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Reflections: 60 Years of Medicine Today

Kim Oates, Peter A. Castaldi, Audra Barclay, JUDY PASSLOW
OPEN ACCESS

Whatever happened to Modern Medicine?

Good question...how can Medicine Today be 60 years old and only at volume 18? Our more mature readers may remember our earlier incarnation as Modern Medicine of Australia, but the younger generation may never have heard of it.

Modern Medicine was born in the USA in 1933 and licensed around the world. The first Australian edition was published in September 1957 and the last in December 1999. The new millennium saw a new name and a fresh look as Medicine Today, Volume 1, Number 1, January 2000. But the Australian publishers did not give up the original name and volume number lightly.

For years they tried to negotiate with the US owners of the Modern Medicine trade mark. The associated royalty had reached crippling levels, while the US owners no longer offered any support or original content. Indeed, the other international editions of Modern Medicine relied on the Australian edition for content, yet all paid the same royalty to the US. Modern Medicine of Australia was paying a royalty for producing its own Australian content, and also being deprived of income for sharing its content with international editions. The US owners refused to negotiate.

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By 1999, change was essential to survival. Under legal advice, Medicine Today was launched as a totally new publication with its own ISSN library number and volume; hence, Volume 1, Number 1. Within three months the US owners realised the consequences. Belatedly they offered the Modern Medicine trademark at a fire sale price, and it was snapped up, securing it in Australia. Thus occurred the demise of Modern Medicine and the genesis of Medicine Today. It was a shame for the proud name Modern Medicine, but the publishers consoled themselves that the journal’s survival was assured and that Medicine Today was a more modern name for the new millennium.

What do you think?

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