Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 02-July-2002, Vol 115 No 1157
Welcome to the eNZMJ
John Adams, Chairman, New Zealand Medical Association
First published in 1887, the New Zealand Medical Journal is still going strong 115 years later.
The new eNZMJ will continue to provide the medical profession in New Zealand with its own peer-reviewed scientific journal. For contributors, the move to an electronic system will streamline the process of publication. For readers, the archive and search facility will make it easier to find and access articles.
The paper version will be missed, but new reading habits have their advantages, with contents alerts sent by email, instant access from our desktops, and the ability to save and print out articles of interest. I know that some members remain uncomfortable with, or do not have access to, computers. However, to save the NZMJ for everybody, this decision to go electronic had to be made. I hope that people not used to computers at this point will find this the added impetus to join the ease of the electronic age. They may need some help from those that are reading this.
The change to an electronic-only journal was made for financial reasons. The Board would have continued with the paper version if it was at all possible, but the transition to electronic publishing ended up being the only responsible and viable option after much review and debate.
It is therefore disappointing to see comments from some members like “Money should not come into it”.1 Unfortunately, money comes into everything, and there is no getting around this. Someone had to front up with the approximately $300 000 annual deficit for the print NZMJ. The Journal used to break even but, with substantial decreases in advertising revenue, the cost to members has risen and risen, leading to a financial haemorrhage that had to be stopped. The NZMA Board needed to act to protect members’ funds, which support all of the other activities of the NZMA.
With more members this might have been avoided. Perhaps in the future as membership increases, a print version may again become a viable option. Encourage people to join!
Some NZMA members have made comparisons between how the NZMJ and journals like the BMJ and The Lancet are published. While it is flattering to be considered in the same light as these prestigious international journals, the reality is that the NZMJ is different. The BMJ and the Lancet, for instance, have huge resources in staff and money that the NZMJ can only dream about. Their subscriber bases are many, many times larger than that of the NZMJ. They can afford to publish both paper and electronic versions. We cannot.
The future success of the eNZMJ lies with the medical community. The NZMA will continue to publish and foster the Journal, but “ownership” by the medical profession is vital. The NZMJ needs researchers to continue to submit journal items, and readers to visit the website to read the Journal. The Journal and the Editor need your support.
Access to most of the Journal will be by password, at least to begin with. As a member, you have paid your subscription and get the password as an NZMA member benefit. Please protect it! For institutions, initially access will be by password as well. Access will be monitored and it is likely that another system, probably based on IP addresses, will be introduced for next year. For the future of the Journal, it is vital that our membership and subscriber bases are maintained.
The Editor for the last three years, Professor Gary Nicholls, has done a great job, along with his editorial team. I know that Professor Frank Frizelle, who takes over later this month, will continue the excellent work and maintain the academic rigour and high standard.
While some are nostalgic for the "good old days" of the Journal, technology has moved on and it is essential for the NZMA to be financially responsible. We believe that we have done just this, while continuing to provide an excellent, cost-effective journal for the profession. The NZMA is confident that we will be providing a great product for our members, as well as responsibly using their subscription money.
Welcome to the eNZMJ - here’s to the next 115 years!
Correspondence: Dr John Adams, c/o NZMA National Office, PO Box 156, Wellington. Fax: (04) 471 0838, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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