ISC wishes to have a branch in every Muslim country-Prof. Jafar Mehrad

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 Whole Muslim World should be proud of ISC 

ISC wishes to have a branch in every
Muslim country - Prof. Jafar Mehrad

Capacity building of Editors through training workshops,
financial assistance to sponsor research studies also planned

SHIRAZ (IRAN): An Executive Committee meeting of Islamic World Science Citation (ISC) was held on Day-2 during the Second International conference of Chief Editors and Representatives from Muslim World organized by ISC held here from December 1-2nd 2014. It was presided over by Prof. Jafar Mehrad President of ISC. In his introductory remarks Prof. Mehrad emphasized the importance of improved cooperation with ISC. This, he opined, does not require much work or funds. He asked all the EC members to think about ISC in their home country and introduce ISC. We will help you to come and visit Shiraz and ISC Center. We are planning to go to Turkey and other Muslim countries for similar meetings. We have divided Muslim countries in different regions. Malaysia has a representation in ISC; Pakistan can represent Middle East except Arab countries. We can have representation from Central Asia, Iraq and Syria can represent Middle East while Lebanon can represent Africa. We should provide a network for ISC Executive Committee members, he added.

The most important function of the Executive Committee members, Prof. Mehrad said, was to think about ISC and work for its further development and strengthening it further. We wish to have a branch in each Muslim country. We hope to establish a branch in Pakistan as well. Prof. Mehrad also disclosed that they have recently started an MS programme in Scientometrics at Shiraz University and Executive Committee members can help find eligible students for this programme. We wish to have a Focal person in each Muslim country. Publication of a Journal of Scientometrics which can be published twice a year was also discussed.

 

An Executive Committee meeting of the ISC was held on December 2nd 2014 at ISC Campus in Shiraz.
Iran. Photograph taken on the occasion shows EC Members and others i.e. Dr. Anita from Malaysia,
Prof. Low, Dr. Nizar Al Hafez from Syria, Prof. Jafar Mehrad President ISC, Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid
from Pakistan, Dr. Falahati, Dr. Cem Sarac from Turkey, Mr. Khani from ISC and others.

Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid Chief Editor of Professional Medical Publications publishers of fortnightly medical newspaper Pulse International and an international peer reviewed biomedical Journal “Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences” said that he will contact the concerned authorities in Pakistan besides discussing this issue with University of Health Sciences at Lahore to set up an office of ISC in Pakistan. Another suggestion put forward during the discussion was of Discussion Group on ISC website. Prof. Jafar Mehrad said they will welcome research proposals from the Muslim countries researchers for financial assistance. ISC was also prepared to publish journals, books besides organizing training workshops for the Editors of Journals. Prof. Low from Malaysia also stressed the importance of capacity building workshops by training the editors.

Responding to a question from Dr. Anita who represented Malaysian Citation Center, Prof. Jafar Mehrad said that different countries can have their own Citations Centers if they wish but we can work in close collaboration. Replying to yet another question Prof. Mehrad pointed out that all functions in ISC were similar to ISI. We have close collaboration with ISI. We are using their JCR and all other products especially the same software’s. We wish to have close collaboration of different citations centers in different countries with ISC. The work being done in various countries is very useful. ISI is working in close collaboration with China and Korea and both these countries have developed their own Databases. They could not have done it at their own without the help and assistance of ISI, Prof. Mehrad remarked.

Earlier a number of important issues related to scientific publishing, peer review, databases and open access publishing besides functioning of ISC were discussed by various speakers during the scientific sessions. During the discussion Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid pointed out that too much importance was being given to Impact Factor which was just one of the criteria to judge the quality and standard of a journal. There are many other criteria’s and each one of them has its own value. Prof. Mehrad remarked that even while preparing the Journal Citation Report, different factors are taken into account for Ranking. I am a member of the Shiraz University of Medical Sciences which determines the promotion of faculty members and there too we take into account various criteria’s, he remarked. One of the participant opined that apart from the Impact Factor, the value and scope of research should also be looked into. Another participant suggested that while preparing ranking, the number of faculty members in a particular institution and the number of publications should also be compared. An institution having a very large faculty is likely to have more publications but if one work out number of publications per faculty members, it may be different. Hence it is essential that while looking at absolute statistical figures, relative statistics was also given due importance. It was also emphasized that contribution of the study should also get due importance after Impact Factor.

Dr. Alizadeh referred to some of the weaknesses of Impact Factor wherein all citations are treated equally while the journal which cites these published manuscripts was also important. Hence, it is essential that we look at new approaches to look at the standard of journals and determine ranking of various authors, institutions. Replying to a question, it was stated that ISC products are freely available which was different from the practice by ISI Reuter/Thompson. ISI, Dr. Reza Ghani said also uses different classifications and names i.e. Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4. Other participants suggested that we should hold training workshops for Peer Reviewers on regular basis.

Participating in the discussion, Dr. Falahati remarked that we are open to suggestions and constructive criticism. Prof. Mehrad remarked that many Non-Muslim countries like USA, UK, Poland, Germany, India, and France are interested to be covered by ISC. We have our own rules and regulations by Ministry of Science and Technology of Iran as regards Iranian Journals and the second is related to international journals. We are looking into these issues and hopefully it will be open to all journals. Responding to a question as to what was the motivation for these Non-Muslim countries to be covered in ISC, it was stated that this will ensure them more citations. All this will make ISC an international citation system and we will be glad and happy on this development. One of the participants asked about the criteria used to select the journals for ISC? Responding to this Prof. Mehrad said that we have an evaluation criteria. Initially we indexed 370 journals from other countries which were not eligible; hence they were later removed from the list.

Responding to another question from Prof. Low, Prof. Mehrad said that we are not rivals to the ISI or SCOPUS. In fact we have close collaboration with both these important databases. We enjoy working together. They do their job and we do our job. We have commitments to the Islamic countries. Preparing Citations System requires some time. During the last six years ever since the inception of ISC in 2008, we have made tremendous progress. The whole Muslim World should be proud of it. Each system has its own criteria. We are not publishing journals but we are processing the journals. ISI and SCOPUS have their own systems of indexing and we have our own. Answering another question as to why we say ISC is the Third in ranking as regards different databases, Dr. Falahati said that it is just based on the number of years they have been operating. ISI is the oldest followed by SCOPUS while ISC was established just six years ago. That is why we say it is the Third in Ranking, he remarked.

In his concluding remarks Prof. Jafar Mehrad President of ISC said that we are doing our best. Let us strengthen our ties in the field of Science and Technology in the Muslim countries. We must all pay attention to ISC and promote it. We need help and assistance of every one to promote and further strengthen this Database. Information available on the ISC can be used by everyone and we will be sharing the ISC products with all the countries, he remarked.

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