Canadian Medical Association Journal lifts online paywall to health-care material


OTTAWA — All new content published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal is now available to the public for free.

The CMAJ says it’s removing the paywall to its weekly online edition to make newly published material freely available, with previously published material set to become available March 1.

Deborah Scott-Douglas, president of the CMAJ’s publisher Joule, says the goal is to expand the journal’s reach and spark more discussion about health-care issues.

While the journal’s research articles, editorials and news stories have previously been free to access, other content including commentaries and practice articles were only fully available after one year.

Editor-in-chief Dr. Andreas Laupacis says in an article on the CMAJ website that releasing more content will make the journal more relevant to health-care discussions. Laupacis says an additional goal is to attract new voices to the journal, including those of patients.

Association president Dr. Sandy Buchman supported the move, adding that good health information is key to countering false and misleading information that abound online.

“This is about credible health information in this era of false news,” Buchman told the CMAJ. “This gives access to important peer-reviewed information to everybody.”