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Local and regional scientific journals are important factors in bridging gaps in health knowledge translation in low-and middle-income countries. We assessed indexing, citations and publishing standards of journals from the Eastern Mediterranean region.
For journals from 22 countries in the collection of the Index Medicus for the Eastern Mediterranean Region (IMEMR), we analyzed indexing in bibliographical databases and citations during 2006–2009 to published items in 2006 in Web of Science (WoS) and SCOPUS. Adherence to editorial and publishing standards was assessed using a special checklist.
Out of 419 journals in IMEMR, 19 were indexed in MEDLINE, 23 in WoS and 46 in SCOPUS. Their impact factors ranged from 0.016 to 1.417. For a subset of 175 journals with available tables of contents from 2006, articles published in 2006 from 93 journals received 2068 citations in SCOPUS (23.5% self-citations) and articles in 86 journals received 1579 citations in WoS (24.3% self-citations) during 2006–2009. Citations to articles came mostly from outside of the Eastern Mediterranean region (76.8% in WoS and 75.4% in SCOPUS). Articles receiving highest number of citations presented topics specific for the region. Many journals did not follow editorial and publishing standards, such addressing requirements about the patient’s privacy rights (68.0% out of 244 analyzed), policy on managing conflicts of interest (66.4%), and ethical conduct in clinical and animal research (66.4%).
Journals from the Eastern Mediterranean are visible in and have impact on global scientific community. Coordinated effort of all stakeholders in journal publishing, including researchers, journal editors and owners, policy makers and citation databases, is needed to further promote local journals as windows to the research in the developing world and the doors for valuable regional research to the global scientific community.