Results and goals
Milton Artur Ruiz
Editor in Chief, Revista Brasileira de Hematologia e Hemoterapia
The last issue of the Revista Brasileira de Hematologia e Hemoterapia (RBHH) - Journal of Hematology and Hemotherapy - was the result of a sequence of events that began after the emergence of the new Qualis classification established by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal do Ensino Superior (CAPES) of the Brazilian Government that ranks scientific journals.(1)
All journals were reclassified using just the Impact Factor (IF) of Thompson Reuters; those that were not indexed to the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI/JCR) were discriminated against and demoted as second class publications. This had a great impact on the Brazilian academic scene as individual productivity is now measured by the new classification criteria and the IF started to have a great bearing in determining the quality of post graduate programs in the country which are based on the publications of university professors. The implementation of this measure caused reactions with several meetings being organized supported by the Brazilian Medical Association (AMA) and the Brazilian Association of Scientific Editors (ABEC). These meetings debated the decisions of CAPES and resulted in several joint publications that were printed in many national scientific journals.(2,3) Additionally, with the aim of stressing the true value of Brazilian journals, the use of other parameters to classify journals were discussed in the debates. One suggestion was to adopt the indices of SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) and SciELO.(4) The reason why CAPES should adopt these other two indices is related to the fact that the use of the IF alone is not recommendable and because, as was shown by the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Clinics, the IF and these two other indices overlap; if this combination were used by CAPES, some journals, including the Revista Brasileira de Hematologia e Hemoterapia, would be reclassified from B4 to B2.(4)Figure 1 and Table 1 show the correlation between the ISI/JCR and SCImago impact factors and a list of 138 journals excluded by the Qualis criteria including the RBHH.
The RBHH supports the adoption of these three parameters to evaluate Brazilian journals. The new Qualis classification of CAPES took us at the journal, out of our comfort zone. By early 2010, the recently sworn in board of directors of the Associação Brasileira de Hematologia e Hemoterapia (ABHH), through its scientific department, met with the Editorial Policy Council attended by prestigious hematologists from around the country with the aim of discussing the future of the journal. The ten years of uninterrupted publications of the RBHH which had substituted the Bulletin of the Sociedade Brasileira de Hematologia e Hemoterapia (published since 1973) as the official vehicle of scientific communications of Brazilian Hematology, was evaluated under a critical eye and two alternatives were considered; to stop to print altogether or to invest with the objective of making the RBHH an internationally respected journal. The few advocates who wanted to stop to print justified this based on the limited international representation which is correct if you take into account that the RBHH is not indexed to the most prestigious international databases and when you compared it to other medical journals with high impact factors. However, the decision of ABHH was to honor the existing journal and to invest in it based on the apparently simplistic view of one participant in the discussions who questioned: "why destroy it? It is easier to improve what we already have." And so the meeting ended. Since then the ABHH has increased its support - a description of most of the steps taken at the journal was presented in an editorial in the last issue;(5) the most important changes were the professionalization of the journal and the creation of the Internal Editorial Committee.
As a result, the first issue of volume 33 has a more elaborate layout, but even more importantly, it was more painstakingly checked to improve the content and overall quality. On observing the profile of the excluded journals in SCImago, including the RBHH, we see that there is a large number of publications in regular issues and special supplements every year that are quotable (original and review articles), but that the high number reduces the impact factors of both SCImago and SciELO. This meant that measures needed to be taken with improving the quality of the journal becoming our true goal. Thus, decisions were taken, not only in respect to preparing publishing, online submission and review manuals that are currently being developed, but also to improve the publicity of the journal with the goal of including the RBHH in international databases for it to be an active participant in the development of hematology and transfusion therapy.
1Brasil. Ministério da Educação http://www.capes.gov.br/avaliacao/qualis
- 2. Brazilian Editors of Scientific Magazine. Changes in the criteria of Qualis. Rev Bras Hematol Hemoter. 2010;32(3):189-91.
- 3. Brazilian Editors of Scientific Magazine. Journal classification in the Qualis/Capes System - a change is urgently required. Rev Bras Hematol Hemoter. 2010;32(1):1-3
- 4. Rocha e Silva M. Reflexões críticas sobre os três erres nos periódicos brasileiros excluídos. Clinics. 2011;33(1):3-7
- 5. de Souza CA. The evolution of the "Revista Brasileira de Hematologia e Hemoterapia" to meet the challenges of a new era. Rev Bras Hematol Hemoter. 2011;33(1):1-2
Publication in this collection
13 June 2011
Date of issue