Eastern Mediterranean Association of Medical Editors (EMAME)

WHO EMRO (CAIRO) | October 7-9, 2003




The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office of the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO) organized, in collaboration with the Saudi Medical Journal, the First Regional Conference on Medical Journals in Cairo, Egypt, from 7 to 9 October 2003. The conference was held at the premises of the Regional Office. It was preceded by a one-day workshop for editors of medical journals in the Region. The objectives of the conference were to:

review the current status of medical journal publishing in the Region;

assess the problems and constraints facing medical journals in the Region;

develop guidelines for quality of medical journal publishing in the Region;

develop and propose a code of ethics for medical journal publishing in the Region;

analyse trends in journals publishing in the Region;

promote collaboration and networking among editors of medical journals;

The opening session of the conference was addressed by Dr Salah Baghdadi, Director of Programme and Contracts Department, Medical Services, Armed Forces Hospital, Riyadh, on behalf of the Saudi Medical Journal. He noted the interest of the Saudi Medical Journal not only in being a medium for publishing articles, but as a means of education and academic leadership.

The Conference was inaugurated by Dr Abdullah Assa'edi on behalf of Dr Hussein A. Gezairy, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean In his message to the conference Dr Gezairy noted that the convening of the Conference was a sign of recognition by the Regional Office of the role that the medical journal plays in promoting health research and in health care delivery. He said that health care professionals in the Region made more use of information provided by pharmaceutical companies and international journals than they did of locally produced health information, although it was estimated that over 400 medical journals are published in the Region.

This raised important questions about, among other things, the extent to which journals reflected the health and biomedical research being conducted in the Region, the degree to which journals contributed to solving the health problems in the Region, and the seriousness with which academic and professional institutions regarded medical journal publishing. A major concern in the Region, said Dr Gezairy, was the under-representation of regional medical journals in the international literature. The conference was an effort to bring medical journals in the Region to the highest attention of researchers, academics, decision-makers and planners. The exchange of views, experience and sharing of future visions in the next few days would form a basis for a regional development plan for medical journals in the Region.

Conference sessions covered the status of and trends in medical journal publishing in the Region, problems and constraints faced by medical editors, quality and ethical issues, and promoting networking and information dissemination. Four keynote presentations were made on: published research in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, a survey of medical journal publishing in the Region, equitable access to scientific and technical information in health, and quality of medical journals with special reference to the Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal. In addition 23 papers were presented on a wide range of subjects, reflecting the situation and trends in different countries of the Region and the commonality of problems faced by journal editors.

Around 80 participants attended the conference from 19 countries of the Region and beyond. Participants included editors and staff of regional medical journals, as well as other interested participants from institutions in the Region.


The conference participants identified a need to improve skills of editors and reviewers of regional medical journals. Need to improve the quality of regional medical journals was noted and it was felt that better representation of the regional journals in the international indexing services would be instrumental in encouraging this. Communication between the editors of the Region was also felt to be vital to improving quality.

The participants also agreed on the need to establish an association of medical editors in the Region. For this purpose, a coordination committee for the establishment of the Eastern Mediterranean Association of Medical Editors (EMAME) was convened. The committee will gather information and will contact and invite editors of all biomedical journals in the Region to participate in the association. The committee will develop a constitution and practice guidelines. It will also contact the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) and the Forum for African Medical Editors (FAME) to inform them of their establishment as a sister association. A general assembly will be called for at the next conference to approve the constitution.

The participants took special note of the establishment of FAME and acknowledged the work that it has accomplished so far in developing its constitution and editorial guidelines. The coordinating committee will contact the Chairman of FAME regarding building on its work in developing the EMAME constitution and guidelines. It was agreed that Dr Basim Yaqub will coordinate the function of the coordinating committee, and all members will contact their fellow editors in their parts of the Region (see below for contact details).

The participants in the conference thanked the Regional Director and the WHO secretariat for organizing and facilitating the conference and pre-conference workshop, and for their support for the various initiatives outlined in the recommendations. They also thanked the Saudi Medical Journal and staff for their involvement in initiating and organizing the conference.

The Saudi Medical Journal announced that it would publish the proceedings of the conference, including the full papers, as a supplement to its issue of January 2004 and offered to host the next conference and workshop in Riyadh in November 2004, in collaboration with WHO EMRO. A report of the meeting will be issued shortly by WHO EMRO.


Member States

1. Training courses for editors of regional biomedical journals and reviewers of such journals should be conducted on a continuing basis at national and regional level.

2. Editors of regional medical journals should make efforts to fulfil the necessary criteria for inclusion in international indexing services and ensure that their journal is included in national and regional indexes.

3. A regional association of medical editors should be established, and the details developed by the coordination committee for the establishment of the Eastern Mediterranean Association of Medical Editors (EMAME) for presentation at the next conference.

4. Editors of regional medical journals should support the coordination committee for the establishment of the Eastern Mediterranean Association of Medical Editors (EMAME) by providing ideas and relevant information and informing other editors of its existence and the outcome of this conference.

5. A second regional conference on medical journals should be held as soon as feasible and practical, and should again be preceded by a regional training workshop. Successive conferences should ensure that similar training opportunities are always included.

6. Editors of regional medical journals should exchange existing training materials on medical editing and peer review through the facility of the EMRO portal so that national courses can be developed and/or enhanced.

7. Editors of regional medical journals should develop, as a minimum, a web page for their journal in order to ensure journal details are available for capture on the internet. Efforts should then be made to develop their websites as resources permit.


8. The Regional Office should support national and regional training activities for editors and reviewers of regional biomedical journals.

9. The Regional Office should facilitate the improvement of regional representation in international indexing services through liaison with the services concerned.

10. The Regional Office should create a listserv for medical editors in the Region to exchange information.

11. The Regional Office should establish a portal for regional biomedical journals and a directory of regional medical editors to enhance exchange of information in the Region.

12. The Regional Office should facilitate exchange and gift programmes between medical journals and libraries in the Region.

Coordinating Committee and contact details

Dr Ahmed J. Jamal, Chief Editor, Journal of the Bahrain Medical Society, e-mail: jbms@batelco.com.bh

Dr Farhad Handjani, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Medical Research/Journal of Yasuj University of Medical Sciences, e-mail: hanjanif@yahoo.com

Dr Maqbool Jafary, Chief Editor, Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, email: drjafary@fascom.com

Dr Basim Yaqub, Editor, Saudi Medical Journal, email: byaqub@smj.org.sa

Dr Ahmed Said El Morsy, Chief Editor, Egyptian Journal of Histology, Tel: +202 4848122

Dr Youssif M. Kordofani, Editor, Juba Medical Journal, Tel: +249 11271136, Fax: +249 11780166

Ms Jane Nicholson, Editor, WHO EMRO, e-mail:


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