The Council of the College and the Board of Trustees have supported the proposal to move to a model where members ‘opt in’ to receiving print copies of all College journals from January 2023.
Currently RCPsych Members receive a print copy of British Journal of Psychiatry (BJPsych), BJPsych Bulletin, and the BJPsych International by default unless they choose to opt-out of receiving one, two or all three journals. Approximately 320,000 printed copies of the journals are distributed to College members every year.
The current opt-out system means that unwanted print copies are being produced and distributed. Moving to an ‘opt-in to print’ system ensures only those wanting print copies will get them.
The change also includes the requirement for members to tell the college each year of their membership if they want to continue receiving any print copies, to encourage ongoing review of their reading preferences.
There are two main drivers for moving to an opt-in model:
Publishing is going through a significant change, and, crudely, there is a shift from a reader-pay to an author-pay business model across the industry. This transition means there is a period of uncertainty for financial forecasting and income streams for many professional journals. By reducing the number of print-copies we send out can help manage and mitigate these uncertainties.
Environment and Sustainability
In 2019, the carbon footprint of printing and distributing the college journals was estimated to be 614 metric tons of CO2 (607 from the paper involved and an additional 7 created by surface and air distribution). Despite creating the option of members to opt-out of print copies in 2020, this has only resulted in just over a 10% reduction of carbon footprint.
Another consideration was the results of a membership survey in 2018 and the wider membership survey in 2020 showing that some members were receiving print copies of journals they did not want but had not taken the opportunity to opt-out of receiving their print copies and some members indicating their preference for reading the journals online.
We are aware that we do not want to diminish the value of the journals as part of the membership package. As part of these changes, BJPsych Advances in print is now available to members at no extra cost (print currently available via an additional £80 subscription). Moreover, electronic engagement with journal content creates new opportunities and membership benefits. By moving to opt-in, we are asking members to think about how they best engage with and absorb the valuable content within the journals and apply it to clinical practice.
We also want to make sure that those members choosing not to opt-in have an excellent digital alternative and we plan to achieve this by delivering an app for the College journals in July 2023.
One of the main objectives of the app would be to achieve a high-quality look and feel that replicates the browsing experience members get from a print copy.
Summary of changes to the member journals package:
Current journal package
Online access to the whole portfolio is included in membership and that is not changing.
Currently, in addition to electronic access to BJPsych Advances and BJPsych Open, members and associates receive a print copy of The British Journal of Psychiatry, BJPsych Bulletin and BJPsych International automatically unless you tell the College that you prefer not to receive the print version. You are able to subscribe separately to a print copy of BJPsych Advances for an additional cost of £80.
New journal package
From January 2023, you will only receive print copies of the journals if you tell the College this is your preference. You will be able to 'opt in' to receive up to two journals in print, but you can choose from The British Journal of Psychiatry, BJPsych Bulletin, BJPsych International and BJPsych Advances. If you would like to receive more than the two copies included in your membership, then that option is available for an additional charge of £50 per journal per year via Cambridge University Press, our publishing partner.
Online access to the whole portfolio remains included in your membership.
In addition to the above changes, you are now eligible for a member discount to the publication charges for BJPsych Open.
Other grades of membership
The changes above apply to RCPsych Members, Fellows, Specialist Associates, Affiliates and International Associates.
Pre-Membership Psychiatric Trainees (PMPTs) continue to have online access to all the College journals included in their membership and printed copies are now available via Cambridge University Press for £50 per journal per year. If PMPTs wish to subscribe to print copies, they can contact the Customer Services team via telephone: +44 1223 326070 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Student Associates and Foundation Doctor Associates continue to have online access to all College Journals included in their membership.