Communities at the heart of UHC (6) Engaging communities in improving their own health (3)

1 March, 2019

Dear Joseph,

You said: "To this article you wrote, 'I'm not sure why it was published in this particular journal, as the paper refers to work across Africa, Papua New Guinea and beyond.)', well I dont know why you asked the question. We have always wished that more papers of international importance be published in smaller country journals, provided ofcourse it (journal) is indexed."

Point taken. I would like to suggest we use this as a springboard for discussion here on HIFA about how authors select which journal they publish in, how this may impact on the coherence of the journal and the accessibility of the paper, and what can be done to strengthen the identity and impact of local journals.

In my scanning of journals for HIFA, I frequently find that research conducted in one country ("X") is published in a journal from a different country ("Y") (even a different continent). This happens even where the first country has a thriving medical journal presence. I wonder if this may have an impact on accessibility (for example, a policymaker in country X is less likely to read a journal from country Y).

There is also the related problem whereby a paper is first sent to the BMJ or Lancet, where it is rejected, then to another journal, again rejected, and finally being published, perhaps in the journal of the country where the research is undertaken, perhaps in the journal of a different country. It is understandable that authors want to publish in a high-impact factor international journals, but is there a more efficient way of coordinating this, perhaps with guidance for authors on journal selection?

The paper in the Ethiopian Medical Journal (by TDR director John Reeder and colleague), which I highlighted in my previous message, refers to Colombia, Malawi, China, Philippines, South Africa, Uganda and Papua New Guinea, but does not mention Ethiopia. As a general comment, I'm intrigued about the thought processes behind selection of journals by authors and look forward to learn more about this.

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org