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EDITORIAL
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 66  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 237-238  

A newer mind map for public health journals in India


1 Assistant Managing Editor, IJPH, Kolkata, India
2 Professor and Chairperson, Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, JNU, New Delhi, India
3 Executive Director, NHSRC, MoHFW, New Delhi, India
4 Professor and Head, Department of Community Medicine, University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi, India

Date of Submission30-Aug-2022
Date of Decision30-Aug-2022
Date of Acceptance31-Aug-2022
Date of Web Publication22-Sep-2022

Correspondence Address:
Rajib Dasgupta
Professor and Chairperson, Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, JNU, New Delhi
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijph.ijph_1183_22

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How to cite this article:
Roy P, Dasgupta R, Kotwal A, Chaturvedi S. A newer mind map for public health journals in India. Indian J Public Health 2022;66:237-8

How to cite this URL:
Roy P, Dasgupta R, Kotwal A, Chaturvedi S. A newer mind map for public health journals in India. Indian J Public Health [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Sep 27];66:237-8. Available from: https://www.ijph.in/text.asp?2022/66/3/237/356586



Journals provide an interface between people and the epistemic community. In fact, they often grow beyond that interface with a potential to reshape both the constituencies. The terrain of some of these added roles is so plastic, dynamic, and sometimes amorphous that it is difficult to offer a plan for discussion. We can only outline a map beyond our “line of control” and identify certain domains for newer imaginations beyond the comfort zone of the traditional.

Public health journals are being published by agencies such as the World Health Organization (The Bulletin of the World Health Organization),[1] or by professional bodies such as the American Public Health Association (The American Journal of Public Health).[2] Large publishing corporations including Elsevier, Wolters Kluwer, Wiley-Blackwell, and Springer Science also publish public health journals. Journals such as Social Science and Medicine provide an international and interdisciplinary forum for the dissemination of social science research on health.[3]

Journals published by professional associations in India are aligned with their respective contexts and the needs of the program managers and research workers in the field of public health. These journals, therefore, need to encourage members from the domains of academia as well as practice and policy to promote inclusive publishing. In this context, it is essential to provide some dedicated space for those at the frontline such as public health specialists and the civil society actors working with government or nongovernmental networks to document lessons from the field. Young specialists and learners who rope in fresh ideas also need an exclusive space to publish student research outputs. The caveat being that these contributions need to fulfill the requirements related to novelty and public health significance.

Leading public health journals are publishing articles representing a wide gamut of disciplines, beyond traditional public health; these include, to name a few health systems research, health administration, health economics, medical sociology, and anthropology. One health and implementation science is emerging and overarching themes among these domains. However, there are not enough articles in Indian public health journals capturing the disciplinary diversity that can broaden and enrich public health understanding in local contexts.

Public health today has an interdisciplinary nature with practitioners of all systems of medicine as well as graduates of related science and humanities disciplines joining the fold. Thus, the journals now need a wider health systems perspective to include discourse on governance, financial mechanisms, information technology in health, supply chain related to vaccines, drugs, and equipment, human resource issues in health care, promotion of health at the household, and prehospital care to name a few.

Perspective pieces need to present critical views on emerging areas and controversies in practice, policy, program, and politics in an analytic essay format. These should also focus on the intersections between public health science and the art that is inherent in public health. Point Counter Point (groups of articles in which authors present different sides of a discussion) formats can also go a long way in enriching debates. Space for some essentially creative contributions may also be evolved.

Editorial Boards of public health journals need to be strengthened and fully involved as they should provide a thoughtful forum for contemporary issues and challenges in global public health research and practice having Indian context. They have broad-based roles that include providing scientific expertise, administering peer review, and suggesting topics and authors for commissioned reviews, commentaries, and perspectives. Editorial Boards are critical to attracting high-quality manuscripts by promoting the journal at relevant for analyzing feedbacks and suggestions and galvanizing a constant process of improvement. They also need to take adequate care of simultaneous submissions, salami publications, and data fabrication and falsification. Plagiarism is another issue which we all need to deal with but a heavy dependence on software has its own flipside, and there are no easy answers. Promoting authorship ethics may be the most challenging area for it often goes beyond the reach of the editorial intervention. There should be a subcommittee within each editorial board to deal with all allegations of plagiarism and other issues related to publication ethics.

Another new domain in scientific publishing is research impact assessment. Journals of public health must focus on it and enable platforms to discuss it. Using those impacts to generate quality evidence and translating them for better publishing norms will be an important step forward.

The world is changing faster than our minds. Even a small visible part of it is so happening that everything cannot be reduced to variables and be measured. Public health will be affected and will influence all of these changes whether big or small. This implies that all major domains of these changes should be on our academic map at least. We will have to grow, and grow rather quickly, beyond our conventional comfort zones of knowledge generation, knowledge sharing, policy, and programs. Newer domains such as polity including political economy, market, media, and civil society are to be accommodated here. We must also strive to find some innovative yet scientific ways to study and counter the rumors, gossips, propaganda, and conspiracies that keep influencing the practice and delivery of health care. Through this editorial, we wish to underscore the need for some spaces that stimulate a newer discourse, which is imaginative and futuristic while carrying the strengths of tradition.



 
   References Top

1.
Bulletin of the World Health Organization. Available from: https://www.who.int/publications/journals/bulletin. [Last accessed on 2022 Aug 30].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Social Science & Medicine. – Journal – Elsevier. Available from: https://www.journals.elsevier.com/journals.elsevier.com/social-science -and-medicine. [Last aqccessed on 2022 Aug 30].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
The American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) from the American Public Health Association (APHA) Publications. Am J Public Health. Available from: http://ajph.aphapublications.org/. [Last accessed on 2022 Aug 30].  Back to cited text no. 3
    




 

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