In this contribution we illustrate some of the quality aspects, as well as a number of organizational and management issues, in relation to the publication of a niche medical journal that since 2000 offers free online access to peer-reviewed articles in the field of Pancreatology.
The journal that today is considered among the three most important international journals in the field, has gained in time a more and more innovative profile through initiatives that, for some aspects, are in countertendency to the normal editorial practice. An example of that is the fact that JOP encourages its authors to publish scientific contributions that concern negative research results. Furthermore the editorial board is engaged in a campaign aimed at convincing author to make their research data available. This grants a greater transparency and enables scientists to check and validate the findings of original authors. Initiatives like virtual round tables and the inclusion of multimedia materials for diagnostic evaluation, comments and discussion among readers, contribute to add value to the journal.
In the course of time JOP has reached such a dimension that from an editorial and publishing point of view the workload required for its management is at risk to become no more sustainable. This is due to the fact that there isn’t a true staff of people dedicated to the editorial tasks and those involved are volunteers who do not gain any profit from this activity and who have another main job. All costs involved in the actual publication of the journal have always been covered by contributions from companies in the pharmaceutical and biomedical industry, with a minor contribution coming from one academic Institution. As a matter of fact, funding through sponsorships are decreasing and more occasional than in the past. In this scenario it is clearly emerging the necessity to identify a more sustainable business model that will guarantee the continuation in time of this experience that has proven so positive so far.