Abstract: We launched a new institutional open access journal, the Journal of Maine Medical Center (JMMC), in 2018. We sought to engender community support and engagement through purposeful design and implementation. An ad hoc group was formed of institutional members with diverse backgrounds. Editorial Board and Editorial Team members were drawn from within the academic community. The journal name, aims and scope, recognizable logo, cover page and images were all strategically selected in order to engender institutional and community support. Institutional funding was solicited to support an open-access, no-fee, model. We adopted a philosophy of supporting novice authors with revisions of manuscripts that show merit, as opposed to immediate rejection. We assessed success of community engagement through semi-structured interviews of authors and reviewers and qualitative analysis of the transcripts. As evidenced by their perceptions, we have made positive steps toward supporting the academic mission of our institution and the scholarly professional identity of our participants. We outline a number of elements that are relevant to the start of a new academic journal and community engagement that we feel would be of interest to others considering a similar undertaking.