Thread: Promising Practices

Setting up a university’s journal to be part of an international scene: an educational role for a new Iranian medical journal (1999 – the present)

Nepton Soltani and Shahram Zare – Bandar Abbas, Iran

Objective: To explain measures to improve the positioning of Hormozgan Medical Journal (HMJ) among Iranian journals.

Background: HMJ is a new peer-reviewed journal published in Farsi with English abstracts. This means that HMJ seeks to be a vehicle for our community’s expression but within an international context: our authors read the international literature and wish to be noticed internationally. Six people work in the HMJ office (chief editor, assistant chief editor, editors, technical and internal manager and a secretary).

Problem: At the beginning, we did not have enough articles for publication. When we surveyed our faculty to discover the reasons, we discovered that the main causes of the low number of articles were 1) the low amount of scientific research by academics and other researchers, 2) a lack of knowledge of scientific writing, 3) poor English language (for reading or writing), and 4) low motivation for article writing.

Solutions and outcome: Therefore, in an extensive program with financial and moral support of the university authorities and especially the university research deputy, we at the HMJ editorial office arranged preliminary and advanced research workshops, article writing in Farsi and in English and peer review workshops for more than 300 faculty members, medical students and other researchers at the university. We kept up the program for more than two years and during this period we managed up to 50 different workshops. In addition to programs for promoting knowledge of research, we organized a university committee for financial support of the research proposals as well as accepted scientific articles.

These actions led to a dramatic increase in research proposals and motivated the researchers to write scientific articles and submit to our journal and other Iranian and international journals for publication. We now publish 4 issues per year with 15 articles per issue. We have the chance to choose qualified articles and the accepted articles must wait for at least one year in queue for publication.

Nepton Soltani, PhD, and Shahram Zare, PhD, are professors at the Hormozgan University of Medical Science, school of medicine, Bandar Abbas, Iran. They teach physiology and biostatistics to medical students, respectively. Dr. Soltani is deputy editor of Hormozgan Medical Journal (HMJ) and she also serves as research manager for the university. Dr. Zare is HMJ’s manuscript editor and statistical advisor since 1999 and he holds research methodology workshops for academic staff and medical students at the university.