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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 379-380  

Bidding adieu

Founder Editor, Indian Dermatology Online Journal, Consultant Dermatologist, Vadodara, Gujarat, India

Date of Web Publication17-Nov-2015

Correspondence Address:
Shyam Verma
Founder Editor, Indian Dermatology Online Journal, Consultant Dermatologist, Vadodara, Gujarat
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2229-5178.169734

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How to cite this article:
Verma S. Bidding adieu. Indian Dermatol Online J 2015;6:379-80

How to cite this URL:
Verma S. Bidding adieu. Indian Dermatol Online J [serial online] 2015 [cited 2021 Jun 19];6:379-80. Available from: https://www.idoj.in/text.asp?2015/6/6/379/169734

Tempus fugit! Time flies! It seems just like yesterday that on a cold winter evening in Lucknow during our annual National Congress, the IADVL was informed about the birth of a new journal, Indian Dermatology Online Journal (IDOJ). I was made the editor of this fledgling journal that was then designed to publish one issue every 6 months. The editorial team was chosen with Dr. KT Ashique from Kerala as the second in command along with Dr. J. Sridhar and the rest of the editorial team. The idea of starting IDOJ was first suggested by Dr. T. Gopinathan, a long retired professor whose vision should be applauded. It is difficult to believe that I have already served as editor for two full terms, with unrelenting support from Drs. K.T. Ashique, J. Shridhar, Rajiv Joshi, and our entire editorial team. The collective energy and the will to work for a new journal were infectious, and that is why perhaps time just flew by. A biannual journal became a 4 monthly journal and soon a quarterly. Articles kept pouring in and now, we publish six issues a year at par with the other official journal of IADVL, the IJDVL.

It is time to share some reminiscences with the readership as I bow out of the editor's position. The journal's raison d'etre was to promote writing by the Indian dermatologists. The already available journals were considered too daunting to submit to by inexperienced authors, a perception that is difficult to wipe off the mental screen of a beginner. We had, therefore, decided to be lenient. We were also told occasionally that we were a trifle too lenient. However, we did try and adhere to our principle and accommodated as many articles as possible, especially from beginners. This was frought with frustration because even with such a lenient policy there were, and still are, articles that are so poor that they cannot be accepted even after a major makeover. And, we had to take the brunt of the author's indignance for being inflexible! We have continued in our mission, slowly and steadily, with the help of all the reviewers, members of the editorial board and other well-wishers, in enrolling increasing number of authors. Somewhere near the middle of the tenure just before the first term was due to expire IDOJ got indexed in PubMed, a fervent wish of every new journal. That done the interest in IDOJ grew further globally. We now have numerous international authors who have shared their experiences in this journal, and the number is growing. More than 2 years ago, we started a small section from the “Ackerman Academy” of the USA, who shares their interesting dermatopathology cases of practical significance with the journal. The journal has interested residents and young dermatologists for the quiz which we have on every issue where the winners are acknowledged and rewarded. We have also instituted annual awards for the best original article, best case report, and best letter to the editor, a difficult choice indeed for the judges but a great challenge and encouragement for the authors.

As I step down as editor, I would like to share a thought with the present and prospective authors about the issue of impact factor. This is becoming a buzzword in the publishing world, and it has been an interesting experience to talk to people who wish to know about the impact factor of various journals without even knowing what the phenomenon actually is! Though the impact factor of a journal is an indicator of the average number of citations to recent articles published in it, it certainly is not a measurement of the practical utility of a journal! Readability and interest value of a journal are not measured by how many times its articles have been cited and how much the impact factor is of that journal! When we started IDOJ, we were clear about the philosophy of the journal which was to encourage new authors and to share clinical experiences with the readership. Few pure clinical journals have an impact factor to boast of because there is a dearth of original articles which help to boost the impact factor. Sadly, case reports and letters with golden clinical nuggets, exciting new observations, and anecdotes to store at the back of our minds do not qualify to build up an impact factor of a given journal. And, that is the genesis of the gradual lack of interest in the humble case reports. Most journals are unable to keep that balance in their race for acquiring an impact factor and then increasing it. A truly sad situation for India where a majority of our clinicians are in private practice and whose day to day clinical experience can be continuing medical education for the readers but are not documented. We have hoped to convert some of those clinicians into authors. We have been content so far, with pure clinical articles with a smattering of research articles being submitted mainly from people who had worked on topics for their postgraduate thesis. It gladdens our hearts to see more people sharing clinical observations. For us, it has been immaterial as to how many original articles we have received because that was never important to us in the first place. Priorities may change, and the new team may have a completely different vision of the journal and how to take it forward. I would continue to follow the progress of the journal each day as I know that it is going into new able and astute hands. And, I am sure that even if there is a sea change in their philosophy and priority, it will be well thought of and with a solid reason. Good luck to the Incoming Editor, Prof. Dr. Sunil Dogra and his team who will make us proud by their expertise.

So much needs to be written in dermatology. Dermatologic writing is not limited to clinical and basic science articles. There are so many regional, cultural, economical, anthropological, and psychological aspects to our field which are peculiar to our region, our continent, and all that makes interesting reading. Our association is also handling burning policy issues which involve the Central Drugs Standards Control Organization (the equivalent of Food and Drug Administration) who have been allowing irrational, illogical, and dangerous potent steroid containing combinations which have become the bane of all Indian dermatologists and are responsible for an epidemic of sorts of steroid modified tinea. The association has formed a body called the ITATSA, the IADVL Taskforce Against Topical Steroid Abuse. Much needs to be written about the association's aims, goals, and activities against the production of such drugs; much needs to be written about the woefully unscientific skin lightening creams, the pharmacoeconomic burden of dermatologic drugs and cosmetics on an inherently poverty ridden population, the psychology of quest for beauty and fairness, the importance of counseling in so many dermatological disorders, various policy issues regarding diseases such as leprosy where we as professionals are continuing to see significant number of new cases long after the government has declared the disease to be eliminated, the list seems endless of these issues that need to be discussed more in mainstream dermatology journals. I hope IDOJ continues to encourage them and welcome them.

There are so many people I want to thank by naming them individually, the associate editors, the past and present editorial team members, the entire team of reviewers, the editorial advisory board of India and abroad, all the executive members of the IADVL starting from 2010-2011 to the present one. I share the same sentiment for relevant people of Medknow, our publishers. I use the trite but very sincerely uttered words “Thank you” for all their help and support. It started as a team effort and is ending as one; the only difference is the change of the editor and the team… the work shall continue.

As Indian dermatology continues to march to its melodious tune in all international dermatology processions, may this journal march and make its mark slowly and steadily, accompanied by its several sister journals published from India. These journals are inevitably divided by the societies that they represent. In the final analysis, however, they all serve a single purpose of showcasing Indian dermatology. May that continue always…

Viva IDOJ, Viva Indian Dermatology!


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