The African Journal Partnership Program (AJPP) held its annual meeting (virtual) on 20th and 21st of July 2023.
Editors from Annales Africaines de Médecine, African Health Sciences, Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences, Ghana Medical Journal, Malawi Medical Journal, Mali Médical, the Rwanda Journal of Medicine and Health Sciences and the Sierra Leone Journal of Biomedical Research, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Annals of Internal Medicine, New England Journal of Medicine, BMJ, The Lancet were in attendance. The Annals of African Surgery was represented by the Editor-in-Chief, Dr. James Kigera and Dr. Alex Okello, an Associate Editor.
Also present were representatives from Africa Journal Online, Elsevier, the Academy of Science of South Africa, and the Council of Science Editors. The Nation Library of Medicine (NLM) was also well represented.
The African Journal Partnership Program (AJPP) aims to give African medical research a much-needed global platform so that people all over the world can access and engage with research across the African continent by enhancing the capacity of African journal editors to disseminate scientific findings more broadly and expand their reach to a growing array of stakeholders.
The meeting's goal was to review progress made in the previous year and discuss ways to keep the African medical science and publishing project moving forward.
An overview of the 2022 report was presented in order to assess the development of the various journals, including our own. Among the highlights were improvements in metrics, diversity, and milestones, all of which the Annals of African Surgery attained.
Notable achievements from the previous year, 2022
AAS was one of the two journals that saw an improvement in metrics for production times. It was acknowledged that AAS had reduced the average time to the first decision from 63 days (2021) to 54 days.
In terms of diversity, AAS increased the proportion of board members from outside Kenya over the previous year, as well as the proportion of women on the editorial board. In terms of milestones, it was noted that AAS was one of 7 journals that held publishing workshops in 2022. AAS hosted three of the fifteen training workshops.
A significant development in the indexing of the various journals was discussed. For AAS, we are indexed in AJOL, DOAJ, Scopus, Hinari, Embase, Asian Digital Library, and Scimago. AAS together with the Malawi Medical Journal received attention for having the top website footers. The fact that AAS is one of the select few journals (3) with a graphic pixel element for browser tabs that helps identify the journal on open browser site tabs was also noted. In addition, AAS received recognition for being the only journal with both a podcast and a YouTube channel.
AAS received praise for the editorial internship program and the plans to start the editorial apprentice program. The internship program which was launched in 2016 aims to mentor the next generation of researchers, authors, reviewers and editors. 13 interns have completed the program thus far, with the first intern currently serving as one of the assistant editors.
The editorial apprentice program, which launched in June 2023, intends to bring together surgeons and residents who are interested in working with the journal. The primary purpose for the program is to train the next generation of editors.
Way forward for the journals
Various aspects of how to maintain the success of the journals were covered. The inclusion of artificial intelligence in scholarly publications was the primary focus. The subject was discussed in general, and recommendations for the use of AI in authorship, peer review, editorial judgment, and images were covered in depth.
The topic of ScholarOne Manuscripts was also covered, and various strategies for improving the user experience (UX) going forward for authors, reviewers, editors, and administrators were covered.
What’s in store for AAS?
The influence of AI in scholarly publishing was extensively discussed during the workshop. While we intend to harness AI for effective management of certain tasks in publication, we remain vigilant of the potential risks and will work to mitigate them. Additionally, we strive to continue being Africa's Premier Surgical Read.
We express special gratitude to Dr. James Kigera, our Editor-in-Chief, and the entire editorial team for driving and being instrumental in the journal's success.