Status of Publication in Arab and African Countries: Application of Library of Alexandria Research Methods and Mentored Journals
The number of journal publications in high impact journals is one of the most widely recognized metrics of scientific success. The birth of the scientific journals 300 years ago helped to change science from a hodgepodge of different formats and virtually no quality control to a uniform system with peer review for research communication. The first two academic scientific journals made their appearance in 1665: Le Journal des Sçavans and Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Their aim was to publish scientific articles to encourage their dissemination and develop the long-term archiving of scientific results. Today, there are over 25 000 journals in science, technology, and medicine, and their number is increasing by 3.5% per year. More scientific and medical papers are being published now than ever before and their numbers are growing exponentially. Sadly, not every scientist has an opportunity to publish his or her own research, leading to gaps and inconsistencies with our access to global knowledge. Developing countries produce a very small fraction of all scientific publications. Some of the regions that publish the least number of scientific publications include Africa and Central Asia. Our group at the University of Pittsburgh, in collaboration with Nazarbayev University, is developing the first English language peer review journal in Kazakhstan, called Central Asian Journal of Global Health (CAJGH). CAJGH is a fully peer-reviewed online open access journal, edited by the key developers of the Global Health Network Supercourse project (www.pitt.edu/~super1). It provides forum for discussion for all aspects of public health, medicine, and global health in Central Asia and around the world. The journal released on average two issues per year between 2012 and 2016 and gets hundreds of hits per months. It is one of the leading journals in health in the region, based on Google Page Ranks. It provides to authors mentorship component, where instead of rejecting an article that is not well written, volunteer mentors work with authors who have good scientific ideas to improve their submissions. We are collaborating with the Library of Alexandria in Egypt to establish similar system for African scientists. Within the Supercourse, we established a network of Nobel Prize Laureates to share the Nobel prize level discoveries with the scientists in the developing world. Additionally, we developing a large network of scientists who publish in the leading biomedical journals to improve global scientific ties between researchers in the developing and developed world. Our group is advocating for the use of mentored journals to improve publication opportunities for authors in Africa, Central Asia, and all over the world.