Year : 2016 | Volume
: 64 | Issue : 5 | Page : 331-
The relevance of indexed journals
Editor, Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, Chairman, Managing Director, Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital Pvt. Ltd., Wadala (West), Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Editor, Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, Chairman, Managing Director, Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital Pvt. Ltd., Wadala (West), Mumbai, Maharashtra
|How to cite this article:|
Natarajan S. The relevance of indexed journals.Indian J Ophthalmol 2016;64:331-331
|How to cite this URL:|
Natarajan S. The relevance of indexed journals. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 2016 [cited 2020 Jul 11 ];64:331-331
Available from: http://www.ijo.in/text.asp?2016/64/5/331/185583
The ultimate goal of research can be fully realized only when it gets published and the information is available to peers and researchers who can then read about it, analyze it, and constructively use the data in their own research to forward the cause of science. Therefore, in the bigger scheme of things - the availability and accessibility of published research to other researchers are extremely important. And this idea of collating, classifying, and cataloging journals is what was the driving force behind indexing agencies and databases. As of today, there are various such indexing agencies that allow authors to search and look up journals, such as MEDLINE, Elsevier's Embase and Scopus, EBSCO Publishing's Electronic Databases, and Scirus among others. There, however, seems to be some ambiguity among novice researchers about reliability, accessibility, and uniform acceptability of each of these indexing agencies.
Historically, Index Medicus was the first comprehensive bibliographic index of scientific journal articles primarily focusing on medical science. This was initiated in 1879 by the head of the Library of the Surgeon General's Office of the United States Army, John Shaw Billings. This library subsequently evolved into the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM). In the later years, as automation became more accessible, the NLM began computerizing the indexing work by creating a computerized biomedical bibliographic retrieval system called MEDLARS, the expansion of which was Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System. This bibliographic database soon became MEDLARS Online or MEDLINE. Index Medicus thus became the print presentation of the MEDLINE database's content. Index Medicus, however, stopped being printed in 2004 as online availability and accessibility had made its utility redundant. However, MEDLINE was still available only to a handful of libraries in the United States. As the Internet and its reach grew, the NLM's database was now made accessible to the general public through the database interface - PubMed in 1997. To summarize this history - the NLM, the world's largest medical library maintains a comprehensive database of medical literature known as MEDLINE. PubMed is a database access service. In other words, PubMed is one way to access MEDLINE.
In the field of medicine, MEDLINE is the largest and most exhaustive database in the world; it is therefore generally considered to be the first and most important database that researchers seek when looking for literature. However, not every journal that is published is MEDLINE indexed. The NLM has a committee appointed for the purpose of reviewing and recommending journals for inclusion in MEDLINE. Journals must first be suitable for the NLM collection and have subject material appropriate for MEDLINE before the committee considers them for review. As per the NLM's criteria for inclusion, a journal should demonstrate quality of editorial work, including features that contribute to the objectivity, credibility, and quality of its content.  At the end of the day, a MEDLINE-indexed journal certainly has more credibility than a non-indexed one. The Indian Journal of Ophthalmology (IJO) is one of the 86 ophthalmology journals the world over and the only ophthalmology journal from India to be currently MEDLINE indexed. This was not achieved overnight and the previous editors of the IJO must be commended for their efforts in getting IJO indexed by MEDLINE.
Therefore, whether a journal is indexed or not must be checked before submitting one's research for publication. The Medical Council of India recently laid down guidelines for appointments and promotions of teachers at medical institutions in India. Among the criteria used for promotions, publication of research in indexed journals is an essential requirement. While the merits and imperfections of these guidelines have been questioned at places, the fact remains that inclusion in the better indexing databases is a surrogate marker of the journal's merit. 
We, at IJO, strive in making our readers aware of different aspects in the sphere of scientific publishing. Our recent editorial on predatory publishing was well received and we shall continue to highlight such issues that are of relevance to authors and researchers the world over.
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