The Scholarly Kitchen blog's Kent Anderson reports on an open letter on BMJ.com says that authors with connections to industry are more than twice as likely to pay open access fees to make their work free — a bias which could lead to "preferential reading of pro-industry results." The study examined the funding source and access status of 216 extended reports published between 2007 and 2008 in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, which operates under a hybrid open access model, where studies are accessed by subscription but authors are allowed to purchase open access rights to their articles. According to the study, 17 percent of industry-funded papers were made open access, as opposed to 8 percent of papers which weren't backed by industry. "Pro-industry bias is not new to medical publishing. That industry would view author-pays publishing as an opportunity to promote favorable work is not entirely surprising," Anderson writes.
At Science in the Open, Cameron Neylon, an academic editor at PLoS One says that while an 'author-pays' model has the potential to create a conflict of interest, that is not the case at PLoS One. "Within reputable publishers, structures are put in place to reduce that risk as far as is possible, divorcing the financial side from editorial decision making, creating Chinese walls between editorial and financial staff within the publisher," he writes. "The suggestion that my editorial decisions are influenced by the fact the authors will pay is, to be frank, offensive, calling into serious question my professional integrity and that of the other AEs."