Thirty participants attend PAME-UHS Training course for Medical Journal Editors


 Thirty participants attend PAME-UHS
Training course for Medical Journal Editors

Editors should insist on written contract appointment,
know their Rights and Responsibilities

LAHORE: Pakistan Association of Medical Editors (PAME) in collaboration with University of Health Sciences organized a two day training course for Medical Journal Editors on March 4-5th2016 which was attended by thirty Editors and other physicians associated with different medical, dental, social sciences journals or those who plan to start their own journal.  The course was organized with the main objective to provide an opportunity to editors of journals published by medical and dental colleges affiliated with UHS and it attracted participants from Faisalabad, Rawalpindi-Islamabad, Sialkot, and Multan besides numerous medical institutions from Lahore as well as representatives from King Edward Medical University and Azra Naheed Medical College affiliated with Superior University Lahore.

Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid Chief Editor Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences who is also Secretary of Eastern Mediterranean Association of Medial Editors (EMAME) was the main facilitator besides Prof. Ijaz Hussain Editor of Journal of Pakistan Association of Dermatologists. All the participants who represented different journals actively participated in this interactive session which included multimedia presentations besides Work Book specially compiled and Edited for this purpose. During the presentation some basic  deficiencies in a number of biomedical journals were highlighted which included lack of uniformity in structured abstract, references, incorrect references, problems with lay out and designing. The participants were told that there are only two genuine Indexing services i.e Medline and Web of Sciences also known as Science Citation Index Expanded which is famous for awarding Impact Factor to the journals based on the number of citation.  PubMed and Medline or Index Medicus is the same while PubMed Central is not an index. The different between the two is that in Medline you only get abstract while PubMed Central provides full text of the articles. One can go on PubMed or Medline through PubMed Central by providing them the XML files for which software was not available in Pakistan. All others i.e. Google Scholar, Scopus, PubMed Central, EMBASE, CAB Abstracts, Pak Medinet etc., were databases and they cannot be called an Index.

Pakistan Association of Medical Editors (PAME) in collaboration with University of Health Sciences
organized a two day training course for Medical Journal Editors at UHS on March 4-5th 2016. Group
photograph taken on the occasion shows Prof. M. Aslam VC UHS and Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid Chief
Editor Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences and Secretary EMAME (Course Facilitator)
along with the course participants.

Chief Editor of the Journal is Capitan of the ship who must be prepared to meet all the challenges, select staff and must know how to take work of the staff members.  Emphasis was laid on forming a team and assigning them different tasks. It was also discussed how to organize a Peer Review system, ensure sustainability of the journal. The work book contained lot of useful information about journals environment, authorship, forming an Editorial team, Editor’s triage, Peer Review, Plagiarism and different software to check plagiarism. Other issues discussed and highlighted during the course included publication misconduct, ethical issues in publishing, fraudulent websites, predatory journals and predatory publishers, journal management policies, Impact Factor, different indexes. The participants were also informed of various useful sources for training of Editors like International Committee of Medical Journals Editors (ICMJE) and World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). The work book also included   copies of COPE Discussion Paper on How should editors respond to plagiarism, another COPE guidelines on Principles of Transparent and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing, Recommendations on Publication Ethics Policies for Medical Journals and Syllabus for Prospective and Newly appointed Editors.

Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid also asked the participants to ensure that they have a formal contract while they are appointed Editors by various institutions, specialty organizations which should specifically cover the duties, functions and priviliges of the Editors. In the past there have been numerous instances where the owners of the journal i.e. medical institutions or organizations had sacked their Editor without giving any notice which infringes the Editor’s autonomy. The Editors must know their Rights as well as their Duties and Responsibilities. Reviewers, it was further stated, act as Advisors to the Editor and they are not the deciders. The final authority to accept or reject the manuscript lies with the Editor as he or she is the one who is eventually responsible to ensure standards and maintain, protect integrity of the journal, he added.

At the end of the training course participants were asked to share their knowledge and experience and also give feedback. Most of the participants commended the initiative on the part of UHS to organize this training course.  In their written Feed Bank, one of the participants also felt that the names of the journals that were looked at in the survey to find out their deficiencies should not be mentioned. Some felt the course should have been of one day duration.  Apart from the positive feedback and appreciations by the participants, some of the points they raised included that instead of reading from the Work Book, important information should be presented in the form of Slides for discussion. Some wished that such courses should be organized frequently. It was also suggested to enhance the Hands on Training part of the course and the Syllabus for newly appointed editors should be given preference and take up first during the course. One of the participants felt that on the second day the programme could be made more interesting by including presentations and more exercises. It was also suggested that enhanced participation from the audience should be ensured. Some participants felt that the problems encountered by the Editors were very will highlighted and suggestions made how to solve them. Another suggestion was to have more facilitators in the course to benefit from experience of different editors. The overall grading of the activity was judged as Very Good and Excellent by a vast majority of the participants i.e. by twenty out of thirty and Good by five participants.

It may mentioned here that this course was organized on a suggestion from Prof. Major Gen. Muhammad Aslam Vice Chancellor  and Prof. Junaid Sarfraz Khan  Pro Vice Chancellor of University of Health Sciences who are very keen to provide such teaching and training facilities to faculty members, editors of journals published by medical and dental colleges affiliated with UHS. The Pro VC Office had made excellent arrangements for the training course and the participants were also presented CME certificates by the facilitators Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid and Prof. Ijaz Hussain. Vice Chancellor of UHS Prof. Maj. Gen. Aslam also joined the Group Photograph with the course participants.