AbstractDuring my years of scientific work in Colombia, I have faced administrative difficulties which deserve comments to help improve these situations. Although the whole procedure of doing science in our country is a greater challenge than in the developed world, I would like to highlight some specific points where I feel we can take some measures to help our work.i) The very slow editorial processes of the journals. This is actually a problem shared by other countries in the region; however, our journals call my attention given the very slow and cumbersome process of revising and publishing a manuscript. This is, I feel, a problem for the whole scientific community in the country, which involves a journal editor and goes through the referees and the authors of the manuscripts. Table 1 illustrates how serious the problem is; it shows the mean number of days for accepting and publishing original papers and reviews papers that appeared in three biomedical journals category A (according to Publindex, by Colciencias www.colciencias.gov.co) in Colombia during the past two years, compared to the time taken for the same procedures in three international biomedical journals, matched by topic with the Colombian ones and also ranked A according to the homologation issued by Colciencias. Our journals published 214 papers during the last two years, with a mean of 214 days for a paper to be accepted and 334 days for it to be published. These numbers are far above those found for international journals in which a manuscript takes only 137 days to be accepted and 229 days to be published (n=205). Moreover, the international journals published online versions of the accepted papers up to 6 months in advance of the printed publication. Our delays affect the visibility and impact of our research, and because the speed of publication is an important issue for authors when choosing a journal to submit manuscripts, our numbers deter potential international authors. I would like to suggest some measures that can be taken to improve our numbers: to include as a criteria for the classification of the journals an index of the speed of manuscript publication; to improve process management with the help of specialized softwares; to publish the times taken by the referees to evaluate the works, for instance in the section devoted to listing their names as used by some journals; to conduct pedagogy on the importance of timely revision of a manuscript for a colleague; to create precise short forms to be filled out by the referees; to unify the instructions to authors for all the journals in a given field; to increase the database of reviewers for the journals with national and international scientists; to pay for the evaluation depending on the time taken by the reviewer; to include a strict deadline for the authors to send back a corrected version of a revised manuscript; to move from printed, more expensive journals, to online, cheaper journals, as a means of increasing the number of pages per issue.
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