This is a review of the medical publisher JMIR Publications, based in Toronto. It bills itself as “The Leading eHealth Publisher,” a claim I find dubious. There’s a lot of other fishy stuff about this publisher as well.
JMIR publishes sixteen open-access medical journals, most of them broad in scope, a strategy designed to optimize revenue by making most health sciences articles fall into the coverage of at least one of the journals.
The publisher’s claim to fame — and marketing gimmick — is that its flagship journal is the Journal of Medical Internet Research, one of the original open-access journals, launched in 1998. The force is with them.
Here are some of the weaknesses I’ve observed with this publisher
- Some of the journals don’t have their own editorial boards. For example, if you look for the editorial board for JMIR Cancer, a notice says, “The Editorial Team of this journal currently consists of JMIR Editorial Board members.”
- The publisher appears to be in a belabored process of re-organizing and expanding, aiming to maximize profits. For example, one of the journals says,
Published by JMIR Publications, publisher of JMIR, the leading eHealth/mHealth journal (Impact Factor 2011: 4.4), i-JMR has a broader scope and features a rapid and thorough peer-review process, professional copyediting, professional production of PDF, XHTML, and XML proofs (ready for deposit in PubMed Central), and an ipad App (in prep.).
The fact that the publisher is currently reporting a three-year-old impact factor is further evidence of its amateurish organization.
- Like many predatory journals, some (or all) of the JMIR journals offer a fast-track peer review for an additional fee:
There is an optional fast-track fee of US$450 if the author requires a decision within 3 weeks. Since 2015, as the journal is now PubMed-indexed, there is an Article Processing Fee of US$1500 payable only in case of acceptance, to cover copyediting and publishing costs.
This is evidence that as open-access journals get added to prestigious indexes and databases, their author fees increase, further burdening authors, universities, and funders.
The publisher, Gunther Eysenbach, serves on most or all of the editorial boards. The website is hard to navigate and poorly organized.
It’s telling that one of the original open-access journals has morphed into just another profit-seeking medical publisher, one that is expanding by publishing a growing number of journals, organizing conferences and offering services such as fast-track review.
Large open-access publishers like JMIR Publications may be evolving into the type of publisher the open-access movement was organized to take down.
Is JMIR Publications the future of medical publishing? Is it a model for the future?
Appendix: List of JMIR Publications journals as of 2015-12-16
- Interactive Journal of Medical Research
- JMIR Bioinformatics and Biotechnology
- JMIR Cancer
- JMIR Human Factors
- JMIR Medical Education
- JMIR Medical Informatics
- JMIR Mental Health
- JMIR mHealth & uHealth (mobile and ubiquitous health)
- JMIR Preprints
- JMIR Public Health
- JMIR Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies
- JMIR Research Protocols
- JMIR Serious Games
- Journal of Medical Internet Research
- Medicine 2.0