OM blog - CMAJ Endorsement, and We Respond

Submitted by Dean Giustini on July 2, 2007 - 23:57

The Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) has just published:

Here is our response:

Although the endorsement by CMAJ’s editors of open access medical publishing is welcome, we would like to take this opportunity to clarify several points raised in their commentary.1 First, there is an important distinction between open versus free-access publication. Open Medicine has not only adopted the principle of free access, that is, making content fully available online, but endorses the definition of open access publication drafted by the Bethesda Meeting on Open Access Publishing.2 This definition stipulates that the copyright holder grants to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute works derived from the original work, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship. Given that CMAJ holds copyright and charges reprint and permission fees, it is not in fact an open access journal.

In comparison, Open Medicine does not assume the copyright of our authors’ work. We believe that it is only fair and just that authors retain the ownership of their work; as such, Open Medicine does not charge reprint or permission fees, and our work is available for reproduction for educational and teaching purposes without copyright limitations or charges.  We use a Creative Commons Copyright License ( ) that also ensures derivative works are available through an open access forum. It is through this creative and unlimited use of published material, with due attribution, that we believe scientific discourse can flourish. This truly open access forum also has a contribution to make to a journal’s integrity, independence, and freedom.3  

Proof of this potential to flourish lies with PLoS Medicine, an open access medical journal launched in 2004 that is now the 4th leading medical journal in the world with an impact factor of 13.8 in 2006. 

We have further bolstered our commitment to equitable and discursive scientific publishing by using open-source software for all aspects of journal management including our journal blog ( By using this software, Open Medicine becomes a leading example of technological innovation in medical publishing. We hope that others will join us.

 Editorial Team

Open Medicine 


1. Stanbrook MB, Flegel K, Sibbald B, et al. Congratulations to our colleagues at Open Medicine. CMAJ 2007;177(1).

2. National Institutes of Health. “Open Access Publishing.” 7 March 2007. Available: 

3. Willinsky  J, Murray S, Kendall C, Palepu A. “Doing medical journals differently:

Open Medicine,  Open Access, and Academic Freedom” [working paper]. 2007.



        This letter is licenced under the Creative Commons Attibution–Share Alike 2.5 Canada License (see, which means that anyone is able to freely copy, download, reprint, reuse, distribute, display or perform this work and that the authors retain copyright of their work. Any derivative use of this work must be distributed only under a license identical to this one and must be attributed to the authors. Any of these conditions can be waived with permission from the copyright holder. These conditions do not negate or supersede Fair Use laws in any country. 

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.


Trackback. (I don't mean to be anonymous, obviously, but there seems to be nowhere to put my name!)

Ed Note: Name entered. Thanks Bill!