Brazilian Journal of Pulmonology

ISSN (on-line): 1806-3756 | ISSN (printed): 1806-3713

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Current Issue: 2007 - Volume 33 - Number 3 (May/June)

SPECIAL ARTICLE

Situational study of seven Latin-American pulmonology journals

Estudio situacional de siete revistas latinoamericanas de neumología

 

Manuel Oyarzún Gómez; Alejandra Ramírez Venegas; Adalberto Agüero Fernández; José Antônio Baddini Martínez; Mary Bermúdez Gómez; Jorge O. Cáneva; Jaime E. Morales Blandir; Rogelio Pérez-Padilla

 

Abstract

Objective: To characterize the situation of pulmonology journals published in Latin America. Methods: A survey was conducted in a meeting sponsored by the Latin American Thoracic Society. Each journal editor presented a report and answered a questionnaire. Results: Improving information acquisition is the main motivation for pulmonology societies to edit their own journals, whereas disseminating medical knowledge and reporting experiences are the main motivations for authors to submit papers. The most common failing in the manuscripts submitted is poor compliance with the journal guidelines. Improving author-editor-reviewer relationships would be the best strategy for improving the quality of manuscripts. Suggestions for improving Latin American journals included the following: promoting professionalism in editorial tasks; encouraging manuscript reviewers to be more meticulous; and embracing international norms for editing medical journals. The following major problems were reported: a lack of regular, appropriate periodicity of issues; a shortage of original papers that are considered 'milestones' in the specialty; a low rejection rate for submitted papers; a high turnover of editors. Conclusion: Based on our findings, we can make the following recommendations: although many journals are available in electronic form, they should also be maintained in print form; each journal should divulge its subscription fee, even if it is included in the annual society membership dues; although each Latin American country might decide to publish its own pulmonology journal, the feasibility of publishing a multinational Latin American pulmonology journal should be explored.

 

Resumo

Objetivo: Caracterizar la situación de las revistas de neumología publicadas en Latinoamérica. Métodos: Fue realizada una encuesta en reunión organizada por la Sociedad Latinoamericana de Tórax. Cada editor presentó un reporte y respondió a un cuestionario. Resultados: Mejora en la adquisición de informaciones es la principal motivación para las sociedades de neumología para la edición de sus propias revistas, considerando
que la diseminación de conocimiento médico y el reporte de experiencias son los principales motivos para que los autores envíen sus trabajos. El error más común en los trabajos enviados es la poca conformidad con las directrices de la revista. Mejorar las relaciones entre autor, editor y revisor sería la mejor estrategia para perfeccionar la calidad de los textos. Algunas sugerencias para mejorar las revistas latinoamericanas: promover profesionales en tareas editoriales; encorajar a los revisores a que sean más meticulosos; y adoptar normas internacionales
para la edición de revistas médicas. Fueron reportados los siguientes problemas: falta de periodicidad adecuada y regular de las ediciones; una disminución en la cantidad de trabajos originales que son considerados ejemplares en la especialidad; baja tasa de rechazo de trabajos enviados; alta rotación de editores. Conclusión: Podemos hacer las siguientes recomendaciones: a pesar de varias revistas estar en formato electrónico, ellas también deben ser mantenidas en formato impreso; cada revista debe informar su tasa de suscripción, aunque esté incluida en los gastos de inscripción anual; a pesar de cada país de Latinoamérica poder optar por publicar su propia revista, la posibilidad de publicación de una revista multinacional de neumología latinoamericana debe ser explotada.

 

 

Keywords: Periodicals; Manuscripts; Latin America; Respiratory tract diseases.

 

Palavras-chave: Publicaciones periódicas; Manuscritos; América Latina; Enfermedades respiratorias.

 

 

In order to analyze the current status of journals dealing with respiratory tract diseases and published in Latin America, the editors of seven such journals (Table 1) were summoned to a meeting organized by the Asociación Latinoamericana de Tórax (ALAT, Latin American Thoracic Society) in Lima, Peru, on February 4, 2007. All of the journal editors presented reports on the editorial status of their respective journals (Table 2). The reports presented by the editors were complemented by the responses to a survey on how to increase the number and quality of the manuscripts published. According to the editors, improving information acquisition is the main motivation for national respiratory medicine societies to edit their own journals. In addition, they consider disseminating medical knowledge and reporting experiences to be the main motivations for authors to publish manuscripts. However, the most common failing in the manuscripts submitted is poor compliance with the journal guidelines and requirements. The strategy most commonly used by editors to improve the quality of manuscripts is improving author-editor-reviewer relationships. Of the seven editors, three reported a decrease in the number of original manuscripts submitted to their journals. This decrease was mainly attributed to increasing pressure to publish in journals with the highest impact factor. The suggestions for improving Latin American journals dealing with respiratory tract diseases can be summarized as follows: to increase the level of professionalism in the editorial aspects; to encourage manuscript reviewers to be more detail-oriented; and to strictly adhere to international norms for editing medical journals.(1)








Conclusions and recommendations

We believe that the seven journals evaluated constitute a highly representative sample in terms of the processes involved in the publishing of pulmonology journals, which are official organs of national and regional respiratory medicine societies in Latin America. In addition, according to an online (Internet) bibliographic search,(2) such journals account for 77.77% of the new pulmonology journals published in Latin America.

In this context, it is important to highlight that most of the Latin American journals dealing with respiratory tract diseases present the problems described herein. We take the liberty of making some recommendations to solve, or at least to prevent the spread and worsening of, such problems.

Principal problems:

1. A lack of periodicity in the publication of issues. It is necessary that issues be published regularly (at least every three months). Consensuses and free communications in congresses should be excluded form regular issues and be published as supplements.

2. A shortage of original papers that have a real impact on current practice in the field. A total of two or three such articles should be published per year if the journal is to be indexed for major international databases. Articles that are rewritten from original articles published by the same authors in other journals, as well as review articles (especially review articles written by individuals who have no experience in the subject), have no real relevance.(3)

3. In general, the rejection rate for original papers is low (5-39%), which would indicate that most such journals have limited competence in selecting articles of competitive quality and universal appeal.

4. Most of the journals have a high turnover of editors, usually every year, which hinders proper management and compliance with international editing guidelines. This could, in part, explain the small number of Latin American pulmonology journals indexed for major international databases, such as SciELO, MEDLINE, and the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). We consider it essential that the Editorial Board have autonomy and be not subject to the periodic changes in the directives of the sponsoring societies. It is equally important that each national or regional society ensure the funding to publish the journal, which is its official organ.

Recommendations:

1. Most of the journals evaluated can be accessed electronically either via the web page of the national or regional society that they represent or via the database for which they are indexed. However, we consider it essential that the journal be maintained in print form for storage purposes since to the durability of electronic forms is an unknown factor.(3)

2. We recommend that each journal divulge its subscription fee, even if it is included in the annual society membership dues. If the journal seems to be supplied free of charge, it will be belittled by its readers since it is a Latin American idiosyncrasy to undervalue anything that is free.

3. We consider it perfectly legitimate that each national or regional pulmonology society in Latin America aspires to have its own journal. However, before making this decision, its motivations should be carefully considered. If the objective is to contribute to the global knowledge in the field, the indexing for major international databases should be considered, and, to this end, the local society will have to have achieve a 'critical mass' of authors willing to publish in that journal. If that does not happen, it is preferable to publish a local journal that disseminates universal information rather than contributing to the fragmentation of the Latin American pulmonology journals that aspire to be indexed for major databases. Being indexed for these databases is becoming more difficult every year due to the significant increase in the number of high quality journals that are published worldwide.(5)

One proposal for achieving this aspiration is the creation of multinational medical journals in Latin America, which is an action that had already been delineated - in 1995 - for the Latin American scientific journals indexed for the ISI.(4) In the specific case of the field of respiratory tract diseases, the president of the ALAT analyzed, in a recent article, the advantages and disadvantages of developing a Latin American journal dealing with respiratory tract diseases.(2)

Despite the high prevalence of respiratory tract diseases worldwide, the journals related to respiratory health that are currently published in Latin America do not reflect the importance of respiratory tract diseases. A joint effort could result in a more effective means of communication.(6)

At the 2007 Editors' Meeting in Lima, it was agreed that a multinational committee comprising five editors or specialists would be created. This committee is currently composed of Drs. J. A. Baddini-Martínez; C. M. Luna, J. Olórtegui, M. Oyarzún, and R. Pérez-Padilla, who will prepare a preliminary plan for a Latin American journal. This plan will explore the feasibility of achieving this goal through the ALAT.

Note: In March of 2007, Dr. José Luis Olórtegui T. resigned his post as editor of Enfermedades del Tórax (Thoracic Diseases), the journal of the Peruvian Society of Pulmonology, and was replaced by Dr. Adalberto Agüero Fernández.

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the kind hosts of the Editors' Meeting held in the city of Lima, represented by all of the members of the Peruvian Thoracic Society and presided over by Dr. Katherine Gutarra-Chuquin.

References

1. Oyarzún M. Situación editorial de las revistas latinoamericanas de enfermedades respiratorias Rev Chil Enferm Respir. In press 2007.

2. Pérez-Padilla R. La inevitable gestación de revistas médicas multinacionales en América Latina. Neumol Cir Torax. 2006;65(3):150-4.

3. Benítez-Bribiesca L. Las revistas científicas en medicina y el Instituto de Información Científica ISI. Conferencia inaugural reunión de Editores de Revistas Latinoamericanas ALAT con ULASTER; 2007 Feb 4; Lima, Peru.

4. Krauskopf M, Vera MI. Las revistas latinoamericanas de corriente principal: indicadores y estrategias para su consolidación. Interciencia. 1995;(20):144-8.

5. Oyarzún M. Ingreso de las revistas biomédicas nacionales a los índices bibliográficos internacionales: desafíos y oportunidades. Rev Chil Enferm Respir. 2003;19(1):5-7.

6. Pérez-Padilla R. Discurso introductorio a la reunión de editores latinoamericanos de revistas de enfermedades respiratorias; 2007 Feb 4; Lima, Peru.
_______________________________________________________________________________________
1. Editor of the Revista Chilena de Enfermedades Respiratorias (Chilean Journal of Respiratory Tract Diseases).
2. Secretary of the Asociación Latinoamericana de Tórax (ALAT, Latin American Thoracic Society).
3. Editor of Enfermedades del Tórax (Thoracic Diseases).
4. Editor of the Jornal Brasileiro de Pneumologia (Brazilian Journal of Pulmonology).
5. Editor of the Revista Colombiana de Neumología (Colombian Journal of Pulmonology).
6. Editor of the Revista Argentina de Medicina Respiratoria (Argentinean Journal of Respiratory Medicine).
7. Editor of the Revista Mexicana de Neumología y Cirugía de Tórax (Mexican Journal of Pulmonology and Thoracic Surgery).
8. President of the Asociación Latinoamericana de Tórax (ALAT, Latin American Thoracic Society).
Submitted: 3 April 2007. Accepted, after review: 2 May 2007.

 

 


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