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EDITORIAL Table of Contents  
Ahead of print publication
Advances in medical and health sciences: The promise and challenges


 Department of Medicine and Immunology, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon; Department of Medicine and Immunology, AAHCI MENA Office, Beirut, Lebanon; Department of Medicine and Immunology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

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Date of Submission27-Sep-2021
Date of Acceptance25-Oct-2021
Date of Web Publication08-Dec-2021
 


How to cite this URL:
Sayegh MH. Advances in medical and health sciences: The promise and challenges. Adv Biomed Health Sci [Epub ahead of print] [cited 2022 Jan 22]. Available from: https://www.abhsjournal.net/preprintarticle.asp?id=332015




To fortify research in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the University of Sharjah has proposed to create a new medical journal directed to the academic faculty, academic physicians, and health professionals. This initiative was taken to report the most recent discoveries about diseases relevant to the MENA region. Such a journal will serve as an opportunity for the faculty, physicians, and health professionals to publish results of evidence-based studies that will focus on relevant research of diseases in the region. Biomedical research and prevalent diseases in the region reflect perspectives, findings, and experiences, which are significantly different from the data published in other areas in the world. This asserts the importance of developing a regional biomedical journal that is available with an open access to subscribers from the region and worldwide.

Producing this regional medical journal offers important promises and comes in hand with several challenges. What will this new regional medical journal contribute to the region? Does the region have access to enough resources, funding, and support networks essential for the success of this journal? Will this journal succeed in gaining international acceptance? One challenge is increasing the visibility of the journal by attracting regional and international researchers to submit their scholarly articles in this journal. This visibility long with its regional and international attraction will also be challenged by the presence of other acknowledged biomedical journals with acceptable impact factor. The Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal (EMHJ) is a journal established since 1995 which houses peer-reviewed quality research focusing on public health and strategic health priorities to improve health-related issues across the Eastern Mediterranean region with an impact factor of 1.628 (2020) [1]. The Saudi Medical Journal, a monthly periodical, is also among the medical journals of the region that publishes clinical and public health research from the region. However, the impact factor of this journal remains low and has never exceeded 0.4 [2]. The Eastern Mediterranean Association of Medical Editors (EMAME), supported by WHO’s Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, also promotes medical journals in the region with the cooperation of the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), the Forum for African Medical Editors (FAME), and other international associations affiliated with medical journal publishing [3]. According to the 2021 computations, the impact score of the EMAME is 1.22 with a rising trend since 2019 [4]. Based on these numbers, and with the existence of several medical journals in the region, it is essential to produce a journal that has a high impact factor. An impact factor is a measure of the average number of citations per paper published in a journal in the last 2 years [5].

To be able to succeed with the production and survival of the Advances in Biomedical and Health Sciences journal, it must be distinguished from what is already known in the medical disciplines. It must offer a publishing platform for good quality research from the MENA region with an overarching aim to serve the region- from the region to the region. Being a house for publishing quality research with high credibility, the journal would potentially increase its visibility, and with gradually increasing citations of the published papers, the impact factor of the journal will increase. Despite the challenges, the editors would aspire to compete with other journals by setting realistic goals. The success of this journal relies on initially attracting good-quality manuscripts by the researchers in our region who focus on highlighting problems and challenges in biomedical research conducted in the region for relevant disease areas. Findings related to the disease areas relevant to the region are different than those encountered in other areas around the world. Regional researchers, physicians, and health professionals tackling regional diseases will be aspired to submit their papers in biomedical research to a journal that wants to serve the region by disseminating regional and locally relevant findings to fill knowledge gaps. Therefore, the primary goal of the journal should be to share information and research that is interesting and applicable to the region. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has extensively increased investment in research in the region leading to a high research yield. The recent clinical trial on the efficacy of the Sinopharm vaccine has been recognized to be one of the largest clinical trials led in the Middle East; the trial has included a large dataset of patients and the clinical information was collected by different centers in the region from UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, and Jordan [6]. This indicates an active and insightful research that is being conducted in the region, and this fact asserts the need for an outlet for these publications.

The success of the Advances in Biomedical and Health Sciences journal is based on the definition of success. Even though the journal might not be able to originally attract international articles but being internationally acknowledged and recognized as a journal that houses high-quality regional research in the MENA region is itself a success. It will also play an important role in increasing accessibility to locally relevant findings. As awareness of this journal increases worldwide, its future milestones can include having the editorial board work on the transformation of this regional journal to an international journal. Although I have been skeptical about the need to establish a new biomedical journal, I have great hopes for the success of the new endeavor.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
WHO EMRO | EMHJ home | Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal EMHJ.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Habibzadeh F. A snapshot of medical journals from the Middle East. Lancet 2006;367:978.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Abazari Z, Riahi A, Sohbatiha F, Siamian H, Yamin Firoz M. A comparative study of medical journals and articles growth in eastern Mediterranean regional office member countries. J Payavard Salamat 2015;9:235-48.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
World Health Organization. Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal. Available from: http://www.emro.who.int/emh-journal/eastern-mediterranean-health-journal/home.html.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Archambault É, Larivière V. History of the journal impact factor: Contingencies and consequences. Scientometrics 2009;79:635-49.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Kaabi NA, Zhang Y, Xia S, Yang Y, Qahtani MMA, Abdulrazzaq N, et al. Effect of 2 inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccines on symptomatic COVID-19 infection in adults: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA 2021;326:35-45.  Back to cited text no. 6
    

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Correspondence Address:
Mohamed H Sayegh,
Department of Medicine and Immunology, American University of Beirut, Beirut.
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/abhs.abhs_9_21





 

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