BMJ accuses us of repudiation of the role of libraries

I was rather shocked to see this posting on the British Medical Journal’s website. The author Tony Delamothe, the deputy editor of the BMJ, accuses our use of the shed advert (shown here) as “representing an absolute repudiation of the role of libraries”.

Here is the introductory paragraph from his article entitled Amnesia strikes the memory business.

“A poster advertising the British Library’s Business and Intellectual Property Centre shows a padlocked garden shed, on which the following words have been painted: “Inside is your invention. We’ll help you stop it becoming someone else’s.” Nothing could better symbolise the suburban smallmindedness underlying this initiative.”

Fortunately Stephen C. Due a medical librarian from Australia corrected Tony’s misunderstanding of the role of the Business & IP Centre in providing information and advice that helps people protect their intellectual property. As he correctly states “There is nothing in this enterprise that conflicts with the traditional values of libraries – it is essentially no different from advising an author on how to make the most of his or her rights and opportunities under copyright law.”

Thanks Stephen for leaping to our defence!

My colleagues in our Science collection have asked me to point out that the British Library-led partnership was recently chosen to run UK PubMed Central. This enables scientists to access a vast collection of biomedical research thanks to a major new initiative that aims to promote the free transfer of ideas in a bid to speed up scientific discovery. Based on a model currently used in the United States, UK PubMed Central (UKPMC) provides free access to an online digital archive of peer-reviewed research papers in the medical and life sciences.

Also it seems the British Medical Journal is not entirely controversy free when it comes to open access publishing, as can be seen by this discussion thread Access controls on – Restore true open access to

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