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Education for local Asian journal editors

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Sci Ed. 2017;4(2):56-57
Publication date (electronic) : 2017 August 16
doi : https://doi.org/10.6087/kcse.96
Department of Materials Science Engineering, Inha University, Incheon, Korea
Correspondence to Hyungsun Kim kimhs@inha.ac.kr
Received 2017 July 13; Accepted 2017 July 17.

Asian scholars have published a rapidly increasing number of papers in scholarly and scientific journals indexed in Web of Science and Scopus, surpassing other continental publications. The number of papers published in international journals and local journals is increasing due to improvements in research and development in Asia, but the number of citations is not high [1]. In addition, since most local academic journals in Asia are published by organizations such as academic societies, universities, and research institutes, promoting journal quality and increasing visibility and accessibility are important tasks for Asian editors [2]. The following factors can be considered obstacles to the development of Asian journals: language problems in non-English-speaking countries, small publishers, amateur editors and manuscript editors (MEs), and weaknesses in digital publications.

It is well known that the reputation of a journal depends on its editors. However, I think that this refers to MEs as well, not just to editors. In fact, I think that the role of the ME is especially important in the publication of local Asian journals, because in Asia, most journals have no professional editors, and the editor-in-chief and members of the editorial board are often university professors. The editors usually complete short terms of service (2 to 3 years), and they lack editorial expertise because they engage in editorial activities during college lectures and research hours. A surprisingly few editors can properly explain the following five words properly when asked: DOI (digital object identifier), Crossref, Similarity Check, Crossmark, and ORCID (open researcher and contributor ID). Local journal editors have been unable to keep pace with the rapidly changing trends of digitized journals since the e-journal was born in 1999. In contrast, the local journal ME is responsible for the preparation, printing, and distribution of journals and occupies a dedicated career position. However, in reality, many local Asian journals are edited by an inexperienced ME.

The role of the ME of regional journals is even more important, not just at the level of manuscript editing, but also at the level of a managing editor, with responsibilities including paper submission, review management, and the printing and distribution of journals. In large local journals, the role of the ME is usually occupied by people who majored in bibliographical information, but unfortunately, there are few specialized MEs and few institutions that provide them with editing education. In the United States, the BELS (Board of Editors in the Life Sciences) licenses MEs. The Korea Manuscript Editors Certification (KMEC) test was administered for the first time on November 19, 2016 in Korea, with the goal of providing a similar qualification [3]. The kick-off of the KMEC system administered by the Korean Council of Science Editors (KCSE) is very encouraging. Through the establishment of these credentials, we hope to broaden the base of academic publishing and editing in Korea, and ultimately, local science journals will have the opportunity to reach the standards of international journals. I hope that this KMEC system, which has been initiated in an ambitious manner, will be finalized and transferred to other Asian countries in the future.

Local journals in Asia are poor in terms of finances, manpower, and technology. To increase the visibility of Asian journals and to promote Asian journals to the international level, in 2011 and 2014, the KCSE in Korea and the Council of Asian Science Editors (CASE) in Asia were established, respectively. Recently, the Vietnam Association of Science Editors was launched in Vietnam in 2016. In addition, KCSE and CASE publish Science Editing and hold CASE conferences annually, and these publishing and community activities provide Asian editors with new information and knowledge about journal editing. Recently, academic development in Asia has been very fast, and articles published by various organizations include important local information, as well as findings relevant for academics all over the world. It is very good news that 16% of Asia-Pacific journals have been listed in the ESCI (Emerging Sources Citation Index), a new Clarivate Analytics database (a total of 6,411 sources were registered in September 2016, with the Asia-Pacific region accounting for 11%, or 700 sources) [4]. In reality, these Asian journals are local and small-scale in publishing and distribution. However, if peer-reviewed publications of regional importance and emerging scientific fields are considered, it is very important that Asian editors and MEs receive education in publishing and editing. On July 6 to 8, the fourth Asian Science Editors’ Conference and Workshop will be held with the theme of “promotion of Asian journals to the international level” in Vietnam. I hope that many editors and MEs will be able to participate in this conference and learn about editorial skills and techniques that are very quickly changing, in order to help improve the quality of local journals in Asia and to expand the visibility and accessibility of their journals.


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


1. Jang H, Kim H. Research output of science, technology and bioscience publications in Asia. Sci Ed 2014;1:62–70. https://doi.org/10.6087/kcse.2014.1.62.
2. Kim K. Science editing and publishing in Asia. Sci Ed 2014;1:51. https://doi.org/10.6087/kcse.2014.1.51.
3. Ryu SI. Experience of taking the first Korea Manuscript Editors Certification examination. Sci Ed 2017;4:41–2. https://doi.org/10.6087/kcse.89.
4. Emerging Sources Citation Index [Internet]. Philadelphia, PA: Clarivate Analytics; 2017. [cited 2017 Jul 11]. Available from: http://ip-science.thomsonreuters.com/cgi-bin/jrnlst/jlresults.cgi?PC=EX.

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