Accelerating access to biomedical evidence

Medical school open access journals teach open knowledge values

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I was looking around YouTube for student perspectives on open access, and I found a student describing her work with a medical school student journal, the University of British Columbia Medical Journal (UBCMJ)

UBCMJ has a tag line, “By Students, For the World.” If you take a look at their copyright and consent form (PDF), it is clearly stated that as an open access journal, UBCMJ will apply the Creative Commons Attribution License (CCAL)  to all published works. Under the CCAL, authors retain ownership and copyright to their article, but allow anyone to download, reuse, reprint, modify, distribute, and/or copy articles in the UBCMJ, so long as the original author(s) and sources are cited.  The student authors retain copyright and grant UBCMJ the initial non-exclusive right of distribution.

This model of publishing represents what I like to call open knowledge values. What are some other medical school journal publishing models?

Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine

The School of Medicine where I work produces the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine (YJBM), which since 2007 has been published in an open access cost-subsidized edition. YJBM cites peer-reviewed articles being read by a potential larger audience, particularly in developing countries that cannot afford subscriptions.

The Open Access concept allows for free and immediate access to YJBM‘s peer-reviewed articles via the Internet, expanding articles’ potential audiences. In addition, Open Access publications are a valuable resource to authors in developing countries. Unlike the UBCMC Creative Commons license, YJBM requires authors to assign their copyright to the journal after publication acceptance.

New Zealand Medical Student JournalThe New Zealand Medical Student Journal (NZMSJ), starting publication in 2004,  offers medical students a opportunity to write for medical school and eventual  publishing experience in professional journals. The journal publishes research papers produced by medical students and other content that may be of interest to students. The NZMSJ has a national distribution and readership and is currently published biannually. The do occasionally receive and publish material from medical students worldwide. The editors are clearly giving away the content in an open and sharing mode, but I cannot find any explanation of copyright treatment or licensing.

In Australia in 2009, a group of students at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) proposed the creation of a national medical student journal, and the  inaugural issue of the Australian Medical Student Journal (AMSJ) as a national peer-reviewed biomedical journal for student was officially launched in April of 2010.   There are 20 medical schools with the potential to by contributing to this open access endeavor.

Australia's Medical SchoolsAMSJ is certainly open and available from the archive on their web site.  I do not observe any mention of or consideration for copyright or usage license.  In spite of the apparent focus on peer review and the immediate medical school readership, the content is available in a way the demonstrates unselfish open knowledge values. I wonder what these sincere student founders focused on quality peer review would make of the movement on the other side of the globe known as the student Right to Research Coalition?


Fri, February 3 2012 » Uncategorized

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