Expanding horizons for the Journal: The role of the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Foundation
Version of Record online: 26 FEB 2003
Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Volume 18, Issue 3, pages 235–236, March 2003
How to Cite
FARRELL, G. C. (2003), Expanding horizons for the Journal: The role of the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Foundation. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 18: 235–236. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1746.2003.03001.x
- Issue online: 26 FEB 2003
- Version of Record online: 26 FEB 2003
See articles in J. Gastroenterol. Hepatol. 2003; 18: 124–138, 246–252
This issue of the Journal contains a review article by Y-F Liaw entitled ‘Hepatitis flares and hepatitis B e antigen seroconversion: Implication in anti-hepatitis B virus therapy’.1 This lecture was delivered to the World Congress of Gastroenterology, Bangkok, February 2002 as the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (JGH) State-of-the-Art Lecture (SOL). In a recent issue of the Journal, we published a review by GC Farrell entitled ‘Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis: What is it, and why is it important in the Asia–Pacific region?’.2 This constituted the first Okuda Lecture presented to the 16th Biennial Meeting of the Asian–Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver in Taipei, September 2002. The eponym ‘Okuda Lecture’ was chosen (with permission) by the Trustees of the JGH Foundation to link the name of Professor Kunio Okuda, Chiba, Japan with the JGH SOL, so as to honor in perpetuity the founding Editor-in-Chief of this Journal, an outstanding scholar and pioneer leader of our specialty in this region and throughout the world with promulagation of the mission of the Journal.3
The convergence of manuscripts from these two lectures given 6 months apart indicates changes that are afoot in the Journal. The first is the increasing participation of the JGH Foundation to promote the highest standards of clinical practice, education, training and research in gastroenterology and hepatology, with particular commitment to the Asia–Pacific region. The origins and aspirations of the JGH Foundation, and its role in what is now an annual Asia–Pacific Digestive Week (APDW) meeting, have been the subject of a previous editorial.3 The rules of the Okuda Lecture specify submission of a manuscript based on this keynote SOL at the time of each APDW, so that the lecture contents can be published in JGH within a few months of the meeting. This accords with the linkage between JGH and APDW, as discussed previously.3 The JGH Foundation also sponsors Young Investigator Awards and travel scholarships to major regional meetings, with particular emphasis on APDW. Information about these opportunities will be promulgated from time to time in the pages of this journal, as well as on the APAGE website (http://www.apage.org) and individual APDW websites as they appear (Beijing 2004, Seoul 2005). As discussed earlier, the JGH Trust also provides seeding grants to encourage the development of Consensus Conferences, with their outcomes (Practice Guidelines and the like) to be published in JGH.4
The second major development is the formal signing of a covenant between the JGH Foundation and the publisher (Blackwell Publishing Asia) as joint owners of the Journal. By this historic step, 50% ownership of the Journal passes effectively to ‘regional gastroenterology/hepatology’. The JGH Foundation is now a legally incorporated body in Hong Kong and the state of Victoria in Australia. So who are the ‘faceless men’ (no women yet) who constitute the JGH Foundation Trustees? The seven present Trustees are (all professors) G Farrell (Australia: convenor), N Sato (Japan: treasurer; convenor of finance committee), WF Doe (UK), SK Lam (Hong Kong, China), Y-F Liaw (Taipei), K Okuda (Japan) and R Tandon (India). The Executive Officer of the JGH Trust is Ms Debbie Schoer (email@example.com). Trustees will be replaced in due course, but will always come from the ranks of present or emeritus editors of JGH. Most particularly, there is to be a Board of Governors for the JGH Trust, comprised of present and emeritus editors and representatives of regional bodies that adopt the Journal. This Board will oversee appointment of Trustees and ensure wider regional representation.
Joint ownership of JGH by the JGH Foundation and the publisher mandates a structure for joint management. This has been realized by creation of The JGH Publishing Board, comprised officially of two representatives each from the JGH Trust and Blackwell Publishing Asia. Since its first meeting in September 2001 (Sydney), the Publishing Board has proved to be an effective body for management of the Journal, and for strategically pushing forward with the wider mission of JGH.3
The third change mooted for JGH is to rationalize the structure of the Editorial Board. As regional representation for promulgation of the development of JGH and its mission now rests with the Board of Governors of the JGH Foundation, it seems timely to review what has previously been listed inside the front page of each issue as the International Advisory Panel. We are grateful for the enormous contribution that colleagues within and outside the Asia–Pacific region have made to establishing the growing reputation of JGH. However, the main challenges currently impacting on our competitive position in the rank of journals in gastroenterology are to improve efficiency of review (to allow more rapid publication of work) and to attract manuscripts of the highest possible clinical and scientific standard.
In order to make effective responses to these challenges, the Publishing Board has decided to introduce an Editorial Board of willing and efficient reviewers and contributors to the Journal. In addition to established and still active leaders in the specialties of gastroenterology and hepatology, younger ‘rising stars’ will be identified to serve on this Board. The aim is to provide a ‘ginger group’ to energize the Journal at a time when its stocks (circulation and impact factor) are improving steadily but could benefit from further impetus. The Trustees and the Editors look forward to working with those vitally interested in Asian–Pacific gastroenterology and hepatology to lift this journal and what it can achieve for development of this specialty to the top 10 by 2010.
The author is grateful to Amanda Davis, Blackwell Publishing Asia, Melbourne, for helpful comments on a draft manuscript of this editorial, and to Debbie Schoer for assisting with its preparation.