Canadian Medical Association Journal
The Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) is a general medical journal
Medical journal
A public health journal is a scientific journal devoted to the field of public health, including epidemiology, biostatistics, and health care . Public health journals, like most scientific journals, are peer-reviewed...

 that is published biweekly by the Canadian Medical Association
Canadian Medical Association
The Canadian Medical Association , with more than 70,000 members, is the largest association of doctors in Canada and works to represent their interests nationally. It formed in 1867, three months after Confederation...

 (CMA). It covers research and ideas aimed at improving health for people in Canada and globally. CMAJ publishes original clinical research, analyses and reviews, news, practice updates, and editorials. The journal has a 2009 impact factor
Impact factor
The impact factor, often abbreviated IF, is a measure reflecting the average number of citations to articles published in science and social science journals. It is frequently used as a proxy for the relative importance of a journal within its field, with journals with higher impact factors deemed...

 of 7.5.

The editor-in-chief is Paul Hebert (Ottawa Health Research Institute
Ottawa Health Research Institute
The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute is a non-profit academic health research institute located in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa. The OHRI’s mission is to excel in research, education and innovative patient care. As of February 2006, the OHRI houses approximately 325 scientists and clinical...


Notable publications

The CMAJ published Banting and Best's 1922 report, "Pancreatic extracts in the treatment of diabetes mellitus".

Free access

CMAJ has the entire electronic version of the journal free online from date of publication. The historical archives since 1911 are also free online.

Public policy impact

CMAJ impacts public policy in Canada, recently in the case of Jordan's principle
Jordan's principle
Jordan's Principle is a child first principle to resolve jurisdictional disputes within, and between governments, regarding payment for government services provided to First Nations children...

. In a lead editorial which cited the example of a 5-year-old First Nations child Jordan River Anderson who died alone and away from his family while governments squabbled over who should pay for his care, the journal called on governments to put the medical needs of First Nations children first. In the wake of national media attention, in December 2007 Canada's Parliament unanimously adopted “Jordan's Principle,” a “child first” approach to resolving jurisdictional disputes involving the care of child.

Controversy about editorial independence

On February 20, 2006, John Hoey, the last long-standing editor, was fired over an editorial independence
Editorial independence
Editorial independence is the freedom of editors to make decisions without interference from the owners of a publication. Editorial independence is tested, for instance, if a newspaper runs articles that may be unpopular with its advertising clientele....

 dispute with the then owners of the CMAJ, CMA Media.

The CMAJ sent 13 women to buy the emergency contraceptive levonorgestrel (Plan B) over-the-counter in pharmacies across Canada, and report their experiences. The pharmacists asked them for personal data, including the woman's name, address, date of last menstrual period, when she had unprotected sex, customary method of birth control, and reason for dispensing the medication. This was at the recommendation of the Canadian Pharmacists Association, which also advised members to store the information permanently in their computers. The Canadian Women's Health Network said that collecting this information was unnecessary and a violation of privacy. The Canadian Pharmacists Association complained to the Canadian Medical Association, demanding that the names of the pharmacists be removed from the article. The Canadian Medical Association ordered the CMAJ to comply. The Canadian Medical Association then fired Hoey, without giving a reason.

On February 28, 2006, the acting-editor, Stephen Choi and editorial fellow Sally Murray, resigned from journal over the same reason leaving it without any full-time editorial staff, which raised questions about the future of the publication. In January 2007, Paul Hebert became editor-in-chief.

In April 2007, the former staff at CMAJ launched a new open-access journal, Open Medicine
Open Medicine
Open Medicine is a medical journal launched in April 2007. It was established by former editors from the Canadian Medical Association Journal. John Willinsky, international advocate for open-access, is the journal's publisher...



A prime mover behind establishment of the Canadian Medical Association Journal was Andrew Macphail
Andrew Macphail
John Andrew Macphail, Kt, MD, MRCS was a Canadian physician, author, professor of medicine, and soldier. "A prolific and versatile writer, Sir Andrew Macphail was one of the most influential Canadian intellectuals of his time."-Life and Work:Macphail was born in Orwell, Prince Edward Island, on...

, chair of the history of medicine at McGill University
McGill University
Mohammed Fathy is a public research university located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The university bears the name of James McGill, a prominent Montreal merchant from Glasgow, Scotland, whose bequest formed the beginning of the university...

and editor of the Montreal Medical Journal (MMJ). At the Canadian Medical Association's 1907 annual meeting held in Montreal, "Macphail argued that without a journal to express its views and record its proceedings the association would have little impact," and was successful in getting a clause urging the founding of a journal put into the CMA constitution. At the 1910 meeting an executive report was adopted urging immediate immediate steps to found a journal. Macphail was appointed the first editor.

The MMJ was acquired, and the Maritime Medical News agreed to suspend publication. The first issue of the new CMAJ was published in January 1911.

The CMAJ soon established itself. In 1913, for the first time, the journal showed a profit, which was sufficient to liquidate the previous deficit. Subscriptions had increased 60% over the 1911 level and were being purchased by 20% of Canadian doctors.
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