Go back

New Zealand Medical Journal goes open access

Free-to-read research publications form part of venerable medical journal’s “revitalisation”

New Zealand’s leading medical research journal has started offering a free open-access model for subscribers.

As of 19 January, all new publications will be freely available on the website of the New Zealand Medical Journal.

The move follows a takeover of the journal by the Pasifika Medical Association Group in 2022, after the New Zealand Medical Association went into liquidation.

In a statement, Frank Frizelle, the journal’s editor-in-chief and a University of Otago professor, said the group had made a “substantial investment”, including upgrades to systems and increased staffing, which had “revitalised the journal”.

He said that “open access removes the obstacle of a paywall that many journals use to help fund their journal. As such, it allows all those interested to read the article and in doing so increases articles’ exposure, fuelling discussion about the topic and likely citation.”

Broad readership

The 136-year-old journal will be free to all individuals. Older articles were already being made available for free, but the new system will make all articles available dating back to 1999.

The first all-free edition includes research on hospital admissions and middle ear infections in Māori, and an editorial on the “incarceration” of people with mental disorders.

Although the Pasifika Medical Association Group’s aims are around Pasifika health issues, the journal claims a “broad general readership” and it continues to publish on a variety of medical issues, including a December editorial calling the end of New Zealand’s smoke-free legislation “public health vandalism”.

The journal says that institutions are “encouraged” to continue paying a subscription fee. A statement on its website says that “by continuing to support the New Zealand Medical Journal, institutions demonstrate a commitment to academic excellence and professional development”.