We held a strategic review session for the Australian Journal of Rural Health (AJRH) at the premises of John Wiley and Son in Richmond, Melbourne, on Friday 4 March.
The review was probably overdue. In the last couple of years the business model for AJRH has been transformed. Under the re-newed publishing agreement between the NRHA and Wiley, individuals in all NRHA member bodies comprised of natural persons can get free online access to the AJRH.
Publication costs are now paid by the NRHA itself rather than by a small number of its 'natural person societies'. This almost certainly brings to an end the period during which the AJRH has been available both in hard copy and on-line.
This is a matter of considerable concern to the NRHA, not just where the AJRH is concerned but also in relation to other publications. We do not forget that people in many parts of the country still have poor or non-existent Internet access; and some people still simply prefer to read in hardcopy.
Other background issues to the strategic review included the fascinating development of a number of software aids for promoting, scrutinising and checking various metrics relating to the Journal. It was a privilege to hear our friends at Wiley talking about the AJRH App soon to be available and other facilities to help authors, readers and reviewers of the Journal, such as ORCID, Publons and Kudos for Researchers.
The review had the benefit of insights provided by four members of the Wiley staff and some specially invited guests, as well as those members of the editorial team able to be there. David Perkins, our Honorary Editor, was necessarily at the centre of some of the discussions and continued to demonstrate his commitment to the Journal, notwithstanding how busy he is in his day job and the arrival of a first grandchild!
The review session resulted in agreement on a number of actions steps to be taken in the next few months. One of the most rewarding will be to ensure that all eligible member bodies of the NRHA do what needs to be done to make online copies of the AJRH available to their individual members.