|Year : 2022 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 1-4
Indian journal of respiratory care: The journal, its journey thus far, and the journey ahead
Professor and Former Head, Department of Anaesthesiology, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, Karnataka, India
|Date of Submission||12-Dec-2021|
|Date of Decision||18-Dec-2021|
|Date of Acceptance||18-Dec-2021|
|Date of Web Publication||04-Jan-2022|
Dr. Anitha Nileshwar
Professor and Former Head, Department of Anaesthesiology, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, Karnataka
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Nileshwar A. Indian journal of respiratory care: The journal, its journey thus far, and the journey ahead. Indian J Respir Care 2022;11:1-4
|How to cite this URL:|
Nileshwar A. Indian journal of respiratory care: The journal, its journey thus far, and the journey ahead. Indian J Respir Care [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Jan 29];11:1-4. Available from: http://www.ijrc.in/text.asp?2022/11/1/1/334820
| Introduction|| |
The year 2022 is special to the Indian Journal of Respiratory Care (IJRC), the official publication of the Indian Association of Respiratory Care (IARC). It marks the completion of 10 years of the inception of this journal. This has been a remarkable journey for the journal as much as it was for me, its founder, Editor-in-Chief (EIC). The idea of starting a journal for the association was the brain child of Dr. Vinod Bhat, the then Vice-Chancellor of Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal. He made us understand that a scientific journal would be an important asset to an Association and our sincere thanks are due to him.
The process of starting a journal from scratch can be exciting starting from naming it, forming an editorial board, planning its layout, setting up a manuscript management system, publicizing the launch of the journal, the initial struggle of soliciting articles and editing them, proof-reading, and finally, the joy of holding the publication in hand, a proud moment!
Although the journal belongs to the IARC, the National Association of Respiratory Therapists (RT) (the sole professional organization for the qualified RTs in India), the journal has been publishing articles on any aspect pertaining to respiratory care including critical care, respiratory diagnostic services, clinical respiratory medicine, pulmonary rehabilitation, pediatric and neonatal intensive care. RTs work in all these areas and all of these topics are pertinent to them as well.
The journal has maintained an open access policy with no publishing charges. It began with two issues/year, and from 2022 onward, the journal will have four issues/year. The success of a journal depends heavily on the quality of manuscripts as well as the quality of the review process. The journal has come a long way and has completed 10 years. A lot has been achieved, and there are miles to go. It is time to pass the baton to the next generation.
The profession of Respiratory therapy has reached a bigger milestone. It has completed 25 years of its existence in India. Hundreds of RTs have qualified and are practicing in India and abroad. In these 25 years, the RTs have concentrated on acquiring sufficient clinical acumen so that they can work confidently in the Critical Care areas as part of the Intensive Care Unit team. As the years have gone by and with a boost from COVID-19, the role of RT as a valuable cog in the wheel of medical, especially critical care, is well established. The Indian government is also aware of the potential and has recognized this allied health profession although a change in the terminology from technologist to therapist is needed.,
Clinical role thus established, it is time for RTs to demonstrate their value in research and scientific writing. Currently, most manuscripts submitted to IJRC are from physicians and occasionally from pharmacy and physiotherapy. Submissions from RTs have been few. With a wide range of work environment, the RTs have exposure to many new situations, problems, and solutions. It is time to document all the experience they are gaining to disseminate that knowledge. We all have a duty to pass on our learning to those who come after us so that science may advance. Moreover, the journal belongs to the RTs, and they should make the best use of it.
As the journal changes hands to a new editorial board, I wish to pass on a few points regarding research, manuscript writing, and the editorial process gained in this journey to the next generation.
| Conduct of Research|| |
Good scientific research has many dimensions. It begins with the research question itself. The research question must be current, relevant to the times and people. Many questions arise in our day-to-day work, and we may not know the answer. A literature search will let us know whether there is an answer to that question yet. If it is a still controversial issue, it has the potential to become a research question. Start small, start simple, and focus on one question. Plan out a robust methodology with ethical issues duly considered. Remember that all clinical trials must be approved by the local ethics committee and then registered in the Clinical Trial Registry of India before the commencement of the research. Randomization and blinding are important in clinical trials to avoid bias.
Avoid scientific errors. Alpha error is a term given to the probability of erroneously finding a significant difference when there is no actual difference. It is up to the researcher to decide what is the minimum clinically significant difference. The choice of this value must be made after reasonable thought. An alpha error of 0.05 is usually acceptable. This means that the chances of finding this significant difference will be 95%. On the other hand, a beta error is said to have been made when a clinically important difference is erroneously missed. A beta error of 0.2 (20%) is acceptable, although one may aim for 0.1 also (the chances of missing out on a clinically important difference is 10%). This often happens due to an inadequate sample size. The sample size must be calculated based on the primary objective and adhered to. Power of the study is (1-β), and 80% is usually acceptable. A very well-conducted study with robust methodology but inadequate sample size will turn out to be useless since no meaningful conclusion can be arrived at from it. An editorial in the January 2020 issue of IJRC gives a broad outline of research in respiratory care.
Guidelines are now available for researchers from the University Grants Commission. The Indian Council for Medical Research has now mandated that all medical professionals enroll and complete the Basic Research Methodology course available on its website. This course has details sufficient for a new medical researcher. This certification is necessary for faculty members to get promotions and students involved in research to qualify sitting for their exam. The course is quite comprehensive and, at the same time, includes all aspects of research that need to be borne in mind. The course is easily available on the net and I strongly urge every professional to get this certificate to enhance the quality of their research output. It is important that researchers understand the basic philosophy of research. Any research conducted must be absolutely honest, methodologically correct, and ethically conducted to be considered respectable. Forced research has the potential to come up with fictitious papers. Such a danger exists across the world, leads to disgrace when discovered, and is to be avoided at all costs.
| Manuscript Writing|| |
After successful conduct of research, the researcher compiles the study and sends it to a peer-reviewed journal so that it can be assessed by its peers. A peer review means the article will be read and analyzed by peers of that scientific community. They review the article for its merits and flaws and make recommendations for revision as appropriate. The author must address all these issues and resubmit for re-review. Once accepted by the peers, the information from the paper is ready to be circulated among the scientific community so that all can benefit from the new knowledge that is created. Thus, as important as the research itself is its compiling and scientific writing. Another editorial in IJRC (January 2018 issue) has details about scientific writing.
| Publication|| |
Once the writing is complete, the author sends it to a journal of his choice. The choice of the journal will depend mainly on the topic and quality of the research and its findings. Journals are classified as indexed and nonindexed, national, and international. Indexing reflects the quality of a journal. There are various indexing services such as PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and EMBASE. The journals are listed by these agencies after due scrutiny of the quality of the articles and review process. Generally, articles published in international, indexed journals are most valued by universities, followed by national indexed journals. For this reason, the journals aspire to be indexed by these indexing agencies.
| Author Metrics|| |
The authors of the journals can also be ranked based on the quality of their publications and the citations received, e.g., Hirsch index (h index), i10 index. These are not only important for the faculty's annual appraisals and promotions but also determine the ease with which they can get grants for funding for their projects.
The h-index is based on the set of the scientist's most cited papers and the number of citations that they have received in other publications., The h-index is the largest number h such that h articles have at least h citations each. The h-index grows with the academic age of the researcher. It is one of the metrics used to compare researchers. An h-index scores between 3 and 5 seem common for new Assistant Professors, scores between 8 and 12 fairly standard for promotion to the position of tenured Associate Professor, and scores between 15 and 20 about right for becoming a full Professor. The h-index, however, has its limitations in that a researcher may have some articles with a very high number of citations, whereas other articles by the same author may not have many. His h-index does not reflect the quality of these articles or the temporal pattern of the author's publications. The h-index can also be used to rank a journal. The h-index of a journal is the journal's number of articles (h) that have received at least h citations. It quantifies both scientific productivity and impact of the journal.
The i10-Index is a metric used by Google Scholar to gauge the productivity of a scholar. The number represents the author's number of publications with at least ten citations. There are several such other metrics that can be used.
| The Editorial Process|| |
Every journal has an EIC who is assisted by subeditors and editorial board. The board members are carefully chosen from the academic circles pertaining to that subject. The EIC of a journal has multiple responsibilities. He/she is responsible for the number, quality of articles, and the timeliness of publication. At submission, the EIC needs to check whether the topic of the article is suitable for the journal. Then, the article is screened using plagiarism checking software. Once the EIC is satisfied that the writeup is original, it is assigned to 2–3 reviewers. The EIC may also assign it to subeditors or section editors who will then get the paper peer reviewed by 2–3 reviewers. The editors must check whether the article has received ethics committee approval and if it is a clinical trial, whether registered in Clinical Trial Registry.
Every journal has a reviewer panel which includes eminent and qualified members of their scientific community willing to review articles for the journal. The review process is very important. The reviewer reads and analyses the article to check whether the authors had a definite aim of the study, whether the methodology is robust, whether the data collection, sample size, and the observations appropriate, whether the findings were analysed appropriately, and the results arrived at are justified, and whether the authors arrive at a proper conclusion. Based on their impressions, the reviewers suggest revisions of the article unless it is found not worthy of publication. The editor, once he/she receives the comments from all assigned reviewers, will send the manuscript back to the author for revisions. The article is read through once again to see if the required corrections have been made, whether the author has replied to all the comments made by the reviewers and whether the clarifications given are satisfactory. The editor then proceeds to edit the article for language and presentation, clarity of the text, figures, tables, their numbering and citing, references, consent statements, and acknowledgement. Only then, the article is sent to the publisher as accepted and ready for pagination.
The Assessment of the quality of a journal is made based on several factors: Time from submission to acceptance, publication charges, indexing, open access, and its impact factor. The indexing agencies, in addition, also consider the quality of articles, the review process, time taken by the reviewer, quality of review, time with the editor, and timeliness of publication.
| Predatory Journal|| |
Publishing a journal is an expensive proposition, and the finances for it may come from sponsorships from pharma and equipment companies (advertisements), journal subscriptions or payment for publication from authors, or payment for reader's access. Journals that solicit articles for the sole purpose of amassing wealth with no discretion regarding the quality and authenticity of articles would be termed predatory. Publication in such journals can be counter-productive to authors and are best avoided.
| Journal Metrics|| |
Journals are ranked based on the articles published, their number, quality, review process and citations. The impact factor refers to the impact of a journal on the scientific community. This is assessed based on the citations received by the articles published in that journal. It is calculated by dividing the number of citations in that year by the total number of articles published in the two previous years. The citable items in a journal are accessible from Web of Science and available to be independently verified. The number of citations per article are obtained by Journal citation reports and are not freely available to all. The impact factor is used by institutions to rate their faculty, to decide on promotions, and even salary bonuses. This has led the journals to use various practices to improve their impact factor such as publishing more review articles rather than original articles since review articles are more likely to be cited. Review articles have the maximum contribution to the impact factor. Original research articles are also well-sought after. Case reports and case series are good for rare conditions and diseases but are not highly valued as evidence and hence are not considered citable articles for calculation of impact factors. Similarly, letters to editor and editorial are not included as citable items. Since the impact factor is calculated for 1 year, editors may wish to publish a lot more review articles early in the year to give sufficient time in that year for others to cite them. Thus, the impact factor calculation can be manipulated by altering its numerator and denominators. A 5 year impact factor that calculates the value for articles published in the previous 5 years may reduce this effect to some extent. It is important to note that many journals may not have an impact factor for other reasons, and thus the reliance on impact factor to assess the quality of a journal has become controversial.
The journals are further listed based on their impact factor and indexing into quartiles (Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4). The SCImago ranks the journals based on information collected (citation data) from the Scopus database. The journals can be grouped based on subject area, subject category, or by country. The indicator is called SCImago journal rank indicator and shows the visibility of the journals in the Scopus database. The indicator is subject specific and reflects the relative difficulty in publishing in the journal. Thus, publishing in Q1 and Q2 journals is considered more prestigious than in other journals.
To conclude, the journey forward for IJRC would be to ensure that the journal metrics have an upward trend by attending to all the requirements for a respectable journal. Publications have become very important for academicians. “Publish or perish” culture of the American universities has percolated into the Indian scenario also. Research is necessary to create new knowledge but should not give rise to unhealthy practices such as fake journals, fake papers, professional paper-writers, falsification of data, etc. If that happens, one can see that the whole purpose of this exercise is not only a waste but counter-productive. Journals must ensure that the sanctity of science is maintained and must only be tools to disseminate new, authentic and reliable information for the benefit of humanity. When this is the goal and it is achieved, the editorial board can feel satisfied that they too, have contributed to the advancement of science.
As I pass on the baton as EIC of this journal, I wish the respiratory therapy community and the IJRC a bright scientific future!
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
| References|| |
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Chaudhuri S, Todur P, Nileshwar A. Research in respiratory care. Indian J Respir Care 2020;9:1-4. [Full text]
Nileshwar A. Scientific writing. Indian J Respir Care 2018;7:1-3. [Full text]
Balhara YP. Indexing – What does it mean? Lung India 2012;29:193.
Hirsch JE. An index to quantify an individual's scientific research output. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2005;102:16569-72.