The Council of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons has recently made the decision to move the ANZ Journal of Surgery to a digital-only publication format from 2022. This is consistent with the College’s long-term environmental sustainability strategy. The Journal is published 10 times a year, with an extra supplement in May which contains all the abstracts of research presentations delivered at the Annual Scientific Congress. Going digital will save the printing of 16 million pages and the shipping of 85 thousand copies, each wrapped in a plastic bag, from the printers in Singapore.

Most readers already access the Journal’s content online. Only four copies of the Journal are printed for readers other than College fellows, trainees and specialist international medical graduates. With over 360 thousand article downloads annually, readership of the online publication is already well established and the online Journal, both in HTML and PDF formats, is undergoing constant refinement and improvement on the Wiley Online Library platform. Multiple sharing options make it easy for fellows, trainees and specialist international medical graduates to share articles with colleagues and researchers, even if they do not have subscription access. Simple access and electronically delivered table of contents (eTOC) alerts ensure that updates will not be missed.

A wholly digital publication will mean the Journal becomes more agile. Article publication will become more efficient such that surgical research will be published more quickly, read faster on any device and have a potential impact on practice sooner. Video clips, photo galleries and sound bites, previously impossible in the print version, can easily be included. The overall cost of publishing and distributing each issue will be significantly reduced and the number of actual pages will increase. Future improvements will occur such as in more streamlined submission, proofing and publication systems, a process of continuous rather than per issue publication, integration with pre-print services and authoring tools and many others.

Further details regarding the logistics of the digital transition will be communicated to all College stakeholders in due course and well in advance of the 2022 commencement. 

Julian A. Smith, MBMS, MSurgEd, FRACS
Department of Surgery, Monash University, Victoria, Australia

Lawrence P. Malisano, MBBS, FAOrthA, FRACS, FAICD
Royal Australasian College of Surgeons