Journals Committee finalizes TORs for recognition, evaluation of medical journals with input from professional medical editors

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 First time in the history of PM&DC

Journals Committee finalizes TORs for
recognition, evaluation of medical journals
with input from professional medical editors

ISLAMABAD: For the first time in the history of Pakistan Medical & Dental Council, the Journals Committee of PM&DC has finalized the Terms of Reference (TORs) for recognition and evaluation of medical journals with the input from professional medical editors. Credit for this goes to Prof. Arshad Javed Vice Chancellor of Khyber Medical University who was appointed Chairman of the Journals Committee in the newly constituted adhoc committee of PM&DC by the orders of Supreme Court of Pakistan which is now headed by Mr. Justice (Retd) Shakirullah Jan. It may be mentioned here that professional medical editors as well as Pakistan Association of Medical Editors (PAME) has been demanding for the last many years that the council must listen to the viewpoint of editors before taking any decisions regarding medical journals but it all fell on deaf ears of the PM&DC tin-gods and the respective distinguished professors who were appointed as Chairman of this committee from time to time. With the result that no progress was made towards the improvement of standard of medical journals which is evident from the fact that none of the journals published by medical colleges and medical universities in Pakistan at present enjoy international recognition and have Impact Factor. The only three medical journals which have earned Impact Factor are published by a private medical publisher, by PMA and the CPSP.


Prof. Arshad Javed VC KMU who is also Chairman of the Journals Committee of
PM&DC chairing the Journals Committee meeting held at the PM&DC offices
at Islamabad on October 27th 2018.

Since Prof. Arshad Javed a keen researcher and noted academician before assuming the charge of Vice Chancellor of KMU has been actively involved and was Chief Editor of Journal of Postgraduate Medical Institute published by Lady Reading Hospital, he knew the intricacies involved and the problems faced by medical journals. He had been trying his best to promote the discipline of medical journalism and scientific publishing in Khyber PK, helped and encouraged young faculty members who were appointed editors. When he got a chance in the new PM&DC set-up, he availed this opportunity to convince his other colleagues in the Council to induct professional medical editors in the Journals Committee. Hence, now the Journals Committee members also include Prof. Jamshed Akhtar from JCPSP, Prof. Maj. Gen. Muhammad Aslam Pro VC of NUMS who has remained involved with Pakistan Armed Forces Medical Journal and Pakistan Journal of Physiology, Prof. Akhtar Sherin from Khyber Medical University Journal, Prof. Saira Afzal from Annals of KEMU and Dr. Muhammad Irfan from JPMI. The committee also sought suggestions from other professional medical editors before finalizing these TORs. PM&DC also plans to organize training courses for the Editors at provincial level. Dr. Imdad Ali Officer in-charge of Publications and Journals Section in PM&DC himself has also served as Editor of Isra Medical Journal before joining the PM&DC, hence his experience has helped in smooth and efficient functioning of the Journals Committee and implementation of its decisions.

Under the new TORs, all the journals will be evaluated and recognized for a period of one year. They will pay a registration fee of Rs. Two thousand and will be issued an Indexation Number. Some of the silent features of these new TORs are as under:

  1. Each journal must have atleast five original articles besides other manuscripts.
  2. Original article has been clearly defined which covers Randomized Control Trials, Epidemiological studies, descriptive observational studies, Cohort, Case control and Cross sectional studies and Qualitative studies.
  3. Systematic Reviews, Meta analysis will also get full credit however; narrative review will not entitle the authors for any credit.
  4. Journal Evaluation Performa has been re-designed and all new journals will have to follow this and it will also be used for the renewal of the journals.
  5. A Journal must publish atleast two issues in a year or abide by the frequency of publication as stated in the Declaration Form. Regular publication must be ensured and there should be no gap.
  6. PM&DC will facilitate the new scientific journals so that more journals can be recognized to facilitate the researches to publish their research work.
  7. Data Bases will be considered for international Publications and some will be added in PM&DC Journal’s publication accreditation criteria.
  8. Medical journals will be categorized according to international audience and citation analysis. Following indexed journals will be given higher category as compared to non-indexed journals:
    1. Thompson Reuter (Clarivate Analytics) known for Impact Factor, Journal Citation Report and those included in Master Journal list.
    2. Those covered by PubMed, Medline, Index Medicus
    3. Those covered by PubMed Central, Scopus

  9. All new journals must have published at least two issued during the last year.
  10. All previously recognized journals will be re-evaluated every year for quality and regularity. If the Journals Committee feels that the quality of the journal has deteriorated sufficiently, the editor will be served a show cause notice and final decision for de-recognition will be taken after providing full opportunity.
  11. Credentials of Editorial Board members shall be taken into consideration and Journal policy must be approved by the advisory board, organization, institution, society which owns the journal.
  12. Chief Editor of the Journal must have adequate experience along with academic credentials. It must not be a ceremonial post for the head of the institution/society. CV of the Chief Editor will be submitted to the Journals Committee.
  13. Editorial Board must contain qualified national and international members. At least 25% of the Editorial Board members should be from overseas.
  14. Editorial independence and autonomy of the editorial board must be ensured by the publishers of the journal i.e. institution, society. The committee shall give decisions to ensure editorial freedom.
  15. All journals must have an active functioning website and online availability of the updated issues of the journal must be ensured.
  16. Journals are encouraged to use online submission, peer review and journal management system. They must also ensure that the archives of previous ten years issues of the journal are available on the website.
  17. All journals must follow an effective Peer Review system with a transparent procedure. Peer review report for every manuscript published by the journal must be available to Journal Committee on request. Review record should be submitted at the time of journal Evaluation.
  18. Journals should develop database of peer reviewers and details of reviewers should be shared with the PM&DC if required.
  19. Journals must have statistician in the editorial team and statistical analysis should be verified before publication.
  20. All published manuscripts must be screened for plagiarism.
  21. Journals must have Plagiarism, Publication Ethics policies details available on the journal website.
  22. Journals should get exclusive submission letter from the authors and should follow ICMJE criteria for authorship and also give details of contributor ship by each author in case of multiple authors.
  23. All RCTs must be registered and make sure that they follow CONSORT statement.
  24. Any author can have only one article as first author published in an issue of the journal.
  25. First six authors will get full credit. Review article, Book Chapters, Text Book, Dissertation, Thesis, and Letters to the Editor will have no credit. Similarly acceptance letter will not ensure any credit.

The above TORs were approved by the PM&DC Council in its meeting held on October 29th, 2018.

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