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  1. I B Pless
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor Pless
 Montreal Children’s Hospital and McGill University, Montreal, Canada;

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From the editor’s desk


It is with considerable regret—and not without some disagreement among the Editorial Board—that we announce the initiation of page charges for authors. Beginning 1 January 2004, authors will be asked to pay $150US for each complete printed page. This decision was only reached after months of deliberation and is a reflection of the economical realities of journal publishing in the 21st century. In this case, it reflects in part our well intentioned but, in retrospect, misguided venture to make the complete journal accessible online at no cost. Not surprisingly, many previous subscribers succumbed to simple economics. The result was a loss of vital income for a journal that does not attract advertisers or other sources of income.

The financial consequences were such that, quite understandably, our publishers reassessed the situation. Among the various scenarios, one element that held promise for balancing the books was page charges. This was agreed with two important exceptions: the first is an exemption for readers in low income countries. They will continue to receive this and all other BMJ journals online at no cost. The second, perhaps more controversial, is a waiver of charges for authors who subscribe to the print or online editions.

This makes sense for two reasons. The goal of any contributor is to see the product of their work in print, preferably in respected and widely read journals. Whether they themselves read such journals regularly, if at all, is seemingly secondary. Yet, when I teach students …

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