2010 is the sixtieth year of publication of the Journal of Pakistan Medical Association. It was founded in 1953 as a Quarterly, converted to a monthly in 1957 and Indexed with Index Medicus in 1975. Fondly called JPMA, it is the first biomedical journal of Pakistan to be indexed with this prestigious indexing body of the world.
As JPMA entered its teens, the number of articles submitted increased. The origin of the articles was the then both wings of the country. When we lost the Eastern section of Pakistan in December 1971, the journal lost many good contributors. But it soon recovered and started growing at a steady pace.
JPMA has been through a transition with the development of new technologies. Initially all typing was done on a manual typewriter, and later an electric one, which was classed a luxury. The typist was liable to make mistakes, which were corrected by the editorial board members. It took a long time to get a journal ready for the printers. But then there were not many articles in one issue, 3 to 4 original, one case report and an editorial. Eventually in 1988, came a computer. This was a unique addition to the journal office as all the written work was now performed with a more modern technology. It facilitated the office work and the typist was replaced by a computer operator. The journal was composed on the Ventura software, copy edited and finally a film was made by the printers.
Further progress was had by changing over to the Quark Express software for composing. The contents were typed, edited, composed and copied on a CD which was sent to the printers. This made it more accurate for printing purposes.
The contents of the journal have also increased. There are an increasing number of submissions and from all over the world.
1991 had 183 articles, in 2007 the figure rose to 412 articles,
2008 received 520 articles and in 2009 there were 625 articles submitted. This shows the demand of the journal. All articles are not accepted. The Rejection rate was 40% in 2007 which increased to 54% in 2008 and 70% in 2009.
This indicates a rise in the standard of the articles.
The spectrum of Reviewers has been widened according to the demand. Reviewers are spread all over the world and provide highly scientific comments on the research work. Occasionally a delay is encountered but then goes a prompt reminder.
This was started in 2003 and each month the issue was uploaded. There has been a change in the web hosting companies. Each time it has brought improvement. JPMA website is accessed from all five continents. This is proved by the number of hits and the mails we get when an author desires an article which is not present on the website. The website is now more user friendly and easily accessible.
The references of the accepted articles have always been checked by a Bibliographer. This process has been continued and two young doctors have been trained for the purpose. Another young doctor takes care of the routine day to day correspondence. Policy matters are discussed twice weekly when the members of the editorial board meet.
Some of the board members living abroad or in other parts of the country, are approached for peer reviewing articles. This is a major advantage which has facilitated the journal work.
JPMA Policy on plagiarism was formulated and put up on the website in 2008. A committee for taking decisions on plagiarism cases has also been formed.
JPMA has been given the membership of COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics, UK). Cases can be discussed in the quarterly meetings.
An application was made to Thompson Reuters in Philadelphia, USA for considering JPMA for the Impact Factor. This is still in progress. JPMA has been listed in BIOSIS.
The improvement in the standard of the journal is due to the team work which includes, all Board members, reviewers, Student volunteers, office staff, printer, lay-out person, office bearers of PMA and advertisers.
We hope that the Journal will further improve its standard, have a more wide circulation and continue to provide support for publishing research to the medical community.