National News

Fresh row erupts over Medical Journals’ degradation

KARACHI: The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) expressed its concern over the degradation of all of Pakistan’s index medical journals by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and demanded the early withdrawal of this unwise decision.

Secretary-General, PMA Centre, Dr S M Qaisar Sajjad, Chairman, Editorial Board, JPMA, Dr Sarwar Jamil Siddiqui, Editor-in-Chief, JPMA, Dr Fatema Jawad, and Treasurer, PMA Centre, Dr Qazi Muhammad Wasiq stated this, in a joint press conference held at the PMA House in Karachi.

While addressing the conference, the officials said that the PMA and the editors of the journals were gravely concerned over the degradation of all the index medical journals of Pakistan. The Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association (JPMA) was started in 1954 and indexed in 1975. The journal was to share the experiences and the spread of scientific knowledge. The benefit of this ultimately goes to the wellbeing of the patient, they noted.

PMA Officials added that the journal recognition system of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan had downgraded all the highest category biomedical journals of the country to the so-called ‘CLAY Medallion’ and ‘Category X’. “This was done by applying a new journal recognizing system launched by the HEC and the results were displayed on the HEC website in January 2020, which is available to all the viewers around the world,” PMA representatives highlighted.

With all the adversities being faced in the country, twelve academic journals from Pakistan, which include three medical journals, enjoy a good impact factor. The three medical journals have struggled to keep their standards at a universally recognized level. These include the Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association (JPMA), published by the Pakistan Medical Association, the Pakistan Journal of Medical Science, a private journal, and the Journal of College of Physicians and Surgeons (JCPSP) published in Karachi. All these journals have a good impact factor and are indexed with the highest indexing agencies such as SCOPUS, PubMed, EMBASE, SCIE, BIOSIS, and WOS. The WHO and the WAME recognize them, they added.

They further said that the editors of these journals, besides publishing their journals regularly, concentrate on improving the quality of the manuscripts they accept for publication and accelerate their efforts to improve the standard of the journal. The authorities, such as the HEC, have never appreciated the attitude of the editors of these leading medical journals.

PMA officals urged, “It is somewhat surprising that this new software has the ability to downgrade all top-grade medical journals with one click of the computer key. A question that has to be asked is that if the HEC was running the software on a trial basis, why did they publicize the results on their website, which is visible around the globe?”

Speakers said that this amounts to a derogatory act against all the involved publications. The JPMA, along with the other two indexed journals, will continue to enjoy a good reputation universally. However, Pakistani authors will suffer, as they will be compelled to publish a number of articles in W category journals for promotion. They will face difficulty in finding a foreign journal and, most of all, deprive their pockets of at least Rs100,000/- for each article if accepted.

They demanded that the HEC should immediately withdraw this software so that all the index medical journals are replaced in category W. Additionally, they demanded that the stakeholders and editors of the journals should be consulted before making any kind of erratic decisions in the future.

 

-MN Report

February 21, 2020

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