Psychiatric journals have been in existence for almost as long as general medical publications have been available. The world of publishing has been transformed in the past 15 years as a result of open access - the availability of full text papers online free to view by the reader. A number of open access journals are now available online and these challenge the traditional subscription only approach to publishing. Open access is supported by large funding bodies in Europe and the US. Yet there are concerns that the new approach will lower standards as the payment for publication model might be perceived as creating a conflict of interest between the author and the reviewer or publisher. There is confusion about indexing and in particular the relationship to the impact factor. This metric is the most commonly used to measure journal impact but other are available to evaluate the impact of an individual author or group of authors or the impact of a single paper. Newer metrics take account of mention on social and traditional media. In recent years the submission process has been streamlined with the increasing use of automated systems. Despite these major changes in the approach of journals, the role of the editor and the editorial board remains unchanged. It is they who decide on the philosophy and direction of the journal. Peer reviewing is the hallmark of a quality journal and although this too has its critics, it cannot be dispensed with. It too has changed over time and some journals publish the peer reviews along with the accepted paper. The training of peer reviewers is an important step in ensuring high standards. Psychiatric journals should not lose sight of their purpose - to educate their readers, to stimulate debate and to advocate for our patients.
Keywords: Open access, indexing, repository, metrics, editor, editorial board, peer reviewing.