When Arthritis Research was launched in 1999 the publishers and ourselves took the innovative decision to make all primary research articles available to everyone for free through the journal's own website http://arthritis-research.com as well as through PubMed Central http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/, the National Institute of Health's repository for biomedical research articles, and through the BioMed Central (BMC) website http://biomedcentral.com. We now feel that it is time to lead the way forward again by only publishing research articles in full online beginning with volume 4 number 4 of Arthritis Research.
Because research articles in Arthritis Research have always been free access, and because the main medium of publication of the journal has always been the Internet (the website provides the complete contents of the journal while the print edition contains selected items), very many more people already see the articles on the web than in print. Few, we expect, will mourn the fact that only the abstract (and a key illustration) of each paper will appear in print. We believe that online publishing of research articles will become the norm and see this as an ideal opportunity to develop Arthritis Research even further.