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Editorial Independence in the Electronic Age: New Threats, Old Owners?

Author(s): John Hoey

Journal: Mens Sana Monographs
ISSN 0973-1229

Volume: 6;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 226;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Editorial Independence | Editorial Freedom | Editorial Integrity | Journal Profitability | Conflict of Interest | Electronic Publication | Pharmaceutical Advertising

Editorial independence is crucial for the intellectual life of a scientific journal.A journal exists only as an idea created by authors and readers, with some editorial orchestration. Editorial independence can be compromised by pressure put on editors by their owners-whether commercial publishers or professional organizations. Both types of owners rely heavily on income from paid advertising in their print journals. Yet, the massive expansion of journal readership that has resulted due to the development of the Web has effected a marked shift in the readership of the journal, both geographically and intellectually, producing a new community of users who see only electronic versions of the journal. Commercial pressures on owners to satisfy the interests of the (mainly national and professional) print readership conflict with the editorial independence needed to respond to the vast Web constituency. This is a major source for compromise of editorial independence. Reduction of commercial pressures by transferring editorial costs to authors and by other cost-reducing models are discussed in this article.

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