off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid

Need for more good
quality Peer Reviewed 
Biomedical Journals


Medical research is gradually picking up in Pakistan and the number of papers being published from Pakistan in local as well as overseas medical journals is also increasing. However, the number of good quality peer reviewed biomedical journals from Pakistan is too few. At present in 2014, only three medical journals i.e. JPMA, JCPSP and Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences have an Impact Factor and perhaps only these have a presence on the PubMed either through Medline or PubMed Central. More recently a Paediatrics Case Reports Journal is also being covered by PubMed Central. Journal of Ayub Medical College was also available on PubMed in the past but now it is running almost a Year late due to various reasons.

The exact number of biomedical journals published from Pakistan is not known because the PM&DC which enlists them has not updated its website for the last three years, the number of journals covered by HEC, PakMedinet or by WHO IMEMR lists various figures of these journals but many of them are not being published regularly or on time. A large number of these journals are owned and published either by various professional specialty organizations or medical institutions. Most of them publish promotion papers which serves the need of the authors as these biomedical journals are recognized by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council. They are edited by healthcare professional that are too busy in clinical practice and have taken upon them the responsibility of editing these journals as a part time activity. If those affiliated and working for these journals take it a bit seriously, their standard can be improved further and there is no reason why they cannot be included in important databases. However, they must realize that editing and publishing a good quality peer reviewed biomedical journal is not an easy task nor it can be a part time job. Some permanent staff is a must to ensure coordination with the authors, providing feed back to the authors in time about their manuscripts being processed, practicing Peer Review and coordinating with the Reviewers besides ensuring that the journal is also published on time.

At present the few good quality peer reviewed journals are under lot of pressure since they cannot accommodate and process beyond a particular number of manuscripts with the result that the authors have to wait for too long. If the number of quality peer reviewed journals increases, the miseries the authors have to face waiting for too long, can be overcome to some extent. During the last two three years, about half a dozen more biomedical journals have made reasonable progress and hopefully if they continue working with the same zeal and devotion, ensuring on time publications, they have bright chances of being covered by Reuter Thompson’s Science Citation Index Expanded or Web of Sciences known for Impact Factor. These journals need to continue the hard work and improve their visibility besides impressing upon the owners whether it is the medical institutions or professional specialty organizations to take it seriously, allocate appropriate funding, acquire at least minimum full time staff which is extremely important. No Editor can run and manage a quality peer reviewed biomedical journal working part time, this is a fact and sooner those publishing these medical journals realize, better it will be.{jcomments on}

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