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August 19, 2010

As a subtle reminder to the continuing impact of open access on the publishing landscape, the BMJ Group yesterday announced the launch of BMJ Open, an open access online journal.  BMJ Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Medical Association publishes, along with about 30 other journals, one of the world’s longest (170 years) and widely read (over a million online users) medical journal, the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

The announcement appearing as an entry on their official blog (BMJ Open – launching autumn 2010) states:

Not only will the journal publish traditional full research reports, including small or low-impact studies, but we intend to shed light on all stages of the research process by publishing study protocols, pilot studies and pre-protocols. The journal will also place great emphasis on the importance of data sharing; raw data will be linked to at its repository or hosted online as supplementary material wherever possible.

This emphasis on transparency will continue with research protocols and reviewers’ comments being published alongside final papers … Peer review will be open, and the criteria for acceptance will be that the research was conducted in a transparent and ethical way.

Authors will be asked to pay article-processing charges on acceptance, although waivers will be available on request. The ability to pay will not influence editorial decisions; payment requests will be made on acceptance.

Although the announcement doesn’t mention the amount the authors are charged, a typical open access service at BMJ (branded ‘Unlocked’) costs little over $3000.

Earlier in June, the Group placed an employment ad for the Managing Editor of BMJ Open where in it was  mentioned that

BMJ Open is a pure Open Access journal – which will publish a high volume of medical research articles which might be rejected from the BMJ or BMJJs [the BMJ family of journals] or which might be otherwise submitted to a journal outside the BMJ Group. There is no medical equivalent of this type of “mid-tier” publication which therefore fills a gap in the market.

So here is a PLoS ONE style journal for clinicians.

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