Another year rolls over and this is close to the end of my journey as the Editor of the flagship journal of the All India Ophthalmological Society (AIOS) – the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology (IJO). Oftentimes, while we are immersed in the task at hand, we forget to pause, take a step back, and look at journey covered so far: its ups and downs, achievements, and setbacks. Equally important is to see the road in front and understand the challenges that lie ahead.
Over the past 6 years, we have transitioned from a new issue once every 2 months to a monthly issue. This obviously translated into shorter waiting periods, more number of articles published annually, and higher readership figures. One of the important decisions taken in the recent past included continuing with the publication of case reports and the introduction of photo essays. An analysis of the submissions to the IJO showed that a large number of submissions from India were case reports. While there is no doubt that case reports have immense educational value to readers and also complement evidence-based research; it is also true that case reports rarely get cited therefore if published, they tend to drag down the “impact factor.” Given that there are many predatory journals of poor repute – that promise to publish case reports with the aim of swindling honest researchers; we felt that the IJO should continue to with case reports since it not only caters to the needs of the Indian authors but also stands out as a legitimate avenue for case reports. We heard our readers and authors and we have ensured that their voice prevails.
“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
-Sir Issac Newton
It would be a travesty if I did not acknowledge and appreciate the contributions of all the past editors in shaping the IJO of today. My predecessors – Late Dr. S. N. Cooper (1952–1973), Late Dr. S. R. K. Malik (1974–1979), Dr. Madan Mohan (1980–1986), Dr. Tony Fernandes (1987–1991), Dr. T. P. Ittyerah (1992), Dr. G. Nageshwar Rao (1993–1998), Dr. Taraprasad Das (1999–2004), and Dr. B. K. Nayak (2005–2010) have made stellar contributions in the evolution of the journal and its processes. Carrying forward their principles of maintaining editorial integrity, an ethical and transparent peer-review process and promoting good publishing practices was one of the goals during these years at the helm. My role as the custodian of this journal was made easier with a seamless and smooth transition from my predecessor, Dr. Nayak, whose counsel I had to rely on even long after becoming the editor. Change, after all is a process and not an “event.”
At no point did the journal become a “one-man-show.” At the risk of sounding self-congratulatory, being able to lead such a competent, innovative, and motivated editorial team was one of my proudest achievements and honors. The reviewers, section editors, and the associate editor were my pillars, and I cannot thank them enough.
I take this opportunity to pay my respects to Late Dr. S.N. Cooper who was the first editor of IJO from 1952 – 1973. His twenty-one inspiring years of service and sacrifice, devotion to the cause of the blind and an insatiable thirst for knowledge was instrumental in the formation of The All India Ophthalmological Society and particularly The Bombay Ophthalmic Association. He was the Editor of The Indian Journal of Ophthalmology from its conception. Dr. Cooper was an eloquent speaker and had an unusual flair for writing. His was a mind that had the curiosity of a child and the intelligence of a genius!
IJO has added another feather to its cap recently. With the help of India Post, we were able to print a corporate “My Stamp” and a “Special Cover” for Indian Journal of Ophthalmology. This is the first time in history, corporate “My Stamp” and “Special Cover” for the same organization is being released by the Indian Postal Department at the same time. These will certainly become a collector's item and attract philatelists across the world.
1. Akers KG. New journals for publishing medical case reports J Med Libr Assoc. 2016;104:146–9