Journal of Postgraduate Medicine 2016–2020: The editor's reportS Karande
Departments of Pediatrics, Seth G.S. Medical College and K.E.M. Hospital, Parel, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Correspondence Address: Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None DOI: 10.4103/jpgm.JPGM_165_20
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
It seems like yesterday that I had the privilege and responsibility to take over as the Editor of the Journal of Postgraduate Medicine (JPGM), the official publication of the Staff Society of my Alma Mater. My journey with the JPGM has now spanned for the last 8 years; 4 years earlier as associate editor, before finally occupying the chair of the editor on the 1st July 2016. The present editorial team completes its term with this issue of the journal. The journal has been witness to a glorious legacy of past editors—NM Purandare (1955–1971), UK Sheth (1971–1979), RS Satoskar (1979–1984), SD Bhandarkar (1984–1991), AF Almedia (1992–1996), K Radhakrishna Murthy (1997–2002), Atul Goel (2002–2007), Sandeep Bavdekar (2007–2012), and Nithya Gogtay (2012–2016)., As the current team moves toward its last day on June 30th, 2020, it is time for me to take stock and reflect on the work done in the past 4 years and also share some of my thoughts and experiences as an editor.
JPGM was the first internationally indexed medical journal published by any Indian medical college. It was and still continues to remain a leading, quarterly, multispecialty peer-reviewed journal, and is among the top-ranked medical journals in the country. The journal has always believed in providing everyone unhindered access to its content. I am proud to state that this editorial team continued with the philosophy and policy of open access and avoided the path of reaping financial benefits by restricting access to readers and scientists.
Medical science and research have grown by leaps and bounds at a speed that is difficult to cope up with. Since I joined medicine as an undergraduate in the year 1980, I have witnessed far-reaching changes which have impacted medical research. To name just a few: (i) newer diseases such as HIV/AIDS, multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, multidrug-resistant typhoid fever have emerged; and poliomyelitis has got eradicated; (ii) the availability of 2D-echocardiogram, computed tomography scan, magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography, and single-photon emission computed tomography scans has revolutionized the entire practice of radiology and played a vital and prominent role in improving patient care. Today, radiology is the first choice of a majority of medical postgraduate students who have topped the entrance examinations; (iii) the advent of the internet and smartphones has revolutionized access to medical textbooks, journals, and other portals of information. Current medical students and researchers can now access important and updated medical information in a few minutes; (iv) in recent years the Medical Council of India (MCI), affiliated to the Government of India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has made a minimum number of publications (with criteria: type of publication and authorship) mandatory for recognition and promotion for medical teachers. This policy has been made to spur medical teachers to carry out good indigenous quality research, publish them in good quality journals and eventually help improve patient care in our country. However, it has given rise to predatory journals becoming rampant and publication of worthless biomedical science; defeating the noble initiative of the MCI. It is my fervent desire that the JPGM continues to attract quality research conducted by authors from all over the country and the world and publishes research that will help improve patient care and reduce human suffering.
Whenever the journal receives a manuscript for publication (online submission only) it first undergoes internal review. Many manuscripts get rejected at this stage itself before they could be sent for external review. In my experience, the commonest reason for rejection (even after the article has been once sent back for technical modifications) is that the manuscript is still neither prepared as per requirements of the journal nor does it have proper English grammar and spellings, and continues to have wrongly written cross-references. Ethical approval by an independent review board and informed consent are the two pillars of ethical research. Manuscripts that do not clear the mandatory ethical guidelines followed by the JPGM are duly rejected. The journal continues to be vigilant in ensuring that the authors mention ethical approval and written informed consent. For case reports/case snippets there has been a change—the JPGM no longer asks the authors to submit an informed consent form. Worldwide, many prominent journals now ask the authors to tick online while submitting the manuscript that they have taken the required informed consent. This change is the result of keeping the anonymity of the patient exclusively with the treating physician and not sharing the name and other personal details with anyone else.
A journal's job does not end with publishing a set of articles periodically. It should also work toward improving the skills and abilities of professionals wishing to dabble in the field of medical research and medical writing. A 1-day CME “JPGMCON 2019—Journey from Research to Publication…” was organized on 23rd March 2019 by Dr. Manjula Sarkar, Dr. Mariya Jiandani, Dr. Sweta Salgaonkar, and Dr. Shilpa Sankhe to train young medical researchers. Several eminent speakers took part in this successful academic event which was greatly appreciated by the delegates (>150) who attended it.
Another important initiative taken by the journal was to encourage the staff society members of this institution to opt for an online access subscription. More than 97% of the staff society members responded in favor of online access subscriptions (”environmentally-friendly initiative') resulting in a substantial amount of money being saved per issue in publishing physical copies. Currently, only 20 physical copies of each issue are being published for the few who wanted to continue availing the journal issues in its physical version. The initiative taken by Dr. Nithya Gogtay (JPGM Editor 2012–2016) to start an iPad app for JPGM has been successful. It has resulted in an increase in royalty earnings for the journal. Over the years, the cost of publishing an issue of the JPGM has increased substantially. The annual subscription of the staff society members barely covers the cost of publishing one of the four issues published annually. Thankfully, the journal is still able to get each issue published on time due to the money earned through its subscribers (both in India and all over the world) and earnings from the JPGM iPad app.
All through the last 4 years (2016–2020), each issue of the journal has been published on time with an editorial on an important topic and a few editorial commentaries to make it interesting for the readers. This would not have been possible without the active cooperation of the reviewers (some of whom even volunteered to write an editorial commentary). I wish to thank each and every reviewer for sparing valuable time and helping the journal.
The impact factor (IF), although criticized for the negotiability of the denominator, non-reproducibility, being subject to manipulation through editorial policy, presence of bias against non-English journals,, it remains one of the most well-known and commonly used parameters for comparing journals across disciplines. I am happy to state that the IF of the JPGM has steadily increased over the last 4 years: 0.87 in the year 2015, 0.912 in 2016, 1.095 in 2017, and 1.318 in 2018. [Impact Factor® as reported in Journal Citation Reports® (Clarivate Analytics)].
The constitution of this journal upholds the principle of editorial independence and does not allow any other authority to interfere with the journal content, with its work or with the editorial process. During the early months of my tenure, a nascent division in our institution tried to get a backdoor entry into the functioning of the journal. I was made an ex-Officio Member of this division without my knowledge or following any legal procedure. With a heavy heart (as members of this division have been and continue to be my respected teachers) I had to nip this motive in the bud as it would have compromised my integrity as an editor. I thank the then President of the Staff Society and Dean, Dr. AN Supe who agreed with my viewpoint. I hold no grudge but I have thought it important to document this failed attempted coup for the future well-being of the journal.
I consider it my duty to thank my editorial team (Dr. Shirish Joshi, Dr. Manjula Sarkar, Dr. Mariya Jiandani, Dr. Sweta Salgaonkar, and Dr. Shilpa Sankhe); the JPGM Editorial Board Members and Advisory Board Members for their valuable inputs and contribution toward the journal. I acknowledge the unstinting support rendered by the staff society of the institute and the publisher Medknow-Wolters Kluwer. In addition, thanks are due to Dr. AN Supe and Dr. Hemant Deshmukh (President(s) of the staff society during my tenure) for their guidance and support. Last, I would like to express my gratitude to the readers and contributors to this journal for their support.
I wish the new team that will take over from 1st July 2020 the very best.