure submitted’, ‘most incoherent sentence’, ‘most unlikely name’ (poor Wolfgang Grabarse), etc. etc.
    Needless to say, the authors were never notified about their awards, which were instead collected by the editor who handled the manuscript.

  4. Frank Norman says:

    Matt – those awards sound much better! I hope the winners are preserved for posterity.
    Maybe we should have some NN awards in the same spirit, but avoiding libel of course.
    Re. Gherkin, do you mean you havent been up?

  5. Nature Network Team says:

    It would be fun to run some light-hearted awards on NN, but it’s hard to do it publicly without offending those being mocked. I suppose it could work for ‘best excuse for missing a deadline’ or ‘best lab web site’, but the real gems such as ‘oddest facial hair’ could get a bit personal.
    And, yes, of course I’ve been up the gherkin. But I had to queue for five hours and share the view with several hundred people.

  6. Graham Steel says:

    Blimey. I only spotted this post today looking to see what pictures of myself show up on Google.

    I think I may have slurped quite a few glasses of Champagne judging from THAT picture.

    @MartinFenner – Here is a montage of my pics (pic quality not great due to compression)

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