Australia and New Zealand Health Policy is an Open Access journal, which means:
• All articles will be freely and universally accessible online without any barriers to access, which increases their visibility.
• You and your peers will be free to print out copies of your article, email it to colleagues, and post it on the web because of the BioMed Central copyright and license agreement.
Open access journals are funded by article processing charges rather than journal subscriptions. The costs are therefore borne by the authors, their institutions of from their grants. That is, all access to journals is free to readers via the web (BMC online-only journals). Authors from institutional supporters are exempt from authorship charges. The institutional supporters pay a sliding scale based on the number of staff and postgraduate students in biomedical sciences.
Institutional subscription has a number of benefits. In addition to the direct benefits in terms of waived author fees, there are public policy benefits in supporting an open access journal regime such as Biomed Central. Open access journals are one mechanism for putting pressure on regular journal publishers to moderate their price increases.
Unfortunately there are no New Zealand institutional subscribers to BioMed Central at present, which means that New Zealand authors will face article processing charges, although no article processing charges will be payable on manuscripts submitted in the first six months following the launch of the journal. Article processing charges are also usually regarded as a legitimate charge against research grants. In the medium term, alternative arrangements, such as institutional support, should be encouraged, although after this time the editor-in-chief will be able to grant a limited number of discretionary processing charge waivers.