CMAJ editor terminated as medical journal faces revamp

by Paul Lucas02 Mar 2016
As it attempts to establish itself among the leading international research publications in the world, the Canadian Medical Association has announced it will be revamping its medical journal.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), an academic weekly, which is 105 years old, will undergo a “modernization” and “restructuring” after consultations with a task force. It consulted academics and researchers, as well as member physicians, in an effort to draw up a wish-list that could take the journal forward.

According to the CMA’s president, Cindy Forbes, change was necessary. Speaking to the Canadian Press, she commented that “we really felt we needed to be thinking further down the road and (about) what kind of things can we do to make sure it is a top academic journal in the future.”
So what changes have been implemented?

As the company decides to move in a different direction it has meant the departure of Dr John Fletcher – bringing to an end his eight years in the role of editor-in-chief. Meanwhile, Diane Kelsall, who had held the position of deputy editor, will step into the role on an interim basis as the organization makes an active search for a replacement.

Commenting on the moves, former president of the CMA Chris Simpson suggested that there is a strong need to ensure content is delivered in a timely manner and that the best researchers want to send their work to the journal rather than considering it as the place “you send your work to when every other journal has rejected it.”

The changes have been implemented amid a number of difficulties for the journal as it faces a drop in advertising revenue and different habits among its readers. There has been a decline in new studies featured in the journal too, primarily because of competition from a host of global medical journals, many of which are actually promoting themselves in Canada too.