The future of publishing medical journals: 90th Anniversary symposium for the Postgraduate Medical Journal

The Postgraduate Medical Journal was launched in 1925 in the era of the discovery of insulin and penicillin, pioneering examples of development and introduction of life-saving and life-changing medicines during the latter three-quarters of the 20th Century.

A Symposium was organised on 1st October 2015 in London by the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine to mark the 90th Anniversary of its first official journal, the Postgraduate Medical Journal.

Speakers included Peter Ashman, Publishing Director at BMJ, who discussed the future for publishing medical journals. As in the 1920s when the PMJ was launched, medical journals continue to be used by established clinicians to keep up-to-date on clinical practice, by trainees for new learning, and by clinical and other researchers to find out about new and previous research and to describe and disseminate the results of their own research. Key new challenges for publishers, editors, authors and readers include matching the desire for with the need to fund Open Access to what has been published, and how to make the most of opportunities for innovation presented by new electronic media, both in established health care systems and in low resource settings.

Peter Ashman joined BMJ in 2007 and has strategic responsibility for The BMJ, BMJ Careers and BMJ’s specialty journal publishing programme, which has grown from 28 journals in 2007 to over 60 titles today. Much of BMJ’s growth has come from society publishing contracts and from Open Access journal launches including BMJ Open. Peter sits on BMJ’s Executive Committee. Prior to joining BMJ, Peter was Publishing Director at Nature Publishing Group and VP of Publishing at The Lancet in New York. Peter served 6 years on the Board of STM Association and is Chair of the body which represents the interests of scholarly society publishers – the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers alpsp.org.

Speakers on the day commented on what medicine was like in the 1920s, current progress in their field, and what is in prospect over the next 90 years.

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