Steps being taken to improve the visibility of PAFMJ to ensure increased citations


Gen. Nusrat Raza chairs the Editorial Board Meeting
Steps being taken to improve the visibility
of PAFMJ to ensure increased citations
Efforts for inclusion in PubMed Central
and Indexation in Clarivate to be accelerated

RAWALPINDI: Major General Nusrat Raza Principal of Army Medical College who is also Chief Editor of Pakistan Armed Forces Medical Journal (PAFMJ) is very keen to improve the standard of the journal and quality of manuscripts accepted for publication. To discuss and plan future strategy to achieve this objective, he presided a meeting of the Editorial Board Members held at AMC on September 8th 2021. It was also attended by Major Gen. Syed Adil Hussanain, Vice Principal AMC, Brig. Khadija Editor, Brig. Alamgir Khan Joint Editor and other members of the editorial board. Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid Chief Editor of Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences also attended the meeting on a special invitation.

Brig. Khadija Editor of PAFMJ in her presentation highlighted the accomplishment achieved so far which included inclusion of the journal in Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) Scopus and a few other databases. She also shared the details regarding submissions of manuscripts, peer review and acceptance for publication. Initial decisions about the manuscripts she said, is conveyed to the authors after editor’s triage within a few days. In order to ensure the quality of the manuscripts, the rejection rate has also gradually increased. She welcomed the comments and suggestions from all those present to help improve the journal.


 A view of the Editorial Board meeting of Pakistan Armed Forces Medical Journal in progress being presided over
by Maj. Gen. Nusrat Raza Chief Editor of PAFMJ and Principal of Army Medical College on September 8, 2021.

Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid participating in the interactive discussion pointed out that PAFMJ has some very talented individuals in the Editorial Board but they need to make a team, assign them some duties and responsibilities and then they should be monitored. The progress of work should be reviewed regularly after six months and whatever is decided, there must be some timeframe for its execution and implementation. He further pointed out that over the years there has been a manifold increase in the number of army medical institutions and the faculty members. Every one wishes to publish as a requirement for their promotion hence the number of manuscripts being included in an issue was too many and it gives the impression of a book rather than a Journal. Moreover, just by taking some steps during page make up and production, a number of pages can be reduced. There is no need to print the detailed policy of the journal and instruction for authors in every issue. Instead a brief one-page summary will be enough and those interested to have further details can be asked to visit the journal website. Just by this single step, over two dozen pages can be reduced. Furthermore, if just one or two references are being accommodated on the next page, one can accommodate these few references on the same page just by reducing the font size of the reference a little bit.

Pakistan Armed Forces Medical Journal held a meeting of its Editorial Board on September 8th chaired by Maj. Gen.
Nusrat Raza and Maj. Gen. Adil to discuss measures to improve the visibility of the journal by including it in important
databases. Group photograph taken on the occasion shows R1 (L-R): Brig Muhammad Alamgir Khan, Maj Gen Syed
Adil Hussanain, Mr Shaukat Ali Jawaid, Maj Gen Sayed Nusrat Raza, Brig Khadija Qamar, Lt. Col. Palwasha Waheed.
R2 (L-R): Lt Col Kulsoom Farhat, Lt Col Shamaila Mohsin, Lt Col Syed Fawad Mashhadi, Lt Col Muhammad Rizwan
Bashir Kiani, Lt Col Naveed Akhter R3 (L-R): Dr. Aiza Saadia, Ms Anam Haider, Dr. Rehana Khadim, Maj Junaid
Aslam, Mr. Muhammad Saeed.

An ideal solution, he pointed out, will be that they should publish another journal devoted to allied health sciences under the brand name of PAFMJ. It should contain manuscripts related to Nursing, Administration, Pharmacy, Psychology, Physiotherapy and all other allied health sciences. This journal should have a separate Editor and Editorial Board members. This will enable them to reduce the number of pages and also accommodate more manuscripts related to main disciplines of medicine. The funds generated by the Journal itself should be under the control of Editor which should be used by a joint signature to meet emergency expenditures, appreciate and recognize the Editorial Board Members. The journal can also generate funds by accepting pharmaceutical advertisements on inside front cover, inside back cover and on the back page if not more.

Continuing Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid said that steps should be taken to get the journal covered by all the important databases and coverage in PubMed Central will ensure that all the papers published in the journal are also visible on Medline which will go a long way in increasing the citation of the journal. Indexation in Clarivate, Web of Sciences is important and it takes couple of years. Now after evaluation the new journals to be indexed are covered in emerging Science Citation Index (eSCIE) for a few years and if the journal maintains its publication as per printed frequency, it is shifted to Science Citation Index. Once it is achieved, the journal succeeds in getting an Impact Factor. Though it looks a long journey but steps must be initiated and someone should be made responsible to pursue both, coverage in PubMed Central and Indexation in Clarivate Web of Sciences. PubMed Central requires special XML files with tagging but unfortunately this software and facility is not available within the country. Some organizations overseas provide this facility.


Maj. Gen. Nusrat Raza Principal Army Medical College alongwith Maj. Gen. Adil presenting a memento to
Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid Chief Editor of Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences during the interactive session
he conducted with the Editorial Board Members of Pakistan Armed Forces Medical Journal at AMC
on September 8, 2021.

During the discussion it was also pointed out that Editorial Board Members working on the philosophy of SWOT, must look at the Strength, Weakness, Threats and Challenges the journal was facing and try to make maximum use of the opportunities and overcome their weaknesses. It will be in the interest of the journal that some civilians were also included in the Reviewers Database. To improve the quality of the manuscripts accepted for publication, the authors must be asked to include limitations of the study. The discussion section must include a paragraph as to what new information this study has added to the world medical literature and what is its clinical significance. Adhering to these will force the authors to take extra interest in improving the quality of their studies. Make sure that the data included in the studies is not more than five years old though there can be some exceptions. At least one third to 50% of the references must be from the last five years and most of the references should come in the Discussion section. Make sure that authors provide Ethics Committee/IRB approval of the studies and their details are also mentioned in the manuscript. Even if there is no intervention involved, they should be asked to get a waiver from the EC as it will reduce their responsibility to ensure the integrity of the studies.

Gift authorship is a menace which is very much prevalent all over the world, Pakistan being no exception. Hence make sure that only those who are eligible for authorship are listed as authors. The useful tips to identify Gift Authorship were also shared with the participants. Make sure that every manuscript also contains the individual author’s contribution which will further help to check gift authorship. At times just acknowledgement and recognition of reviewers and Editorial Board member’s works wonders. The management needs to put a system in place so that transfer or retirement of any member of the Editorial Board does not have an adverse effect on the publication of the journal. The Editor or any other member of the Editorial Board must have a look at the journal before it goes for printing to ensure there is no major mistake. There should be no blank pages in the journal. The editorial board must also ensure uniformity in structured abstract and page numbers in the references. Most of these things can be implemented if those working on computers are trained which will not increase the burden of work on the editorial board members. Participants were also encouraged to share the problems and difficulties they face. It was pointed out that saying no was not easy and particularly in an institution in which they work but one has to learn to say No if one has to ensure that the standard of the journal is improved. After a critical analysis of one issue of the journal, some repetition of information published was highlighted which should be avoided. Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid also shared some tips and tricks of the trade to attract manuscripts from overseas. Evaluators in the Indexing agencies, he pointed out look at the geographical variation in the members of the editorial board, authors as well. Make sure to have a functional Editorial Board and show pieces may be avoided. Website of the journal should include all details regarding the processing fee, publication charges, and peer review system, how the journal manages scientific misconduct and plagiarism check. Everything should be transparent as the Indexing agencies look at all these things very carefully. Members of the Editorial Board and Reviewers should be provided some incentives. Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid promised to send them a detailed working paper based on the discussion and observations so that they can plan a road map for future. Improvement is a gradual process and they should try to implement those things which are feasible, practical for them in view of their peculiar circumstances. He further assured the Principal and Editorial Board Members that he will be too glad to help and assist them in their endeavors to improve the standard of the journal without any obligation. Later he shared the Publication Audit of Pakistan Journal of Medial Sciences for the last ten years with them.

In the end Major Gen. Nusrat Raza thanked Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid for his visit and useful suggestions to improve the standard of Pakistan Armed Forces Medical Journal.