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Meeting Report
Artificial intelligence in scholarly publishing and the role of the Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors in the Asia-Pacific region
Young Yoo1,2orcid
Science Editing 2024;11(1):77-80.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.6087/kcse.324
Published online: January 29, 2024

1Department of Pediatrics, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

2Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors, Seoul, Korea

Correspondence to Young Yoo yoolina@korea.ac.kr
• Received: October 2, 2023   • Accepted: November 8, 2023

© 2024 Korean Council of Science Editors

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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  • Meeting: The 2023 Annual Conference of the Asia Pacific Association of Medical Journal Editors

  • Date: August 16–18, 2023

  • Venue: Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Hue, Vietnam

  • Organizer: The Asia Pacific Association of Medical Journal Editors

  • Theme: Publication in the era of artificial intelligence

The Asia Pacific Association of Medical Journal Editors (APAME) conference has been conducted annually in various Asia-Pacific countries since 2006. Members of the Korean Academy of Medical Journal Editors (KAMJE) have consistently participated in the APAME conference up until 2019, which took place in Xian, China. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were no in-person conferences for 3 years, extending through 2022. The 2023 conference was hosted by Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Hue, Vietnam, from August 16 to 18, 2023. The theme of this conference was “Publication in the Era of Artificial Intelligence (AI).” This year’s conference was attended by nearly 200 individuals, including editors, publishers, librarians, and researchers from various Asia-Pacific countries (Fig. 1).
On the first day (August 16, 2023), the “Editing and Peer Reviewing Training Course” workshop consisted of two sessions. The first session started with an introduction of the purpose and mission of the APAME to young researchers, followed by a discussion of the role of the editor in the process from submission to publication. In addition, practical methods to improve the quality of reviews, stimulate interest of young researchers, and deliver knowledge and information to reviewers and editors were presented. In the second session, which continued in the afternoon, six lectures and question-and-answer sessions were held on many ethical issues in medical journal publishing, such as authorship and conflicts of interest.
On the second day, there was a Western Pacific Regional Index Medicus (WPRIM) meeting in the morning. WPRIM is the abstract database of medical journals in the Western Pacific Region, available from http://wprim.org/ or http://wprim.whocc.org.cn/search/index. In the afternoon, the 2023 APAME general meeting began with a welcome speech by president Burmajaav Badrakh from Mongolia, followed by a report on the minutes of the 2019 meeting, a report on the activities of each committee, and the election of the new executive board. The APAME has three active committees: the Education and Training Committee, the Ethics and Editorial Policy Committee, and the IT and Library Committee. In the last activity report, these three committees reported the results of active online activities despite the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, the Education and Training Committee has been actively conducting online education on diverse topics. In addition, the Homepage Committee was newly established this year. As a result, the APAME is now equipped for sustainable management of the organization and its annual conference. Subsequently, new executive committee members were elected for the 2023–2025 term. Dr. Nicholas Talley, the emeritus Editor-in-Chief of the Medical Journal of Australia and a gastroenterologist at the University of Newcastle (Newcastle, NSW, Australia), was elected as the new president. The newly elected president, Dr. Talley, unveiled the 3-day conference program for the following year. This conference will take place at the University of Newcastle, located north of Sydney, Australia, from August 28 to 30, 2024.
On the last day, August 18, the 2023 Annual Conference was opened by Mr. James Howlett from the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for the Western Pacific region and welcomed by Dr. Nguyen Vu Quoc Huy, rector (president) of Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy. A total of 12 lectures and panel discussions were opened under the titles of “Opportunities and Challenges of AI (session 1),” “Emerging Trends in Scholarly Communication (session 2),” and “Publication and Academic Career in the 21st Century (session 3).”
Session 1 was devoted to AI, which has recently become a hot topic in the publishing world, with lectures and discussions on the ethical issues of using AI in scholarly publishing. One of the impressive lectures was “Challenges and Opportunities Presented by AI in Medical Journal Editing and Publishing” by Dr. Talley. AI has recently been widely used in medical journal writing and publishing, although problematic ethical issues may limit its use due to concerns about conveying false information. He introduced the article “Generating scholarly content with ChatGPT: ethical challenges for medical publishing” by Liebrenz et al. [1], published in Lancet Digital Health in 2023. Due to the widespread usage of ChatGPT (OpenAI), his presentation raised ethical questions, including doubts about how well users were informed and the risks of testing an unproven technology in a live healthcare setting. He identified the impact of ChatGPT on publishing and summarized the positions of international publishing organizations. The author discussed the use of AI chatbots to produce academic text, ethical considerations regarding ChatGPT use and authorship issues, inequalities in use, and misinformation about scientific knowledge. There is a debate about whether ChatGPT meets the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) authorship criteria, making it questionable whether it can ultimately credited in papers. Elsevier has stated that AI tools cannot be listed as an author, and the use of AI must be appropriately acknowledged. As technologies become better tailored to user needs and more commonly adopted, we believe that comprehensive discussions about authorship policies are urgent and essential. The Committee of Publication Ethics (COPE) has developed AI recommendations for editorial decision-making and the trade body for scholarly publishers. Another point to be addressed regarding the use of ChatGPT in medical journal publishing is inequality. OpenAI’s leadership has affirmed that free use is temporary and the product will eventually be monetized. If the platform involves some form of paywall, it might entrench existing international inequalities in scholarly publishing [1]. Specifically, if socioeconomic disparities lead to differences in AI usage, it might result in the current imbalances in knowledge dissemination and scholarly publishing. Potential misinformation in healthcare was also mentioned. While the ease of use and accessibility of ChatGPT and its ability to produce text in multiple languages may make it more widely used in the future, the functionality of ChatGPT can cause harm by creating misleading or inaccurate content, thereby eliciting concerns about scholarly misinformation should not be overlooked. In the era of AI-generated content in scholarly publishing, it is questionable whether readers will be able to be confident that a human wrote the content.
In session 2 the first topic was how AI-generated content promotes academic communication. Experimental results showed that AI-generated content improved productivity by reducing writing time by 40% and improving quality by up to 18% [2]. Consequently, it was suggested that providing the AI model with traceable data and clear guidelines from entities such as the government and publishers could increase the trustworthiness of AI. The subsequent lecture, “Good Publication Practice (GPP) 2022,” provided international ethical and practical recommendations for key stakeholders involved in publishing or presenting company-sponsored biomedical research. Updates have reflected developments in scholarly publishing, biomedical publishing, human trial registration, and roles of publication professionals since the publication of GPP3 Guidelines in 2015 [3]. Critical updates include protecting research and data integrity, transparency, inclusivity, and authorship and contributorship. In addition, practical planning principles are outlined, including the importance of steering committees, publication working groups, policies and processes, publication plans, and data sharing.
In the afternoon, session 3, focused on improving the quality of reviews, training reviewers, and discussing the role of editors to continue to improve journal publishing and enhance scientific integrity, including areas of debate and pitfalls of peer review. The presentations discussed the role of AI in academic integrity, improving peer review from submission to decision confirmation, and challenges faced by journals in developing countries. In the following panel discussion, which lasted for about an hour before the closing, the role of the APAME in developing domestic journals in each country was re-emphasized.
While former APAME vice president Jeong-Wook Seo and former KAMJE President In-Hong Choi have played active and leading roles in the APAME, they were not assigned a unique role in the new executive committee due to the gap caused by the recent COVID-19 pandemic. I attended the APAME conference for the first time this year as the KAMJE’s Director of International Affairs and was welcomed with great interest. I will serve on the Ethics and Editorial Policy Committee during the 2023–2025 term. I believe that the KAMJE can help the APAME by improving the quality and development of journals in Asia-Pacific countries that are seeking international indexing. This is because we have the highest number of WPRIM-listed journals among the member countries, and we can leverage our exceptional skills in journal development strategies to improve the quality of medical journals in other countries. For reference, the number of PubMed Central-listed medical journals in Asia-Pacific region by country is as follows (as of September 30, 2023): Korea (n= 163), Japan (n= 66), mainland China (n= 52), Hong Kong (n= 20), Taiwan (n= 5), Australia (n= 21), Singapore (n= 17), Malaysia (n= 5), Thailand (n= 2), Philippines (n= 2), and Indonesia (n= 1). This PubMed Central inclusion status means that the Korean medical journal editors are most diligent in adding theirs to PubMed Central, which accepts journals with high scientific quality and Journal Article Tag Suite (JATS) Extensible Markup Language (XML) production [4]. Currently, PubMed Central takes non-English journals that have published English articles in at least half of the same issue [5]. This language policy by PubMed Central is a good opportunity for local Asian journals to be included.
As I was returning home from the 2023 APAME Annual Conference, I reflected on how the previous board members of the KAMJE made significant contributions to the development of medical journals in Asia-Pacific countries, in addition to their efforts to develop domestic journals. There is no doubt that AI will markedly change the publishing environment of medical journals. There are many benefits of AI in medical publishing in terms of easy access to information about scientific misconduct, efficient and convenient peer reviewing, and the dissemination of novel information after publication. However, we have to use AI carefully and avoid dehumanizing the editorial process concomitantly with the increasing role of AI technology in medical publishing. I believe that the KAMJE has much to contribute to improving the quality of medical journals in Asia-Pacific countries and leading them to a world-class level in this AI era.

Conflict of Interest

No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.

Funding

This work was supported by a travel grant from the Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors (KAMJE) in 2023.

Data Availability

Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no new data were created or analyzed.

The author did not provide any supplementary materials for this article.
Fig. 1.
The 2023 Annual Conference of the Asia Pacific Association of Medical Journal Editors.
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