Das Ende von Open Medicine: Idealismus alleine reicht auf Dauer nicht

Nach 7 Jahren mit 31 Ausgaben schliesst das kanadische Journal Open Medicine. Das Journal entstand 2007 nach Streitigkeiten des Editorial Boards zur inhaltlichen Unabhängigkeit des Journal of the Canadian Medical Association, CMAJ.

Im Editorial der letzten Ausgabe erwähnen die Herausgeberinnen die fehlende finanzielle Nachhaltigkeit als Hauptgrund.

Had we a crystal ball in 2006, what would we have done differently? There is no question that financial sustainability has been foremost in our minds. Although we have attempted to pay modest stipends for journal operations, neither our scientific editors nor our editors-in chief have been compensated, and most of our administrative and production staff have volunteered much of their time. For fear of turning away authors, we delayed instituting publication charges until quite late in the game. As researchers, we struggled to be good fundraisers, communication specialists, information technology and web developers, and public relations experts. As busy doctors, we struggled to create space in our lives to accommodate our enthusiasm for what was possible.


Launching and running a medical journal is more work than it might seem. Based on our previous experiences, we thought we might need operational funding of about $3 million dollars per year. Ultimately, by dint of optimism and volunteerism, we were able to run the journal and publish articles for a tiny fraction of that. We built upon the Public Knowledge Project’s Open Journal System, the open source platform whose development was led by our friend and publisher John Willinsky, and which now hosts over 7000 open access journals in 105 countries. We were also accepted for indexing in PubMed after three short years; this was no small achievement We had immense support from Canadian research libraries, thanks to their own commitment to making knowledge freely available and their frustration with ever-escalating fees for bundled journal subscriptions. We also had contributions from our own colleagues and institutions to build on in our early years. Finally, thousands of volunteer hours were generously given to journal logistics, technical support, and web design, not to mention what accrued from the editorial and communications expertise of team members and the contributions of our valued bank of peer reviewers.


Despite everyone’s best intentions, it was challenging for a small team to keep stoking the interest and engagement of the general academic community, and it was difficult to recruit members to our editorial board and board of directors who could provide the kind of hands-on involvement that our small but ambitious operation required. Academic medicine has been slow to recognize the importance of stepping out of the comfort zone of traditional publishing: unfortunately, the benefits of disseminating information freely still takes second place to the allure of publishing in a prestigious forum, however difficult that forum may be for readers to access. .

Die Inhalte des Journals sind weiterhin über die Journalwebsite oder PubMed Central zugänglich.