Articles appearing in journals published by BMC are 'open access'. A universally accepted definition of the term was provided in the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing in 2003:
- The article is universally and freely accessible via the Internet, in an easily readable format and deposited immediately upon publication, without embargo, in an agreed format - current preference is XML with a declared DTD - in at least one widely and internationally recognized open access repository (such as PubMed Central).
- The author(s) or copyright owner(s) irrevocably grant(s) to any third party, in advance and in perpetuity, the right to use, reproduce or disseminate the research article in its entirety or in part, in any format or medium, provided that no substantive errors are introduced in the process, proper attribution of authorship and correct citation details are given, and that the bibliographic details are not changed. If the article is reproduced or disseminated in part, this must be clearly and unequivocally indicated.
- Articles in BMC's journals are published under the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY) to ensure implementation of open access as defined.