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Arquivos Brasileiros de Cardiologia

Print version ISSN 0066-782X

Arq. Bras. Cardiol. vol.93 no.3 São Paulo Sept. 2009

http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0066-782X2009000900002 

EDITORIAL

 

Ibero-American cardiovascular magazines. Proposals for a necessary collaboration

 

 

Fernando AlfonsoI; Katihurca AlmonteII; Kaduo AraiIII; Fernando BacalIV; José M. Drago SilvaV; Javier Galeano FigueredoVI; Eduardo GuardaVII; Oswaldo Gutiérrez SoteloVIII; Luis GuzmánIX; Jorge León GalindoX; Bey Mario LombanaXI; Manlio F. MárquezXII; Francisco Luis Moreno MartínezXIII; José Navarro RoblesXIV; Fausto PintoXV; Carlos RomeroXVI; Carlos D. TajerXVII; Hugo VillarroelXVIII; Fernando S. Wyss QuintanaXIX

IChief Editor - Revista Española de Cardiología, Madrid - Spain
IIChief Editor - Archivos Dominicanos de Cardiología, Santo Domingo - Dominican Republic
IIIChief Editor - Avances Cardiológicos, Caracas - Venezuela
IVChief Editor - Arquivos Brasileiros de Cardiologia, Rio de Janeiro - Brazil
VChief Editor - Revista Peruana de Cardiología, Lima - Peru
VIChief Editor - Revista Paraguaya de Cardiología, Assuncion - Paraguay
VIIChief Editor - Revista Chilena de Cardiología, Santiago de Chile - Chile
VIIIChief Editor - Revista Costarricense de Cardiología, San Jose - Costa Rica
IXChief Editor - Revista de la Federación Argentina de Cardiología, Buenos Aires - Argentina
XChief Editor - Revista Colombiana de Cardiología, Bogota - Colombia
XIChief Editor - Revista de Cardiología, Revista Panameña de Cardiología - Panama
XIIChief Editor - Archivos de Cardiología de México, Mexico DF. - Mexico
XIIIChief Editor - CorSalud, Havana- Cuba
XIVChief Editor - Revista Mexicana de Cardiología, Mexico DF. Mexico
XVChief Editor - Revista Portuguesa de Cardiologia, Lisboa - Portugal
XVIChief Editor - Revista Uruguaya de Cardiología, Montevideo - Uruguay
XVIIChief Editor - Revista Argentina de Cardiología, Buenos Aires - Argentina
XVIIIChief Editor* - Revista de la Asociación Salvadoreña de Cardiología, San Salvador - El Salvador
XIXChief Editor - Revista de la Asociación Guatemalteca de Cardiología, Guatemala City - Guatemala

Mailing address

 

 

The Ibero-American scientific societies have always maintained a close contact and have collaborated very actively in different scientific, academic and social initiatives. This very special relation is grounded in deep common cultural roots, which identify and unite us, and which the best exponents are the languages we share (Spanish and Portuguese). Furthermore, our roots do not only enclose the sociocultural domain, transcending it to academic, universitarian and scientific spheres, in which, once again, we share relatively uniform vision and challenges. The Ibero-American cardiology societies have traditionally maintained important bonds and teaching agreements, as much in the ambit of graduation as in postgraduation; the different national cardiology congresses were always enriched by a consistent participation of Ibero-American cardiologists from other countries. One needs only to remember the many Hispanic-Lusitanian cardiology congresses that were held, as well as the meetings of the Inter-American Society of Cardiology and of the Central-American and Caribbean Society of Cardiology.

The biomedical magazines constitute one of the most important elements of the scientific societies1-13. The fundamental objective of these magazines is to publish scientific articles of maximum quality, to reach excellence in the editorial process and to promote the widest spread possible of their contents. Therefore, they achieve greater international prestige and recognition, becoming more attractive to different researchers groups as well as to their own readers. The articles published in biomedical magazines are primarily divided in two types: first, original research articles – in which the researchers share and spread their findings, aiming, basically, to push knowledge forward; and, second, revision articles, which objective consists in providing continued quality medical education.

The national Ibero-American Cardiovascular Magazines (IBCVM) comprehends all the official cardiovascular magazines of the diverse national cardiology societies of Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula. Although these publications may seem very heterogeneous1-13, the fact is they share fundamental elements (among others, the language), nurture akin aspirations and face similar editorial challenges in an increasingly competitive and globalized scientific world. Until this moment, the collaboration between the different IBCVM had a conjunctural and circumstantial characteristic, without existing, however, a formal collaboration neither institutional agreements to this end14,15. However, it is evident that the IBCVM should collaborate intimately to improve as much their visibility, as the spreading of their contents, as to plan editorial strategies of common interest.

In order to meet this goal, the Revista Española de Cardiología promoted the First Ibero-American Cardiovascular Magazines Editors Meeting, which was held on the 30th of March, 2009, in Orlando (Florida, United States), during the American College of Cardiology Congress. All the Chief Editors of IBCVM were invited to participate in the event. A structured and detailed questionnaire (with 40 items) was previously elaborated, and then sent to the principals of each magazine, who filled it with their main editorial and bibliometric data.

This document describes the results of the referred meeting, presents the most important editorial data of the different IBCVM; surveys the main editorial proposals and initiatives discussed at the meeting, as well as summarizes the signed agreements.

 

First Ibero-American Cardiovascular Magazines Editors Meeting

The Chief Editors of all IBCVM were invited to the meeting. When these could not attend, they were represented by their associated editors or by the president or general secretary of the corresponding national society.

The meeting was attended by 22 official representatives of 17 IBCVM belonging to 16 countries. After reviewing the fundamental objectives of the meeting, each editor made a formal presentation of his/her magazine to the other attending editors. Subsequently, all the necessary information to create a joint data base was surveyed, when the correct filling of the mentioned structured questionnaire was reviewed.

Finally, a fruitful discussion was established about many editorial and scientific aspects of common interest. Initially, topics evoked during the presentation of each one of the magazines were dealt with (with improvement suggestions from different editors). Later, formal proposals were made for evaluation and discussion. Among these, the suggestion of establishing official bonds between the different national cardiology societies in order to share common editorial resources is distinguished. To this end, it was considered adequate to sign stable agreements to favor the close collaboration between geographically close societies or with some societies which don't have an official magazine. The topic of lack of research tradition of several Latin-American countries was also discussed, distinguishing the validity, in the Mexican context, of the known phrase from Dr. Ignacio Chávez: "I'm intimately convinced that our only possible redemption in the scientific ground is to produce". It was also remembered that the editors are, at least in part, responsible for promoting a wider recognition of the merits of research, within the curricular aspects valued in each country to achieve professional or academic promotion. Without doubt, initiatives in this direction could serve as stimulus for the developing of research and publication among the new generations of Ibero-American cardiologists. On the other hand, the participants stressed the importance of facilitating the transition to electronic editions of the publications16, ideally of free access – along with the challenges that this brings on, including the necessary measures to ensure the conservation of the contents. The electronic editions represent an urgent challenge, allowing the reduction of edition costs and, most of all, the improvement of the international spread of the IBCVM. Besides, these editions could help to soften certain problems as the lack of indexation, the delays in edition and the reduced number of copies printed of some IBCVM. There are Ibero-American archives with a renowned trajectory and great acceptance as, for example, the Latindex System and the SciELO Project17,18. These archives were based in the new ways of information communication and consultation to record, evaluate and allow access to the complete text of their magazines. The data bases Índice Médico Español19, in Spain, and the Artemisa20, in Mexico, constitute interesting initiatives with similar objectives. Even though, without doubts, the hegemony of English as the lingua franca in the scientific world cannot be questioned, shouldn't we be able to measure in some way our influence over knowledge and the real scientific impact we produce?21,23 Furthermore, it was highlighted the importance of the role performed by the editors in the sense of watching over so that the national societies ensure the priority of official publication over other publications – be it before diverse subspecialties, be it before concrete geographical areas which, in determined circumstances, could compete for the sponsorship resources of the official publication. It was suggested that, in case they exist, additional publications should be adequately coordinated and cannot compete with the general interests of the official magazine. This aspect shows to be especially pertinent in periods of widespread economic crisis, as the one we are currently facing, when the budgets for publishing are limited. The fact that the national cardiovascular magazines should have maximum priority in receiving official resources for research and development was also discussed24. Our magazines should aim at reaching and keeping the highest editorial quality standards. This is a delicate, laborious, slow and, most of all, expensive process. Therefore, the lack of state furtherance to ensure it is surprising. It is necessary to look for the support of the authorities involved in the scientific-technological planning, as well as of the teaching and research entities, to favor the development of quality actions and acquire greater recognition for the IBCVM21,22. The editors have the responsibility of transmitting to the corresponding organs the importance of keeping excellence publications as a key element to allow the adequate developing of research in each country21,22. Unfortunately, the institutional changes produced in some national societies of Latin America caused alterations in the budget and in the frequency of the scientific publications which, occasionally, had very negative implications in the international evaluation of the quality of their magazines. Being so, although in some Ibero-American countries the publication in national magazines is duly stimulated and specifically embraced – as much in academic and universitarian murals, as in the science and technology institutes –, paradoxical situations are still occurring, in which these publications are belittled and/or discriminated21. Should we fail to increment the quality of our magazines, we will have no right to complain that the research generated in our countries is obligated to be spread through other vehicles. This makes us renounce not only the scientific heritage of our country, but also the substantial intellectual and economical benefits24. Therefore, it seems evident the necessity of investment in the improvement of quality, of the spread and of the international prestige of our magazines, ensuring that, ultimately, the final product of research can be published in IBCVM with an excellence level. Besides, research generated locally is absolutely indispensable not only to assure the advancing of knowledge, but also because this information constitutes a faithful reflex of the social and assistance specific necessities, providing answers to problems which cannot be transmitted from elsewhere. Some sorts of cardiovascular diseases which affect Latin-American countries in a predominant way are paradigmatic examples of this situation25,26. We cannot accept that all information required for the taking of decisions is provided systematically from solutions adapted from researches done far from our reality. Furthermore, one cannot admit that intellectual hesitation is the result of always waiting for the research to be "done by others". Once again, the editors have to take over the fundamental role of assuring the adequate curricular recognition of the research works published in the IBCVM. Finally, it was highlighted the function of the editors to the end of favoring the development of evidence-based medicine, as well as spreading the clinical practice guides of the different scientific societies4,27,28.

The attendees were unanimous in stressing the fact that the meeting should be considered as a success, a historical happening, as much for being the first time it was done, as for the interest and relevance of the discussed subjects.

 

General editorial data

The information presented in the meeting and the analysis of the structured questionnaire allowed a common data base which is available in all IBCVM to be generated. Although it may sound surprising, until this moment not even the exact number or correct address of the different IBCVM was known. The most important editorial data of the IBCVM are summarized in Table 1, whereas their URL addresses are detailed in Appendix 1. There are currently 17 IBCVM. On the other hand, seven societies don't edit their own magazines; included in this number are three which earlier edited. The Puerto Rican Society manifested its interest in putting forward the edition of a new magazine. In turn, the Cuban Society of Cardiology will also initiate this year a national publication (CorSalud), which will be available in electronic format only. Yet two countries (Argentina and Mexico) have two different official cardiology societies and each one of them edits its own scientific magazine.

The first edited magazine was the Archivos de Cardiología de México, founded in the year of 1930; the last was the Revista de la Sociedad Paraguaya de Cardiología, which started being edited in 2003. Four magazines have more than 50 years of existence; 12 have been edited for more than two decades. All the analyzed magazines have a complete printed edition and 15 also maintain an electronic version (all of them with free access to its complete contents). Fourteen magazines accept for evaluation manuscripts sent electronically, whereas six incorporated a complete electronic manuscripts management system. Four magazines have their own web page, while the other 11 are linked to the page of their respective society. The number of issues of the printed edition ranges from 11 thousand (Arquivos Brasileiros de Cardiologia) to 400 (average, 2.494; median, 1.500). Only three magazines are monthly distributed and five publish more than four issues per year. Fifteen magazines publish the summaries of all the articles in English. Sixteen are edited in Spanish (5 of them also in English, in complete text); two other in Portuguese (the Revista Portuguesa de Cardiologia also translates its contents into English in the same edition in paper, in turn, the Arquivos Brasileiros de Cardiologia translates its contents into Spanish and English in its electronic editions). All the analyzed magazines publish original articles, 15 of which follow an evaluation system by peers (peer review). Ten publications edit self-financed supplements29 apart from the regular issues (average of 2,4 annual supplements). Fifteen magazines include colored illustrations, 10 of which without any additional cost for their authors. Sixteen publications refer to, in the instructions for the authors, the need to follow the requirements established by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors30-36. As for the international bibliometric bases, seven magazines are included in the Latindex, five in SciELO and five in MEDLINE (Revista Portuguesa de Cardiologia, Arquivos Brasileiros de Cardiologia, Archivos Mexicanos de Cardiología, Revista Mexicana de Cardiología e Revista Española de Cardiología). Only one magazine (Revista Española de Cardiología) obtained impact factor (Thomson ISI), although it is most likely that soon others will be incorporated to this popular bibliometric index.

 

Editorial collaboration proposals

1) Establishing preferential electronic addresses which allow the direct connection to the web pages of the different IBCVM

This proposal aims at facilitating the sending of manuscripts to the different IBCVM by the researchers. The characteristics, the topics, the bibliometric indexes and the grade of acceptance are different in each IBCVM. These are evaluated by the researchers as they decide whether or not they will send their manuscripts for publishing. Besides, while some magazines receive more manuscripts for evaluation than they can publish, others have a clear demand of original articles. The maintenance of an open information and multidirectional flow will be much appreciated by the possible authors, benefiting all the IBCVM.

2) Conjunctly draw and publish a document simultaneously in all the IBCVM

The data, agreements and proposals presented in this manuscript were reviewed and finally accepted by all the Chief Editors who signed the document.

3) Maintaining a common data base in which the most important editorial and bibliometric characteristics of the IBCVM are described

The editors of the different IBCVM committed themselves to keeping this electronic data base annually updated.

4) Establishing an "Ibero-American Editors Forum"

The fundamental objective of this forum will be to discuss editorial topics of common interest, to follow up the evolution of the proposals herein presented and to maintain joint editorial meetings periodically.

5) Implementing the basic editorial norms of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (previously known as the Vancouver group) in the different IBCVM30-36

Theses norms establish widely accepted and validated uniform requirements, which aim at improving the quality of the scientific and editorial process. Such requirements not only cover many technical and formal aspects, as they also increasingly emphasize the need of establishing ethical performance norms (authors, reviewers and editors) to the end of preserving the credibility of the scientific process30-36. The adoption of these general norms does not affect the independency of the editorial policy of each magazine.

6) Collaborating and evaluating the different editorial proposals created by other international editors associations

a) General magazines: International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (World Association of Medical Editors [WAME]) and CCI (Council of Science Editors)37,38.

b) Cardiovascular magazines: the HEART (Heart Editors Action Round Table) group and the European Club of Cardiovascular Editors (ESC Editor's Club)39,40.

7) Helping to the greatest possible extent the spreading of the scientific contents generated by the different IBCVM

Nowadays, many of our magazines are not part of the most prestigious international bibliometric data bases. This is due, at least in part, to the fact that some of these data bases tend to favor publications edited in English21,22,41-45. Therefore, a vicious circle is produced — hard to be broken — in which our original works are less quoted and, even worse, our own quotations are not valued. In fact, many works widely quoted in IBCVM — that is, with important scientific repercussion — appear under-represented in the evaluation done by some international indexes which do not compute such quotations. This problem – along with the disdain of many researchers for works not written in English, and the lower occurrence of quotations of European and Latin-American works by the North-American researchers – helps to explain the poor spreading and appreciation of our scientific articles21,22,42,43.

For the above reasons, we commit ourselves as editors of IBCVM to favor the spreading and quotation of the original scientific works, exclusively attentive to their rigor and scientific content.

We also commit ourselves as editors of IBCVM to collaborate for the greater possible number of our publications to be available in the most prestigious international archives and data bases.

 

Conclusions

The IBCVM are heterogeneous among each other, but maintain very important similarities and, above all, common challenges which should be taken over together in an increasingly competitive and globalized scientific world. We, editors of the IBCVM, are convinced that the initiatives here exposed will help to increment the collaboration between our magazines, stimulating even more the relationship between our national societies. These proposals have the intention of increasing the spread, the credibility and the international prestige of all our publications.

 

Acknowledgements

For the collaboration in making available information for the joint data base, we would like to thank the support of Dr. Liders Mercado and Dr. Edgar Pozo, President and Preceding President, respectively, of the Bolivian Society of Cardiology; Dr. Alejandro Villeda, President of the Honduran Society of Cardiology; Dr. Nelson Salazar, President of the Nicaraguan Society of Cardiology; and Dr. Héctor Delgado, President of the Puerto Rican Society of Cardiology.

 

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Mailing address:
Revista Española de Cardiología
Sociedad Española de Cardiología
Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, 5-7
28028 Madrid - España
E-mail: rec@revespcardiol.org

 

 

* The Revista de la Asociación Salvadoreña de Cardiología was edited in the period between 2003 and 2005

 

 

 

 

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