The First National Conference on Medical Editing in Pakistan: April 23-25, 2007, Rawalpindi
April 23-25, 2007
Like a trout jumping up and down a pond, we went up and down of the geographic map from Shiraz, southern Iran, to Tehran to Dubai to Islamabad to reach Rawalpindi where the Pakistan Army Medical College with collaboration of Pakistan Medical Journalists Association (PMJA) and the Pakistan National University of Science and Technology (NUST) held the first ever conference on medical editing in Pakistan. The conference was held in Pakistan Army Medical College, Rawalpindi, Pakistan and was supported by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan.
There were more than 100 participants of whom several delegates were from abroad; one from WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (EMRO) in Cairo, four from the neighbour country, Iran, one from Saudi Arabia, and one from United Arab Emirates. Other participants came from different cities of Pakistan.
During this conference, different aspects of biomedical journalism and editing including medical editing in countries of the region, peer review, publication ethics, indexing systems, impact factor, e-journalism, plagiarism, falsification and science misconduct were discussed. Certainly, for lack of time, none of these topics were explored in depth—just a toe in water.
The participants, mainly those who were involved in biomedical editing in some way, had lively contribution to discussions. They agreed to take actions against duplicate publication and plagiarism, which are not uncommon in the region; to establish a national code of publication ethics; to arrange training programs for editors; and recommended including courses on medical writing and research methodology at the undergraduate level of Pakistan medical schools.
In that meeting, the mission and vision of World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) and Eastern Mediterranean Association of Medical Editors (EMAME), as well as the avenues people can access to their listserve discussions and resources, were explained.
For me, there were two important points worth to mention: Firstly, one could witness that in their conversation, participants were able to grasp the main general concepts of talks and correctly apply them to their local context. Secondly, although the organizing committee had no experience in running such a conference, they could run things very well and keep in order. As the chairman of the conference organizing committee and the principal of the Army Medical College, Major General Muhammad Aslam told, “there are three ways to do a thing—the right way, the wrong way, and the military way!” Considering the situation, I believe that was indeed the military discipline that made it possible to arrange all things well—they ran the conference in its third way! Finally, this report would not be complete without mentioning how hot chilly and spicy the foods served were!
Farrokh Habibzadeh, MD
Chairman, Editorship Committee, EMAME