Medical Editors taking keen interest in improving quality and standard of their Journals


 Training Course for Medical Editors at SZABMU-PIMS Islamabad

Medical Editors taking keen interest in
improving quality and standard of their Journals

Editors urged to ask for contract appointments from owners stating
Rights and Responsibilities, Editorial Freedom and requisite funding

ISLAMABAD: There are over one hundred fifty biomedical journals published from Pakistan but only three medical journals have got Impact Factor and they are covered by PubMed or PubMed Central while the other journals are still struggling to improve their standard. Publishing a good quality peer reviewed medical journal from developing countries including Pakistan is not financially viable and the editors are faced with numerous problems. Pakistan Association of Medical Editors (PAME) ever since its inception has been trying to help the Editors overcome some of their problems finding a solution besides improving their professional capabilities by organizing Workshops and Training Courses from time to time. It was in this context that PAME in collaboration with Eastern Mediterranean Association of Medical Editors (EMAME) organized a training course for Medical Editors at Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University (SZABMU) Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) on October 15th 2016. Prof. Javed Akram Vice Chancellor of SZABMU extended all the help and assistance for this academic activity.

Pakistan Association of Medical Editors in collaboration with EMAME and SZABMU organized a
Training Course for Medical Editors at PIMS on Oct. 15th. Photograph taken on the occasion shows
the course participants along with Dr. Iqbal Memon Administrator of PIMS (Chief Guest)
and Facilitator Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid.

Dr.S.H.Waqar Editor Annals of PIMS Islamabad was the chief co-ordinator for this course while Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid Chief Editor Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences who is also Secretary of EMAME was the main facilitator. Former  President of PAME Dr. Akhtar Sherin and Dr. M. Ayub another senior editor also made useful contributions during the discussion. Eighteen Medical Editors from Rawalpindi-Islamabad, Azad Kashmir, Abbottabad and Kohat got registered for the course while there were five observers. Administrator PIMS Dr. Iqbal Memon was the chief guest in the inaugural session which was chaired by Maj.Gen. Salman Ali former Principal of Army Medical College and Councilor of CPSP who is also affiliated with Journal of College of Physicians & Surgeons Pakistan while Prof.Nasir Khokhar President PAME chaired the concluding session and also distributed certificates among the participants.

.Speaking in the inaugural session Dr. Iqbal Memon Administrator of PIMS commended efforts of PAME in organizing this training course. He was of the view that students should be involved in research and medical writing from the very beginning and all departments should get together in improving quality and standard of the journals. Funding and financial constraints also needs to be resolved and efforts will be made to help the journals to overcome some of their difficulties. He supported the suggestion to have a few journals with good quality.

Prof. Tanveer Khalid Chief Editor of Annals of PIMS in his speech said that Vice Chancellor of SZABMU is very keen to promote research culture and medical writing and has always supported such activities. He suggested that instead of having too many journals, we need to combine different journals in different specialties i.e having one journal in surgery and similarly in other specialties, disciplines and improving their quality and standard so that they have good Impact Factor rather than every medical college and university having its own medical journal. Journal of PIMS was started in 1991 and now it has been made quarterly.

Dr. S.H.Waqar welcoming the participants of the Training Course for Medical Editors at PIMS on
October 15, 2016. Siting in the Centre from (L to R) are Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid Course Facilitator,
Dr. Iqbal Memon Administrator PIMS who was the chief guest and
Maj. Gen. Salman Ali who chaired the inaugural session.

To begin with some of the editors made brief presentations regarding their medical journals and some of the problems which they highlighted included lack of funding, difficulties in getting recognition from PM&DC, Higher Education Commission and international Indexes including Medline and Thompson Reuters  of USA i.e. Science Citation Index Expanded known for its Impact Factor. Until these journals get PM&DC recognition, the authors are reluctant to submit their manuscripts to these journals. They face financial difficulties, Lack of editorial freedom, training, problems in finding good quality reviewers. Poor quality of manuscripts which we get, they further stated, was yet another important issue

Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid in his presentations laid emphasis on finding cost effective solutions to our problems. He further suggested to the editors to first look into basics, put them right, and ensure uniformity and standardization in abstract, format, references besides ensuring timely publication. They must establish data bases inviting local, national, regional and international medical personalities to join their Reviewers Database.  Be careful while selecting Members of the Editorial Board, instead of going for medical heavy weights who most often remain show pieces, induct young, energetic, competent people who are keen and also have time for such academic activity. They are most often more productive and helpful. Ensure transparency as regards processing of manuscripts, peer review, processing and publication charges. He also talked about different species of Medical Editors and emphasized upon the Editors to be sympathetic, helpful to the authors and encourage the researchers. They must be mindful of their Rights as well as Responsibilities and Duties, know their Rights and protect Editorial Independence. He further suggested that the Editors of journals being published by various medical institutions, universities, and professional specialty organizations should ask for contract appointments clearing stating their Rights and Responsibilities, giving them editorial freedom to choose the contents of their journals, hire and fire the editorial staff, solicit manuscripts so that they can endeavour to improve the standard of their journals.

On extreme right Prof. Akhtar Sherin past President PAME along with Prof.Nasir Khokhar
President PAME chairing the concluding session of the Training Course for Medical Editors
organized by PAME in collaboration with EMAME and SZABMU. On left Prof.Nasir Khokhar
is presenting certificates among the participants.

Editors were also encouraged to identify their problems, come up with short and long term plans to overcome these problems and find a solution. PAME, he said will try to help them. We have been trying to contact PM&DC and HEC and are willing to help these regulatory bodies in helping improve the standard of journals. Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid opined that instead of providing financial grant to journals, the HEC should provide services, training facilities, software for checking plagiarism and facilities for preparing XML files for submission to PubMed Central. He also shared with the course participants some of the Tips and Tricks of Trade how to attract more good quality manuscripts, grow and retain good reviewers, use their Rights effectively and when their resources permit go for automation start using Open Journal System which will go a long way in improving their efficiency. Editors were also advised to do their annual audit which will help them in identifying their weaknesses and strength and thus plan for the future. Dr. M.Ayub former Editor of Journal of Ayub Medical College and presently Editor of Pakistan Journal of Physiology, Kashmir Medical Journal and Prof. Akhtar Sherin former President PAME, Editor of Khyber University Medical Journal also talked about his contacts with PM&DC and HEC and said that PAME offers its expertise to both these regulatory bodies without any obligation if they were serious to help Pakistani Medical Journals improve their standard. The course participants appreciated   this initiative of PAME and hoped that such activities will be organized in future as well.  At the end of the course participants and President PAME commended the efforts of Dr. S. H.Waqar for organizing this training course. It was indeed very encouraging to see active participation by the course participants during the discussion who came up with their problems and sought advice for their solution. It may be mentioned here that this was the third academic activity by PAME at PIMS. Earlier a Hands on Workshop on Peer Review was organized by Prof. Khaliq-uz-Zaman while a training course for Editors was organized by Dr.S.H.Waqar.

Prof. Nasir Khokhar President PAME presenting certificates among the participants of the 
Training Course for Medical Editors organized by PAME in collaboration with EMAME 
and SZABMU at PIMS on October 15th 2016.

Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid dedicated this training course to late Dr. Maqbool H. Jafary the founder Chief Editor of Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences and President of EMAME. He also paid rich tributes to Dr. Maqbool H.Jafary for his efforts to promote the art of medical writing and science of scientific publishing not only in Pakistan but in the whole EMRO Region.

List of Participants

1. Maj Gen (R) Salman Ali

2. Brig (R) Rizwan Hashim

3. Dr Khalid Siddiqi

4. Prof Anwar ul Haq

5. Prof Lubna Naseem

6. Dr Fatima Kaleem

7. Prof Nosheen Zaidi

8. Prof Haroon Shahid Qazi

9. Prof Syeda Batool Mazhar

10. Dr Naghmi Asif

11. Prof Mazhar Malik

12. Prof Col Dr Alamgir Khan

13. Dr Ramesh Kumar

14. Dr Muhammad Ayub

15. Mr Muhammad Ajmal

16. Prof Ashok Kumar

17. Prof Shahid Mahmood

18. Prof Akhtar Sherin

19. Dr S.H. Waqar

20. Prof Tanvir Khaliq

21. Prof Nasir Khokar