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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 163-164

Journalology and authors: Bridging the divide

Department of Urology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Date of Web Publication1-Jul-2015

Correspondence Address:
Rajeev Kumar
Department of Urology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-1591.159512

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How to cite this article:
Kumar R. Journalology and authors: Bridging the divide. Indian J Urol 2015;31:163-4

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Kumar R. Journalology and authors: Bridging the divide. Indian J Urol [serial online] 2015 [cited 2021 May 9];31:163-4. Available from:

Over the years, medical publishing has become an increasingly competitive field with a greater number of manuscripts being submitted for publication and a larger number of journals that are available to publish them. While the pressure to publish for purposes of recognition and career progression keeps mounting the rejection rates of journals remain high. On the other hand, once an article does get published in a reputed journal, it is common to get daily e-mails soliciting articles for a new journal. How, then, should a potential author find his/her way through this maze?

Scientific publishing serves three constituencies, i.e., authors who aim to publish their work, readers who wish to read good material, and ultimately science, through making the best research available to all. Authors who submit a manuscript invariably believe it is worthy of publishing. Why else would they write or submit it? However, it is also true that there simply cannot be so much excellent work being done so as to fill the reams of paper and electronic pages being published every day. What ultimately separates the good from the bad is peer review, a concept that itself is flawed but probably the best currently available. [1]

Peer review brings the greatest amount of discord between authors and journals. Waiting for reviews, receiving comments criticizing their work, revising, and yet not getting accepted are all frustrating experiences that can lead to resentment. Journalology is a term that broadly describes the job of an editor, [2] a job that involves sitting in judgment over the work of peers. Editors frequently suggest that they have lost more friends in a few years of editorship than they could make in decades of academic practice. Editors depend on peer reviewers for maintaining standards. Peer reviewers dedicate time and experience in improving the content with no compensation and little recognition. Thus, despite the amount of time and effort it entails, editors are loath to give the process a short shrift since this may be the only symbol of their quality.

Predatory journals, including some with hoax impact factors, aim to feed on this frustration and offer fast-tracked publication for a fee. [3] The only thing they lack when compared with standard journals is a valid peer review process and transparency. A number of recent incidents have brought these issues in the public domain, yet they continue to occur and even flourish. [4] The principles of scientific writing are rarely taught in our medical schools and most authors, reviewers, and editors learn on the job. Misconduct is frequently the result of ignorance rather than intent. It is not surprising when a colleague calls to say that he/she is submitting an article and would like it to be published in the next issue of the journal. He/she is not trying to use influence; he/she simply does not understand the editorial process or journalology.

The Indian Journal of Urology, as also a number of other journals and associations, is trying to bridge this knowledge gap through seminars and workshops. This issue of the journal carries an editorial written by the board of the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) on the issue of global health, something which keenly interests us in the developing world. [5] The editorial specifically calls upon journals to publish material related to global health and to provide authors in low- and middle-income countries a platform from which to publish good science. WAME, a 20-year-old global body of medical editors, will be organizing its first conference for editors in New Delhi, India later this year on issues of journalology and global health and the Indian Journal of Urology (IJU) editorial committee will participate in this event. We hope to learn and improve our standards as we continue to reflect the aspirations of one of the largest bodies of urologists around the world.

   References Top

Kuehn BM. Striving for a more perfect peer review: Editors confront strengths, flaws of biomedical literature. JAMA 2013;310:1781-3.  Back to cited text no. 1
Smith J. Journalology--or what editors do. BMJ 1990;301:756-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
Clark J, Smith R. Firm action needed on predatory journals. BMJ 2015;350:h210.  Back to cited text no. 3
Kumar R. The Science hoax: Poor journalology reflects poor training in peer review. BMJ 2013;347:f7465.  Back to cited text no. 4
Winker MA, Ferris LE; WAME Ethics and Policy Committee, WAME Board. Promoting Global Health: The World Association of Medical Editors Position on Editors′ Responsibility. World Association of Medical Editors. Available from: [Last accessed on 2015 May 26].  Back to cited text no. 5


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