A report of the second seminar of Iranian Medical Journal editors

We received this report from Behrooz Astaneh, Deputy Editor of the Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences.

Behrooz can be contacted on astanehb@yahoo.com

The second seminar of Iranian Medical Journal editors- A Report

Alongside the dramatic increase in Iranian publications in medical sciences the number of medical journals in Iran has increased to more than 150 during the last few years.
So, the proper time has come to consider a professional association for Iranian medical editors. Although the first idea of establishing such an association was proposed many years ago, the first seminar was held last year in which almost all Iranian medical editors gathered in Tehran to get acquainted with each other and exchange ideas. The second Iranian medical editors' seminar took place in Isfahan during 13-14 May 2010 -approximately six months after the first one.
Surprisingly, the new generation of Iranian medical editors is mainly comprised of young editors with significant knowledge about medical journalism.
On the first day a report presented by the Deputy of Research of Iranian Ministry of Health and Medical Education showed that at the moment 155 medical journals are published by Iranian medical universities and research centers. Of them 22 have been indexed by ISI and 7 have been indexed by Medline.
Several other topics including "How to Improve Medical Journals" were presented and discussed during the first day of the seminar. On the second day "How to challenge usual errors in writing medical articles" and "COPE; Aims and Perspectives" were two other presentations. It was interesting to find that most Iranian medical journals have similar ethical concerns as their European or American counterparts.
COPE has published a very useful set of flowcharts to guide editors on how to tackle ethical misconducts in manuscripts submitted to journals' offices. Although various cultures should be treated individually, I think that most flowcharts can offer a systematic approach to ethical misbehaviors. So rather than presenting COPE in my regular workshops about various topics of medical journalism, many weeks ago I decided to translate all the flowcharts into Persian, a task which seemed easy at first but was very challenging when I realized that many words did not have an exact synonym in Persian.
I sent the Persian version of the flowcharts and the note written by Liz Wager to Iranian editors to organizers of the seminar a week before the event. They distributed the note and flowcharts with the other hand outs to all participants.
The seminar ended on May 14 with a decision to continue similar meetings to discuss related topics specially the ethical concerns. The seminar concluded that through structured panels the issues could be better scrutinized and practical guidelines to enhance the quality of medical publishing could be set.
Some Iranian medical journals are currently COPE members but as the trend of medical publishing is toward considering ethical standards as basic rules, I hope that presenting COPE to Iranian editors will encourage them to join the COPE in order to follow a uniform ethical approach in medical publishing.
Behrooz Astaneh M.D
Deputy Editor
Iranian Journal of Medical sciences