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CMAJ drops paywall, all new CMAJ content is now freely accessible -

All new CMAJ content is now freely accessible to everyone. All new Canadian Medical Association Journal content is now freely available online, with older material becoming available on March 1, 2020, effective immediately. Previously, CMAJ research articles, editorials and news stories were freely available, and other content including commentaries and practice articles were only fully available after one year.

Dr. Andreas Laupacis, editor-in-chief of the journal, says providing immediate free access to content will make the journal more relevant to discussions about improving Canada’s healthcare system.

The move to fully free content will involve a financial hit for CMAJ’s publisher, Joule, as there are no plans to offset lost subscription revenue by increasing publication fees — a common way other journals finance open access publishing. According to Laupacis, the company felt that the increase in access justified the lost revenue.

There is increasing momentum toward open science as research funders around the world, including the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, are requiring the work they support to be made freely accessible. Ambitious initiatives such as Plan S, an open access movement involving research agencies and funders from 12 European countries to make all the research they fund freely available by 2020, are helping to spur change, says Susan Haigh, executive director of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries.

This trend has raised concerns in some corners of the medical publishing world. In an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Charlotte Haug argued that there is ‘no free lunch’ and subscriptions are still necessary to cover the rising costs of publishing quality content. The best way to balance these concerns remains a point of debate.

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