WAME Third Business Meeting

Chicago, September 17, 2005

The second meeting of WAME members was held during the Fifth International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication. Peush Sahni, President of WAME, discussed the growth of WAME and overall characteristics of member journals. He reviewed the main goals of WAME reached at the WAME conference in Bellagio, Italy, and discussed progress on those goals. Margaret Winker, Secretary of WAME, discussed the WAME Web site. The Web site has been hosted by JAMA for nearly a decade and will be moving to BMJ, where it will have a number of new features. The new Web site design will include a search engine and organization by topic area as well as by resource type, and hopefully access control to allow member voting and possibly member surveys. Next, Ana Marusic discussed educational outreach efforts by WAME and the goal of providing more educational outreach. She pointed out that WAME has been subsisting on the same original donations by large medical journals it has used for years. Additional funding would help WAME further its goals. Finally, there was extensive discussion from the audience regarding suggestions and editorial needs. Ideas included:

  • Greater collaboration between WAME and other related organizations, including ICMJE, FAME, and EMAME. It was pointed out that WAME and ICMJE should not become too close since they serve different purposes, but there should be synergies between the two. Ana said that as President of WAME she met with the ICMJE editors and there has been cooperation between the 2 groups. For example, WAME endorsed the Clinical Trials Registry statement (http://www.bmjpg.com/wame/resources/policies#trialreg) that the ICMJE put forth, with the suggestion that "Editors of small journals with limited resources should be engaged in this process to ensure that their role in registries is feasible in their setting."
  • Addressing the needs of smaller journals, which are different and perhaps more on a practical day to day operational level than those of large journals. These needs include how to attract articles, how to find competent reviewers, complete peer review, and deal with desktop publishing. A formal needs assessment for such journals was suggested.
  • How to handle editor transitions to prepare the incoming editor and ease the transition, how to train editorial board members and how to review their performance
  • Listserve: some members persist in raising inappropriately political or religious issues. The procedure for handling such issues was reviewed, which includes the listserve owner (at present, Bruce Squires) first contacting the author of the e-mail and providing the listserve code of conduct (http://wame.org/wametalk.htm#code), while explaining how the particular e-mail is not appropriate for WAME. If the discussion persists, the author is contacted again by Bruce, with a stronger reprimand. The final step (hopefully not necessary) is removing the individual from the listserve. Screening listserves before posting was discussed as not technically feasible currently but more importantly not desirable since this is a member listserve and screening e-mail would be a form of censorship. Two examples of how regional or specialty-specific journals can help coordinate efforts and facilitate communication between editors is the La Asociación de Editores de Revistas Biomédicas Venezolanas (ASEREME, or the Association of Editors of Venezelan Biomedical Journals) and Editors’ Forum, a collaborative effort among editors of radiology-related journals. The point was made by Maria del Carmen Ruiz Alocer (Mexico) that success in such communication and organizing comes from working with and supporting pre-existing national organizations, not from trying to create regional ones.

An ongoing issue for small medical journals is to whom they can turn when they have questions and issues to discuss. Peush pointed out that the listserve is an excellent resource to learn the opinions of other editors who may have encountered the same problems and have ideas of how to deal with them.