The end of an early OA medical journal

Ivan Oransky, RIP: The Medscape Journal of Medicine, an open access pioneer, stops publishing new papers, Scientific American, January 31, 2009.  Excerpt:

A pioneering medical journal has fallen victim to the dramatic and wrenching changes that are overtaking the publishing industry: The Medscape Journal of Medicine (MJM), the first open access general medical journal, will no longer publish new papers, editor-in-chief George Lundberg and colleagues announced yesterday….

MJM came before BMC and PLoS. It was not the first open access medical journal when it was established in April 1999 as Medscape General Medicine, but it was among the first. Its offerings included original research, video commentaries, and even letters "to help clean up the messes made by any medical journals."

Unlike BMC and PLoS, which charge authors up to several thousand dollars per paper, MJM never charged author or publication fees. (Such fees are generally paid out of research grants, and are waived for those in developing countries.)

Perhaps because MJM did not have that source of revenue, Medscape — owned by WebMD — has decided to adopt a strategy similar to that of many other publishers: "We believe that we can provide the most value to our members by focusing on our role as an aggregator and interpreter of medical information and not as the primary source for original scientific articles." Its archives will remain live at Medscape, according to yesterday’s announcement….

PS:  See our past posts on MJM and George Lundberg.