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In the field of medicine, the process of disseminating knowledge and information is paramount to the advancement of our discipline. When new observations are made, researchers share their findings with their colleagues via publication in medical journals, which allows for other clinicians to discover and implement these findings in clinical practice. This process began in the 17th century, with the publication of the first English medical journal in 1684, titled Medicina Curiosa.1 Over the years, the number of journals and the way in which we access this information has changed, but the premise remains the same. In the 21st century, we live in a digital age where we procure the majority of our information from the internet. Additionally, there are currently more than 15 650 journal titles available via the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).2 This wealth of available resources has allowed for immediate access of information by clinicians, scientists and researchers; however, it poses challenges for authors when attempting to submit and publish their work.
The transition to open access
The wide adoption of the internet has sparked a transition towards distributing scholarly content digitally.3 This has been a major change from the traditional model of sending physical, printed volumes to subscribers. The idea behind the transition to open-access publishing was to remove the barriers to rapid dissemination of scholarly work that existed because of publishers holding copyright on articles, and only allowing access to journal subscribers in a pay-to-read model.4 Open-access publishing, which refers to unrestricted online access to articles published in scholarly journals, allows for free and immediate access to scholarly content upon publishing to anyone who has access to the internet. In this model, the cost to provide journal services has changed dramatically. No longer do journals require a wide enough subscription base to be sustainable. …
Contributors All authors have contributed to the manuscript and agree with the final version to be published. MA, AK and HK are each credited with substantial contribution to the design of the work, literature review of all sections, discussion, drafting of the manuscript, revision of critically important intellectual content and final approval of the version to be published. FW, MA and RQ are credited with substantial contribution to design of the work, revision of critically important intellectual content and final approval of the version to be published.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.