With the last issue, ASL completed three decades of publishing research papers in the field of Ayurveda. It has been a long journey indeed and not without ups and downs, trials and tribulations. ASL was launched at at time when publication of research papers was not in the list of activities for the Ayurvedic physician, either as part of educational or professional obligations. The journal was a platform for modern scientists to voice their views, findings and observations concerning an ancient body of knowledge that had miraculously survived into modern times. For a long time, ASL was one of the few journals that was engaged in the task of publishing research papers in the field of Ayurveda and we look back thankfully at the most valuable contributions made by eminent researchers from different parts of the country and the world.
The very first issue of ASL included papers from the USA and Pakistan. And over the years, ASL evolved into a global platform for showcasing research on Ayurveda. In this process, ASL has witnessed many changes and transformations that have happened in the field of scientific publishing in the field of Ayurveda. New journals have been launched, new systems of publishing have been set up and in keeping with the need of the hour, ASL became the first journal in the field of Ayurveda to make available the archives of its published papers in electronic form (http://www.avpayurveda.com/downloads/cat_view/71-ancient-science-of-life.html) in the year 2008. Soon after this, ASL was seen experimenting with the idea of becoming an online journal and set up the online publication interface using the Open Journals Systems, an open source journal management and publications system (http://asl.ayurvedajournals.org). While it was in the process of bringing radical reforms in the standards of editorial and peer review, ASL also discontinued its print version. Having put a more robust editorial system in place, ASL is now happy to announce its metamorphosis by migrating to the Medknow platform and will be available again in both electronic and print form from the year 2012. The new website for ASL can be accessed at www.ancientscienceoflife.org. There is an online manuscript processing system, which allows submission of articles with tracking of its progress till proof stage and can be accessed at www.journalonweb.com/asl. New submissions to the journal are accepted only through this website.
It has been a matter of concern for authors that in spite of having a long history of publication, ASL was not indexed in important databases. To some extent, this situation was rectified when ASL came on the open journal systems platform. However, with the migration to Medknow, ASL is indexed in many more databases like Caspur, EBSCO Publishing's Electronic Databases, Expanded Academic ASAP, Genamics JournalSeek, Google Scholar, Index Copernicus, Indian Science Abstracts, OpenJGate, PrimoCentral, ProQuest, SCOLOAR, SIIC databases, DHARA, Summon by Serial Solutions and Ulrich's International Periodical Directory. Steps have been initiated to also index ASL in PubMed and the archives to be deposited in PubMed Central. The archives of all the 30 volumes of ASL published to date can be accessed on the new website of ASL (http://ancientscienceoflife.org/backissues.asp). The latest issues of ASL are also accessible through the new website and will be published simultaneously in the old and new websites until the December 2011 issue is released. Thereafter, the old website will cease to be functional. Even as ASL moved to Medknow, Medknow has also been undergoing a major transformation, having been acquired by Wolters Kluwer, a leading provider of information for professionals and students in medicine and allied health sciences. Thus, it is expected that ASL on the new publishing platform will have a wider reach and global outlook.
As we move forward, we continue to face the challenge of receiving high quality submissions for the journal from the Ayurvedic community. A cursory glance at the archives of ASL reveals that the overwhelming majority of submissions have come from researchers outside the field of Ayurveda. While multidisciplinary research is a much needed and welcome initiative for Ayurveda, it is also important that high quality research is conducted and reported by the Ayurvedic physicians with focus on their areas of core competence.
It appears that there is a need to emphasize on capacity building within the Ayurvedic community in terms of both conducting high quality research as well as publications. This calls for efforts at the level of education, especially postgraduate education in the field of Ayurveda. Research is not yet an attractive option for Ayurvedic professionals and the seed needs to be sown at the stage of education itself. The first lessons of conducting and publishing high quality research has to be introduced in the post graduate teaching programs to create research oriented professionals in the field of Ayurveda. Research journals in any field can grow only along with the academic activities of the discipline itself.
This is a problem that is faced by all the research journals being published in the field of Ayurveda. It might not be a bad idea for academicians managing Ayurvedic research journals to join hands together and facilitate the integration of good research and publication practices into the educational and professional activities of the Ayurvedic community.
Yes, ASL is ready for the metamorphosis. So are many journals in the field of Ayurveda. We look with much hope and enthusiasm to the future of scientific publishing in the field of Ayurveda that will position Ayurveda as a credible system of health care backed up by evidence generated through high quality research publications.
Yet, the metamorphosis will not be complete as long as the initiative is restricted to journal activity. Rather, it will become complete when the transformation will happen in the field of academic activities in Ayurveda. We fondly hope that the entry of ASL into the new system of journal publication will serve as an impetus to catalyze and complete the metamorphosis of research activities in the field of Ayurveda.