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BMJ Open launches with innovative new features

25 Feb, 11 | by BMJ

This week saw the launch of BMJ Open, a new online journal from the BMJ Group. BMJ Open is fully open access and exists to publish research from across all medical disciplines. It offers authors the option to have their work peer reviewed thoroughly for appropriate methods and transparent reporting, but without judgement being applied about novelty or importance. If after peer review the article is deemed worthy of publication, it will be published and deposited in PubMed Central.

The open access is supported by levying an article processing charge (APC) of £1200 for any accepted article (although discounts and waivers are available).

Innovative features

Among BMJ Open’s firsts for BMJ Group journals is use of the Disqus commenting and rating system, as explained in a previous post. As of April we will be publishing article-level metrics to show article usage.

The journal is also the first in the group to publish reviewers’ comments for accepted articles. Reviewers’ comments and the previous versions of the article that those comments apply to are published alongside the final copy-edited and typeset HTML and PDF versions. This gives credit to reviewers, many of whom play a considerable role in improving papers, as well as providing a more transparent publication process.

Data sharing

How to store and share raw data is one of the hottest topics in publishing at the moment. We are currently working with data curation and publication experts to provide authors with a simple and efficient way of storing their data and linking to it from their article. In particular we are working with the Dryad UK project, part of the UK JISC’s Managing Research Data programme. Watch this space for further developments.

Sharing raw data helps bring the complete research record in to the open. Another way of doing this is through publication of research protocols. We encourage authors to submit their original research protocol with their article, but we will also be publishing protocols themselves, and two were published this week. We will also consider ‘pre-protocols’; innovative study designs yet to receive funding/approval.

To encourage this joined-up approach, authors can publish ‘two articles for the price of one’, by receiving a 50% discount on the APC when the protocol is published and a further 50% discount if they publish the resulting research in BMJ Open.

More information

Trish Groves, editor-in-chief of BMJ Open and deputy editor of the BMJ, explains more about the aims and scope of the journal and its place in the BMJ Group’s open access offerings here; the journal’s first published papers are here and you can submit here.

Naturally the journal has a presence in the blogosphere, on Twitter and on Facebook, so you can let us know what you think, comment on articles and spread the word about the journal or papers that catch your eye.

BMJ blog becomes fully open access

28 Jan, 11 | by BMJ

From the end of last year, BMJ blogs became fully open access using the creative commons license. They have always been free to access, and it is likely that most of our readers will not immediately notice any change, but there is a subtle difference.

The term “open access” implies much more than just “free”. According to the Wellcome Trust, articles to be listed as open access must be freely available immediately, and publishers must also allow for their free reuse. This means that articles can be copied, distributed, displayed, performed and modified into derivative works by any user.

So although readers have always been able to freely access our blogs, they can now reuse our blog content, as long as they credit the original BMJ blog in any derivative works they produce. It is also useful for our blog authors who can now post their own blogs elsewhere, for example on their institutional websites.

The hope is that this will increase the readership of our blogs, as they are highlighted elsewhere and bought to the attention of more people. It is also in keeping with the “social” aspect of blogging. We have found that using Twitter and Facebook to promote our blogs has had a huge impact on traffic to the site. Users like to share links and comment on blogs, and this encourages others to take a look at the site as well.

It is also fits in with the BMJ publishing model, as all our research articles are formally open access.

Have a look at the various BMJ blogs at

N.B. Please note that this change does not apply to the BMJ Journal blogs or those that do not contain the creative commons logo.

by Juliet Dobson, Assistant web editor and blogs editor for

New Facebook fan pages for all journals

5 Nov, 10 | by BMJ

We’re pleased to announce that individual Facebook fan pages are now live for all our specialist journals. Click on the links below and become a fan of your favourite journal! Please scroll down the page for more information on the functionality and value that these pages offer.

What are Facebook fan pages?

In their own words, “Facebook created Pages when we noticed that people were trying to connect with brands and famous artists in ways that didn’t quite work on Facebook…Not only can you connect with your favourite artists and businesses, but now you also can show your friends what you care about and recommend by adding Pages to your personal profile.”

When a user becomes a fan of a particular brand, publication, film, or person, updates from that page will appear in their ‘News Feed’ and may be shared with their friends. It’s possible to see which pages a user is following via the ‘Info’ tab on their profile.

What are the value of these pages?

Facebook Pages can be thought of in much the same way as normal profiles on the site – they have the ability to have friends, add pictures, and contain walls that fans can post on. Pages communicate by ‘updates’ which show on the update tab or a person’s wall if they’re a fan and have allowed the page to show updates. Other key features for businesses include:

  • Pages don’t list the names of administrators, and are thought of as a person, almost like a corporate entity is considered a ‘person’ under the law.
  • Pages are indexed by external search engines such as Google, just like a public profile.
  • Pages can create content that comes from the Page itself, so that content doesn’t have to be linked to a particular person’s account.
  • Page admins can send updates to fans through the Page, and these updates will appear in the ‘Updates’ section of fans’ inboxes. There is no limit on how many fans you may send an update to, or how many total fans a Page can have.

Widgets Galore

12 May, 10 | by BMJ

Welcome to the first post of the new BMJ Journals Web Development blog. This is the place to stay up-to-date with the goings-on of the journal websites and get to grips with our latest innovations.

The last few weeks have seen the implementation of two new widgets across our specialist journals. You may be wondering what on earth a widget is. Fear not, it’s likely that you’ve already seen widgets, and recognise them, even if you don’t know them by name. Ever seen a quiz or a game on a friend’s Facebook wall? A countdown to an event on a co-workers blog? These are all products of widget technology; simple and useful applications that can be embedded on a webpage, blog or social media profile.

Widgets are used at the bottom of our homepages to display the latest articles from each journal’s Online First, Current Issue and Most Frequently Read RSS feeds. If a journal has its own blog or podcasts, widgets are used to pull updates directly onto that journal’s homepage. They help to keep our sites looking fresh and up-to-date with minimal editorial input.

Most of the specialist websites now contain a doc2doc widget at the bottom of their homepage, which contains the latest discussions from the doc2doc online community and a BMJ Case Reports widget, which displays the latest Case Reports published in the BMJ Case Reports journal. Please feel free to share your thoughts on our use of widgets by leaving comments below.

Next week: Twitter accounts for every journal…

BMJ Journals Development blog homepage

BMJ Web Development Blog

Keep abreast of the technological developments being implemented on the BMJ journal websites.

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