LETTER TO THE DIRECTOR

 

For a higher quality magazine from the scientific critique

 

Por una revista de mayor calidad desde la crítica científica

 

 

Lázaro Roque Pérez1, Carmen Rosa Carmona Pentón 1

1Medical Science University of Villa Clara. Medical Science Faculty "Lidia Doce Sánchez". Villa Clara. Cuba. lazarorp@undoedu.vcl.sld.cu

 

 

Received: September 20, 2018
Accepted: October 04, 2018
Published: January 1, 2019


Dear Director;

Recently, in the Editorial Note Section of the Universidad Médica Pinareña Journal, an article(1) was published that makes reference to the new changes in the journal; changes that have favorably been made to increase the frequency of dissemination of articles, their visibility, along with the improvement of the Journal´s appearance which socializes the scientific work carry out by Cuban students of Medical Sciences.

These changes, have been made thanks to the constant work of the editorial team, together with the growing scientific relevance of the works published in this journal, it is possible to affirm that it has a high-quality content compared to previous years. However, much remains to be done so that this periodical publication continues its achievement in quality and, therefore, in visibility and impact.

One of the pending tasks in this sense corresponds, not precisely, to the editorial team of the journal, but to other actors involve in the process of publication: the readers; to produce and to publish the letters to the director that deal with a well-founded scientific criticism.

Defined by some scientific journals as that one which "provides opinions, observations or experiences that by their characteristics can be summarized in a short text"(2); the scientific analysis is usually published in this type of journal in the section "Letters to the director" or "Letters to the editor". This section contains short communications that can be developed, generally, in three formats(3):

  • Issuance of criteria in agreement or conceptual, methodological and interpretative disagreement with the content, etc., concerning any original article, review, editorial, or other format, previously published in a journal (essentially a well-founded scientific criticism).
  • Approach topics or topics of professional interest for readers.
  • Presentation of a research that would not be published in the format of an original or brief original article.

It is a reality that there is a low production of letters to the director in the journals of Cuban students of Medical Sciences(4); however, from volume 11, number 2 of 2015, the Universidad Médica Pinareña Journal has published at least one letter in each number, which is certainly favorable, however all these letters have been aimed at addressing current medical issues, ethics, student research or medical education of interest to readers; and not precisely making comments in agreement or disagreement with the aspects contained in the published works, but a well-founded scientific criticism has not been published in more than 10 years of the creation of the journal.

Although it is conceived that the letters to the director have several important objectives as seen previously, it is considered that scientific criticism is the most relevant objective because it allows the establishment of a bidirectional communication, interaction of researchers, academics and students, undoubtedly promotes the development of Science by favoring the activity that produces new ideas(5); In addition, according to López-Hernández et al.(3), it constitutes a continuance of the process of review of manuscripts.

The letters to the director serve as a kind of post-publication arbitration(5), since it gives the reader the opportunity to become a referee who is capable of issuing a significant judgment that can increase the quality of what has already been published by the journal with new points of view, perhaps pointing out methodological inaccuracies and even, why not, conceptual errors; which does not constitute a conflict with the author or the journal as Castillo-González et al.(2), states, but quite the contrary. A well-founded scientific criticism seeks and reflects the improvement and development of science.

The exchange of ideas or opinions among authors and readers, motivated by an original article, can be as interesting as the original article that triggered the exchange of correspondence(3) and, therefore, as read as this one.

Nowadays, the number of publications that have the space or section "Letters to the director", in the structure of the publication, grows. Traditionally, this section occupies numbered pages of the journal, as a result such communications are registered in the bibliographic indexes and can be handled, if necessary, as bibliographic references, so from the metric point of view, and they generate citations for both the author and journal(2).

Within the relevance of this section for the journals there is also the fact that, although indirectly, the number of letters to the director reflects how much the journal is read(5). Well-founded scientific criticism of an article in a review shows the interest, debate and the controversy that exists among readers about it; therefore, the greater were the numbers of articles sent to the journal to be published, the greater were the readings and the debates related to it.

Scientific criticism is a modality of publication as another one, and the most important journals all over the world, and those with the greatest impact, include it in their pages(2), then, why not collaborate to make the Universidad Médica Pinareña Journal a journal of higher quality by writing and sending well-founded scientific criticism to be published on its pages

Unfortunately, as Miyahira(5) seed, the prevailing culture is basically oral, the research articles are read critically, critical reading is taught to students, but letters to the director are not written or they are not taught to write letters to the director. This may be the basic cause of the nullity of publications in relation to scientific criticism in the Revista Universidad Médica Pinareña: the ignorance by the readers of how to write an article of this type, or perhaps, a bit beyond, the lack of knowledge that this modality of publication exists.

For these reasons, the authors of this letter invite readers to be well-documented on the subject, for which a very useful article entitled "Scientific criticism: a methodological proposal"(2), in which the authors, having a wide ranging experience, have collected a precise guideline regarding the different steps to write a well-founded scientific criticism.

To finish, it simply remains to encourage readers to send their letters regarding a well-founded scientific criticism to the editor of this Journal to support it and to continue with the increase of its quality, always respecting the ethics, with the aim of promoting the scientific debate where both enriches the medical journals, and it is an indispensable contribution to the development of science; and a further call, being this one or even a more ambitious objective, the reply of these letters.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES

1. Vitón Castillo AA, Lazo Herrera LA. Estado actual y perspectivas de la Revista Universidad Médica Pinareña. Revista Universidad Médica Pinareña [Internet]. 2018 [citado 2018 Sep 20]; 14(3): 197-199. Disponible en: http://galeno.pri.sld.cu/index.php/galeno/article/view/540/pdf

2. Castillo-González W, Dorta-Contreras AJ. Crítica científica. Una propuesta metodológica. 16 de Abril [Internet]. 2017 [citado 2018 Sep 17]; 56(263): 21-25. Disponible en: http://www.rev16deabril.sld.cu/index.php/16_04/article/view/576/pdf_124

3. López-Hernández D, Brito-Aranda L, Torres-Fonseca A. Importancia y redacción de la carta al editor. Rev Esp Méd Quir [Internet]. 2014 [citado 2018 Sep 17]; 19(4): 475-478. Disponible en: http://www.redalyc.org/html/473/47333055011/

4.Corrales-Reyes IE. Baja publicación de cartas al editor en las revistas médicas estudiantiles cubanas. Educ Med [Internet]. 2017 [citado 2018 Sep 17]. Disponible en: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.edumed.2017.09.007

5. Miyahira JM. Importancia de las Cartas al editor. Rev Med Hered [Internet]. 2010 [citado 2018 Sep 17]; 21(2): 57-58. Disponible en: http://www.upch.edu.pe/vrinve/dugic/revistas/index.php/RMH/article/view/1128/1144


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