HEC should consult PAME to formulate guidelines to regulate Health Science Journals

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HEC should consult PAME to formulate
guidelines to regulate Health Science Journals
The objective should be to help and facilitate journals to improve
their standard and provide opportunities to Pakistani researchers
to publish their work

ISLAMABAD: Higher Education Commission should consult Pakistan Association of Medical Editors the registered body of Medical Editors of Pakistan to formulate guidelines for regulation of Health Science Journals. The objective should be to help and facilitate the Pakistani Biomedical Journals to improve their standards so that Pakistani researchers could publish their research work in Pakistani journals and thus increase Pakistan’s contribution to world medical literature.

At present the three Impact Factor Journals are under tremendous pressure and the authors have to wait for many months to get their papers published while publication in journals overseas is very expensive which majority of the Pakistani authors cannot afford. Another option is that let the HEC itself start publishing at least two journals one devoted to Medicine and the other related to allied health sciences, earn an Impact Factor and provide facilities to Pakistani researchers to publish their work either free or on subsidized charges. Yet another option will be that let the HEC provide financial assistance to those Pakistani researchers whose papers get accepted for publication overseas in good quality journals by paying them the publication charges.

Any decision taken must be after consultation with the stake holders to have an ever lasting impact. It took Pakistani authorities over seventy years to realize the importance of taking stake holders in confidence while dealing with the pharmaceuticals industry. Hence, now at last the present government has revised earlier policies and strategies. After meaningful consultation with the leadership of Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) the government has removed all duties on APIs, allowed toll manufacturing. Not only that they have also permitted the industry that they can produce neutraceuticals as well as medical devices in the same plants. The government has also promised to provide all help and assistance, facilitation to help pharma industry increase drugs exports which has a great potential. The announcement to his effect was made by Mr. Abdul Razzak Dawood Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment while speaking at the First Pakistan Pharma Exports Summit and Awards (PESA) 2021 held at Islamabad on September 29th 2021. Advisor of the Prime Minister on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan was also present on this occasion.

On the contrary when the Pakistan Medical Commission did not bother to consult the stake holders and went ahead to formulate policies regarding Medical Dental College Admission Test (MDCAT) and National Examination, it has created a mess and the crisis forcing medical and dental students protest all over the country and even one of the students also lost her life after police action in Quetta Baluchistan. The way MDCAT was planned and conducted has also come under severe criticism by the Pakistan Medical Association and Pakistan Islamic Medical Association. Leaders of various political parties including the Govt. allies have also criticized the MDCAT test. The Government of Sindh has refused to accept the result and is planning to conduct its own test. Not only that it has given an indication that they are being forced to establish the Sindh Medical & Dental Council since health is a provincial subject. The crisis are deepening with the every passing day and no solution is insight as yet.

A former Secretary of PM&DC Mr. Sohail Karim Hashmi has done a detailed analysis of the whole MDCAT on the social media pointing out the various lacunas and problems in the conduct of examination which cannot be termed transparent.

In view of the above, let us hope that HEC will learn some lesson and try to take the stake holders into confidence while formulating policy guidelines to regulate Health Science Journals so that we can move forward to promote the art of medical writing, research and scientific publishing.

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