The Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery (JFMS), the official journal of the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), is set to make a significant step towards ISFM and the AAFP’s goal of empowering the veterinary community to provide outstanding care for cats, by becoming open access. This means that, from January 2023, all papers will be freely available to read online by everyone immediately upon publication, and will be published under a Creative Commons licence.
In becoming open access, JFMS joins its sister journal, the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery Open Reports, which is already a Gold Open Access journal.
Currently, the majority of JFMS articles are behind a paywall and only available to members of ISFM or the AAFP, or by subscription. Once JFMS becomes gold open access, however, the global veterinary community and beyond will have free access to the latest papers that aim to improve the veterinary care and welfare of domestic cats. In addition, the full JFMS archive, containing more than 2300 papers, will be made free to view.
Being able to provide high-quality peer-reviewed information to a much wider audience has been the driving force behind the move to make JFMS open access.
Heather O’Steen, CEO of the AAFP, states: “The AAFP is enthusiastic and eager for more veterinary professionals to receive access to the leading publication for feline scientific and veterinary research, helping to advance the standards of feline medicine worldwide.”
Claire Bessant, chief executive of International Cat Care, the parent charity of ISFM, comments: “It will be so wonderful to make this vast resource of information available to all veterinary professionals who see cats. Making JFMS open access will contribute hugely to International Cat Care’s mission of enabling more people to act in a cat-friendly way to improve cat welfare.
“We know that veterinary training in feline medicine and surgery is sometimes not a priority, yet cats are becoming more popular as pets worldwide and owners want good veterinary care for their pets. We are all continually learning about cats and being able to share JFMS more widely is very exciting.”
While there are changes to the way JFMS is published, the commitment to publish to exceptional standards remains unchanged. The same rigorous review process will be in place, and the AAFP and ISFM will continue to make a significant investment in maintaining a dedicated editorial team to ensure the highest possible quality of published papers.
The AAFP and ISFM will, in addition, continue to invest in the production of the popular and reader-friendly Clinical Review articles, which will also be published open access from 2023. These articles will form the basis of the AAFP and ISFM’s new monthly “Clinical Spotlight” feature, which will include resources exclusively for AAFP and ISFM members, such as podcasts, videos and/or interviews that take a deeper dive into the topic with the author.
The AAFP and ISFM are excited to also have other new resources for their members; for example, monthly emails that summarise the most clinically relevant and useful latest research for veterinarians who have limited time to keep up to date.
As is typical for open access journals, the cost of publication will no longer lie with the reader, but instead with the author. The AAFP, ISFM and JFMS’s publisher, SAGE, however, endeavour to set the article processing charge (APC – the fee paid on acceptance of an article) at a rate that remains competitive, and additionally, for the 12 months after the introduction of the APC on 4 July 2022, there will be a discounted rate of US$900. Following this, there will be discounts for AAFP and ISFM members on the full APC of US$1800.
The move to being gold open access is a pivotal moment in the development of JFMS, and the journal is set to be more widely read and better used than ever before. The welfare of cats can only benefit from this evolution.
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