Psychiatric Annals

Editorial Free

Publishing Evolves, and So Must Publications

Andrew A. Nierenberg, MD

A quick scan of the Internet tells me that the first US Medical Journal was The Medical Repository, published in 1797. While Psychiatric Annals hasn't been around for quite as long, we have enjoyed our own storied success of providing readers with valuable CME credits (and now peer review!) for almost half a century.

Business models for journals typically rest on advertising, institutional subscriptions, and individual subscriptions. Some journals that depend on advertising have a firewall between content and ads, so there is no appearance of any potential conflicts of interest. Institutional subscriptions (academic medical centers, universities, libraries, and hospitals) pay for access for their members. An individual can also pay for a single subscription to receive paper copies and/or digital access.

Psychiatric Annals has used an advertising model for more than 48 years with controlled circulation, which made the print journal free to most of its 38,000 individual readers. However, in recent years, advertising support for journals across the scholarly publishing landscape has decreased, and as a result, with this issue, Psychiatric Annals will become a subscription-model publication for all. While the move will undoubtedly be startling to some long-time users, the evolution marks a financially sound way for us to continue to deliver robust content that is relevant to the field and to our readers.

I have long felt ambivalent about advertising, especially from pharmaceutical or device companies. On the positive side, advertising can provide needed information and attention to new products for clinicians. On the negative side, the ultimate purpose of advertising is to persuade and influence clinicians who are susceptible to advertisers' siren song to prescribe more of the advertisers' products. While the content of Psychiatric Annals has always maintained its emphatic independence from advertisers, becoming a paid product for all allows our editorial team to take this tenuous relationship out of the equation. It allows us to renew our focus on giving readers the valuable information they need most.

For a limited time, in appreciation of our controlled circulation's many decades of readership, individual subscribers will have the opportunity to earn unlimited free Psychiatric Annals' CME credits while they are actively subscribed. Whereas our publisher previously charged for CME credits, now individual paid subscribers will be able to access this valuable content free whenever they desire, from the comfort of their desktops, tablets, phones, even in print. I am highly optimistic about moving from controlled circulation to a fee-based journal with free CME; we have brought high value content to the mental health community for decades and we will continue to do so for decades to come.

As we evolve, we thank you for your support. We value your feedback and your continued readership.


Andrew A. Nierenberg, MD

Andrew A. Nierenberg, MD, is the Thomas P. Hackett, MD, Endowed Chair in Psychiatry, the Director, Bipolar Clinic and Research Program, and the Director, Training and Education, MGH Research Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital; and a Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School.

Address correspondence to Andrew A. Nierenberg, MD, via email:


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