WAME Board Report 2001-2003

Dear Colleagues,

WAME rarely meets "in vivo"—the last time was at the 2001 Peer Review Conference in Barcelona, where the posts of past officers were confirmed and plans set for the future. As of January 2004, new officers have taken the leadership of WAME. As the past officers, we submit a brief report on our work, and set the frame for WAME activities in the next three years.

Perhaps the most important development for WAME in 2001-2003 was its growth: we grew from 601 members, representing 354 journals from 56 countries, in September 2001 to 1003 members, representing 620 journals from 75 countries, by the end of December 2003.

The WAME Web site and Listserve continued to serve the members by providing information and exchanging experiences among the members. In 2003, we finished the work on the new design and structure of the Web site, which will be launched in spring 2004. We are very grateful to JAMA for continued support and logistics of the Web site.

The Listserve discussions, maintained by the United States' National Library of Medicine, sparkled up now and then, especially about ethical (and sometimes political) issues. Some of the more interesting discussions have been compiled on a separate Web page (http://www.wame.org/listserve-discussion) and are continually updated. The topics included to date are "Free Access to Medical Research," "Impact Factor," "Indigenous: To Capitalize or Not," and "Pictures of Patients."

Publication and editorial ethics was one of the major topics on the Listserve, and Ethics Committee was perhaps the busiest WAME Committee. The Web site section on ethics (http://www.wame.org/resources/ethics-resources/) rapidly developed, and now includes Ethics Consultations, where the Committee comments on ethical issues in cases submitted by the members. The summaries of the cases are posted on the Web as WAME Ethics Discussions. The Ethics Web section also features "Web Resources on Publication and Research Ethics" (http://www.wame.org/resources/ethics-resources/ethics-web-resources/), compiled by Alexei Brovko for the Ethics Committee. The Committee is also working on the WAME Code of Publication Ethics, which will be posted on the Web site in near future.

WAME also posted several important policy statements as a basis of defining and improving standards of editorial work (http://www.wame.org/resources/policies). These were "The Responsibilities of Medical Editors," "Regional Workshops for Medical Editors," "Journals' Role in Managing Conflict of Interest Related to the Funding of Research," "Free Journal Access for Poor Nations," and "Editorial Independence." The WAME Policy Committee, chaired by Robert Fletcher, drafted the statements.

One of the most often used source on the WAME Web site has been "A Syllabus for Prospective and Newly Appointed Editors"—a brief educational resource for both "new" and "old" editors (http://www.wame.org/resources/editor-s-syllabus). We are extremely grateful for the efforts of Robert Utiger, for the Education Committee, in creating the syllabus. The work on the updated version of the Syllabus is in progress.

WAME promoted educational activities for editors in different regions of the world, and offered help to local organizers of regional workshops for editors. WAME contributed to the inauguration of a regional association of editors in Africa, the Forum for African Medical Editors (FAME). FAME was created during the Consultative Meeting and Workshop for Strengthening African Medical Journals, Geneva, 14-16 October 2002, organized by UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR). WAME also participated in the meeting on Mental Health Research in Developing Countries: Role of Scientific Journals, organized by the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, WHO, in Geneva, 20-21 November 2003. This initiative aims at galvanizing mental health research in low- and middle-income countries, and targets medical journal editors as the key figures in research capacity building in their scientific communities. Together with the Council of Science Editors, European Association of Science Editors and other editorial organizations, we submitted a proposal for training of editors in developing countries to the Grand Challenges in Global Health program.

We would appreciate your comments and thoughts on the Web site and activities in the next three years. Write directly to the new officers and tell us how we can better connect and improve the global editorial community in the health sciences. We also wish the very best to you all in the new year.

Ana Marusic, Past President, and Bruce Squires, Past Secretary, for the WAME Board