JPGM 2007-12: The editor's reportSB Bavdekar
Editor, Journal of Postgraduate Medicine, India
Correspondence Address: Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None DOI: 10.4103/0022-3859.97169
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
The present editorial team completes its term with this issue of the Journal. It would be handing over the charge of the Journal of Postgraduate Medicine after five exciting years. It is an occasion for me to look back and inform the readers about the state of the Journal and how it has shaped in the last 5 years. The Journal of Postgraduate Medicine (JPGM) was established 57 years ago so that the scientists could communicate with each other.  The Journal always believed in providing everyone an 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.
The journal continued to receive an increasing number of quality manuscripts from all over the globe [Table 1]. The number of manuscripts received has reached an all-time high figure of 1166 in 2011. The number of authors registered with the Journal has increased to 7118, underlining the fact that this multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary journal fulfils a felt need of scientists as an avenue to showcase their work. It is worth noting that overseas authors account for about 30% of submissions. The journal would not have been able to bring out quality publication without the help of the Editorial Board members and the 7000 odd reviewers drawn from various countries.
The salient developments during the last five years are listed in [Table 2].
Publishing a wholesome quality journal
During the term, the editors worked toward providing a journal, which appeals to various sections of the scientific community: students, academia, practitioners, and researchers. Hence, new sections such as Case Snippets and ADR Section were added and sections such as Ethics Forum and Education Forum were revived. A quick look at [Table 3] will allow the readers to judge the variety of articles published by the Journal. It is believed that certain types of articles (such as Case Reports, Case Snippets, opinion articles) are unlikely to be cited and hence do not add to the Journal's Impact Factor. However, it is also true that every article type serves a purpose. Just as research articles advance our understanding of the disease, Case Reports and Case Snippets represent the "art" of medical writing and have the potential for generating a hypothesis. Just as articles published in the Grand Round Case and Clinico-pathological Correlation (CPC) section have educational value for medical students and practitioners, articles published in the Ethics Forum and Educational Forum discuss contemporary issues related to medical and research ethics and medical education. Reviews synthesize the available information, place it in an appropriate context, and provide new insights. The Students' Forum provides an avenue for students to voice their concerns and readers get to know about institutions and individuals through the section titled "Looking Back." In any case, quality articles providing novel ideas, relevant information, and new insights will have a higher probability of being cited [Table 4]. Stringent review process has helped the journal ensure that only quality manuscripts are published.
Editorial functions were well defined and delineated and internal processes were streamlined. In addition, appropriate timelines were set and reminders were provided to authors, reviewers, and editors through SMS and email. All these measures seem to have worked. The data depicted in [Table 5] clearly shows that despite a 45% increase in the number of manuscripts handled over the 5 year period (2007-11), every component of the manuscript handling process has been accelerated. The average time for the first decision has progressively reduced to 30 days in 2011 and 17 days in 2012. The average time from submission to acceptance has also been brought down to 109 days.
The Journal received its Impact Factor (IF) for the first time during the tenure of this editorial team. IF, although criticized for 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 parameter for comparing journals across disciplines. JPGM, which was included in the Journal Citation Reports in the year 2006, received the IF for the first time in the year 2008. It is noteworthy that its IF was the second highest among Indian biomedical journals, in the first year of assessment, a position it has continued to maintain through 2010.
Training of professionals
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. The journal has been active in this field, as well. It organized a Workshop on Literature Search and the JPGM WriteCon Conference for training budding authors and scientists in the "art and craft" of medical writing. 
Improvements in the manuscript management system, the journal website and the print version
The journal has been a pioneer in India in establishing a web-enabled manuscript management system and in completely doing away with paper-based manuscript handling. During this term, the Journal's website and its automated manuscript management system have been constantly updated and made more user friendly [Table 2]. The publisher Medknow Publications and Media Private Ltd. is instrumental in developing and maintaining the website and the manuscript management system. The revised guidelines to authors were posted in 2008. These detailed instructions also provide links to the various guidelines regarding the manner is which results are be reported. The website also has templates for various types of articles published in JPGM, thereby assisting the authors in providing a technically correct manuscript. It has links to several databases, medical software, free journals, Health portals, and search engines. Several measures were taken to improve the accessibility and visibility of the Journal. Keeping in mind the convenience of the tech-savvy readers, the journal can now be read on a mobile phone screen with a miniature version. It can also be visualized on iPad. Availability of EPub and EBook versions enhances reader convenience.
Contribution in the formulation of national guidelines
When a molecule is found to be non-efficacious or unsafe, this information is hardly ever reported in the medical journals. Other researchers, being unaware of this fact, are likely to undertake studies with the failed molecule posing avoidable risk to the participants and causing wastage of resources. The possibility of this eventuality is minimized if the information is posted on clinical trial registries. Considering the importance of the issues involved, your journal collaborated with ten other prominent Indian Biomedical Journals to draft a "Statement on publishing clinical trials in Indian Biomedical Journals."  The Statement advocated journals to make it mandatory for the authors to provide a registration number while submitting research articles for publication, thereby compelling them to register their trials with the Clinical Trial Registry, India, or other similar registry. This initiative ensured that information about trials will be freely available.
Ethical approval by an independent review board and informed consent are the two pillars of ethical research. The journal has been vigilant in ensuring that the authors mention about ethical approval and written informed consent. When the authors claim that this was not necessary, they were requested to explicitly cite a relevant ethical guideline to support their view. I am happy to inform the readers that the Journal is now registered with the Registrar of Newspapers of India (RNI). This would help reduce the cost of delivering the issues to the subscribers. The journal got a new face in 2008 and we selected a cover that emphasizes the journal's link with its parent institution. The editors also assisted the Staff Society in drafting the Constitution for the Journal of Postgraduate Medicine. It is heartening to note that the Constitution upholds the principle of editorial independence and does not allow any other authority to interfere with the Journal content. Although this editorial team would like to affirm that it never faced any issues related to interference with its work or with the editorial process, the members of the Staff Society need to be congratulated for their farsightedness in ensuring this by incorporating a clear statement in the Constitution, itself.
From July this year, a new editorial team with Nithya Gogtay, as the Editor will take over the functioning of the Journal. This team has a mix of experience and youth. The new editors are renowned academicians and are widely published; many of them have significant editorial experience with JPGM or other reputed journals. Considering this, I have no doubt that the new editorial team will take JPGM to greater heights. I wish them well.
Before I say adieu, I wish to thank my fellow editors, Nithya Gogtay, Dattatreya Muzumdar, Pradeep Vaideeswar, Manjula Sarkar, Vinita Salvi and Milind Tullu for their untiring efforts. Dr. Sanjay Oak, the President of the Staff Society, has been a source of inspiration and provided encouragement, support, and guidance. The author has been an Associate Editor (2002-07) and Editor (2007-12) of the Journal of Postgraduate Medicine. It was only through his efforts that the Journal has achieved a better financial status. He provided innovative ideas that have improved the Journal. I thank the Staff Society and its office-bearers for their backing. Our collaboration with the publisher Medknow Publications and Media Private Limited and its former owner Dr. DK Sahu has yielded rich dividends. Their efforts have improved the website, the manuscript management system, and the accessibility and visibility of the Journal. I am also grateful to AN Supe, Ravi Ramakantan, Vyankatesh Shivne, Gita Natraj, and Bibhas Dasgupta for their valuable inputs. Above all, I would like to express my gratitude to the readers, contributors, and reviewers for their constant support.
[Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5]