Why Aren’t All Journals Open Access?

Many will say this is a stupid question. Of course they can’t be open access because the journal needs to make money to exist. But think about this: what is the point of a published medical journal article?

Isn’t knowledge dissemination the main point of a journal article? So why do we not have access to all journal articles?


How would journals continue to exist without subscriptions and advertising dollars? The model for most open access journals is that the authors pay for their article to be published. That is a viable option. Another option is that journals could develop special content that would still attract subscribers and not be open access. For example, JAMA has great content about the clinical examination and how to read research articles. Journals could develop apps for practice based application of material. Etc. Etc.

What about advertisers? Why would they continue to take out ads. Think about open access. Even more people would see the ads. As part of the “right” to download an article a little advertising banner is printed on the article somewhere. Thus, advertiser exposure is increased even more.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers but it seems that medical knowledge should be in the hands of those that need it, when they need it. The most important information gets published in the most restrictive journals. I think its time for the development of a creative way to fund open access to all journals.

What do you think? What are your solutions?