This journal has been in the piping for quite some time as it had already been declared in the BMJ Blogs. It went live quite some time ago (February 24th) but I just managed to procrastinate posting this till now!
The new journal works on the principle of the author paying system, much like the PLoS journals. They have a steep article processing charge: $ 1500. However, these charges may be waived if the authors are unable to pay them or maybe reduced for reviewers with timely reviews in the past 12 months and for authors from the low and middle income group members of HINARI. Since the charges are levied after the article is reviewed, the inability to pay does not affect the chances of getting published. Although these are early days, I would like to see how many papers get published here from my neck of the woods. Traditionally, the BMJ group of journals have enjoyed a lot of attention and respect from my teachers and professors. Now with the OA model in place it remains to be seen how many of them are willing to throw in their hats to get their work published here.
The new journal looks to institute completely open reviewing. This is going to be interesting studying how this open review system affects the attitude of reviewers. Expect a study on those lines a few months and a substantial number of publications/reviews in the BMJ Open! Another great thing about the BMJ Open is that it endeavors to complete the process of peer review and editorial decision within 4 weeks: and that is something which is really great, especially considering the long, protracted affair editorial reviews sometimes can become.
One more thing which I liked about the BMJ Open was the fact that in the accompanying Editorial in the BMJ by Trish Groves, Editor in Chief, BMJ Open (BMJ 2011; 342:d1190) has declared that the journal looks to publish any article which may be deemed “scientifically and ethically sound and deserving of publication”. They will not reject articles based on the defined needs of a targeted readership. This, of course, falls in tune with the open access philosophy of getting out research to as many people as possible.
In the wake of the HINARI fiasco where 2500 journals were (? surreptitiously) withdrawn, the focus on having more research in the Open Access arena has grown more intense. With the entry of the players like the BMJ Group and Nature Publishing Group in the business of Open Access, it answers a rather timely need.
Open Access is alive, and well!
Some go-to links:
BMJ Open is an online-only, open access general medical journal, dedicated to publishing medical research from all disciplines and therapeutic areas. The journal publishes all research study types, from study protocols to phase I trials to meta-analyses, including small or potentially low-impact studies. Publishing procedures are built around fully open peer review and continuous publication, publishing research online as soon as the article is ready.