Recognizing the Relevance of History and Shaping the Future of the Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health (APJPH)
Loh, Wah Yun, (2008) Recognizing the Relevance of History and Shaping the Future of the Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health (APJPH). Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health, 20 (1). pp. 5-6. ISSN 1-800-818-7243
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Official URL: http://aph.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/20/1/5
University of Malaya. Faculty of Medicine
As the new Editor-in-Chief starting with the 20th volume of the Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health (APJPH), I would like to highlight the history of the journal in relation to the objectives of the Asia-Pacific Academic Consortium for Public Health (APACPH) and to share my vision for the journal. APJPH serves as the flagship of APACPH, dedicated to articulating its mission to enhance the quality of professional education for public health and primary health care in member institutions. Over the past 20 years, the journal has been transformed under the strong leadership of very capable editors. As an active member of the Editorial Board, I have seen the journal mature and grow with the commitment to bring out the best in public health research, service, and training, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. My predecessors have left a much-valued legacy of stewardship and deserve our appreciation. Since its inaugural issue in 1987, under the editorship of Professor Wai On Phoon at the National University of Singapore, the journal has completed 20 years of publication. This is a remarkable feat! In 1997, the journal, then under editorship of Professor Hin Peng Lee, moved from the National University of Singapore to the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, where Professor Anuar Zaini Md Zain took over as chief editor. At that time, I began to take responsibility for managing the journal. With the transition to Sage Publications and my appointment as the Editor-in-Chief, the editorial management has been restructured. Members of the new Editorial Board have been appointed to review the objectives of the journal. The Kuala Lumpur Editorial Committee will continue on and supplement the duties of the Editorial Board. We hope that the new publishing arrangement with Sage Publications and the strengthening of the Editorial Board will encourage more international submissions and allow the journal to continue to maintain its unique and important focus on public health issues and challenges facing Asia-Pacific countries. As we enter the third decade of publication as the premier public health journal in the Asia-Pacific region and in keeping with the mission of APACPH, I would like to share my vision for APJPH in this era of globalization and rapid electronic communications. Most important, APJPH is one of the largest and most well-respected peer-reviewed public health journals within the Asia-Pacific region. This forward-looking journal should not just remain regional but should seek to become more global (in developed, developing, and less developed nations) in character and interdisciplinary in perspective for scientific advances in public health. Second, the readership of this journal should not be limited to public health specialists, which would limit knowledge sharing to a small group of professionals and could lose the critical opportunity to assess, use, and more widely influence research applications for public health practice. The expertise other professionals bring to public health (such as environmental engineers, chemists, managers, allied health professionals, nurses, nutritionists, and policy makers) needs to be actively nurtured and disseminated. Constantly emerging problems, from AVN flu to disasters and drug resistance, for which we do not have all the answers, only accentuate the need for scientific partnerships. We need a multidisciplinary milieu: from basic scientists across professional fields to economists and policy makers who will make a difference in the improvement of public health globally. This is the challenge I will face with the Editorial Board—to find the right mix of experts to address public health issues in the journal. Third, I will endeavor to encourage the shift of our journal to become a more effective international forum for the exchange of advances in public health advocating for original research and evidence-based approaches in public health and health care, as well as adopting a rigorous approach in establishing the editorial review. It is hoped that these efforts will result in further improvement in the quality of the published manuscripts in the journal. Fourth, we need to solicit the best-quality public health papers from our readers and will start to provide organized thematic issues for the journal. As part of that process, we will need to shorten the interval between submission and publication. The editorial office has the commitment to make that goal a priority. The review process will be implemented with turnaround times measured in weeks rather than months. Over recent years, we have worked hard, and we are heartened to see that the number of manuscripts submitted to the journal is steadily increasing. Since then, the journal has progressed from a biannual to a now quarterly publication. In 2008, the journal will be published quarterly with possibly some additional special issues and conference proceedings. With the advent of the electronic information age, journal content online has grown tremendously. APJPH content will be fully available online, including many back issues of content. The journal site can be visited at http://aph.sagepub.com. This technology will ultimately allow the journal to fully address the needs of its member institutions, readers, and contributors and make content more readily available to the public in a timely manner.
The current setup of the journal management has its limitations, especially in terms of advertising and marketing. With the new and exciting partnership with renowned Sage Publications, the production, marketing, and promotional activities of the journal will be significantly enhanced. The change in the new Editorial Board membership will also help create the necessary balance among specialties in the area of public health, new ideas, and editorial experience. The Editorial Board, in partnership with its member institutions, will coordinate and run publishing workshops to mentor up-and-coming authors, particularly from non-English-speaking countries in the developing or less economically developed nations in the Asia-Pacific region. This mentorship will help to develop the English writing skills of international authors and encourage them to submit papers to the journal. The hallenge of the new Editorial Board is to provide creative ways for the journal to support the consortium’s mission of improving health care, research, and teaching. Finally, our collective goal is that APJPH will be a leader in promoting the integration of medical, social, and behavioral research into public health research and care. By encompassing an interdisciplinary, international, and integrative approach, the journal will provide an important and unique perspective in its 21st year of publication and develop a vital niche for the community of researchers, practitioners, and students involved in public health.
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