06 January 2006

The BMJ Evolves towards... the Dark Side

The British Medical Journal is a fine institution, with a long and glorious history of publishing important medical research. On top of that it was enlightened, allowing mere members of the public (like me) to read all of its content through an open access policy that placed it at the vanguard of scientific publishing.

No more.

An editorial claims that "The BMJ is evolving". As far as I can tell from information on the site (not to mention the sign-in page I meet at the above address), it seems to be evolving in precisely the opposite direction to everyone else, by reducing the amount of its content that is freely available.

More and more scientific journals recognise the virtues of open access, both in terms of efficiency (the dissemination of knowledge and the building of scientists' reputations) and ethics (since the general public pays through taxes for most published research). A full and very clear explanation of both the why and the how of open access can be found here.

Update: Miraculously, the editorial mentioned above now seems to be available to hoi polloi....

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