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CMAJ embraces open-publishing concept, launches CMAJ Open

CMAJ has launched a new digital-only open-access journal that will provide a home for researchers whose papers may be too narrowly focused to qualify for publication in CMAJ itself.

"The main reason we went this way is that CMAJ only has room for the roughly 70 high-impact papers we publish every year," says Dr. Diane Kelsall, a deputy editor at CMAJ who will serve as editor at the new online publication, CMAJ Open. "But all the time we are selecting those papers, we are also rejecting a lot of well-written and solid work because it is not of broad enough interest to meet CMAJ's publishing criteria."

"The idea behind CMAJ Open is to offer these researchers a platform for disseminating their work while putting CMAJ editorial expertise and the CMAJ brand behind them."

Kelsall says the new journal is "open" in several ways. For instance, it will consider for publication some types of research studies that CMAJ itself will not, and it will employ an open peer review system in which reviewer comments, author responses and previous versions of all articles are available, along with the final published version. It will also consider submissions involving medical and health care research, including work from allied health professionals.

As well, all content appearing in CMAJ Open will be available free of charge to all readers upon publication (some online CMAJ articles are available free only to CMA members and journal subscribers, although all research it publishes is open access).

In launching the new model, CMAJ is joining online open-publishing pioneers such as the Public Library of Science (PLoS) and the BMJ Group. As is the case with them, researchers submitting to CMAJ Open will be asked to help cover editorial costs by paying $2,250 (plus HST) following acceptance of their paper (PLoS Medicine charges US$2,900, BMJ Open £1350). "The ability to pay will not affect editorial decision-making," Kelsall says.

She said initial response to the new journal has been positive, and four papers have already been accepted. Papers are published immediately following acceptance, and every four months they will be collected into a quarterly issue.

Details for authors, including frequently asked questions, are available online.

Forward any comments about this article to: cmanews@cma.ca.