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Transition and momentum for the MMJ in 2016… and a promising start to 2017

15 February 2017

Welcome to the News & Multimedia section of the Malawi Medical Journal website! We would like to introduce this new section of our site with a look back at our achievements in 2016 and a glance ahead at some of the plans we have for the MMJ in the near future.

What a busy and eventful year 2016 was for the MMJ! Some of the highlights include:

The Chiwoza Bandawe and Andrew Mataya with Howard Bauchner, Editor in Chief of JAMA at the JAMA offices in Chicago, 25 May 2016

The MMJ’s Chiwoza Bandawe and Andrew Mataya with Howard Bauchner, Editor in Chief of JAMA, at the JAMA offices in Chicago, 25 May 2016

  • June

    • 13 June: Release of the 2016 Thomson Reuters Journal Citations Reports (JCR)
      <i>MMJ</i> Impact Factor 2012 to 2016

      MMJ Impact Factor 2012 to 2016

      • The MMJ’s Impact factor of 0.837 was a great improvement over previous years
  • July

    • 1 July: Dr Lucinda Manda-Taylor began her term as editor-in-chief of the MMJ
      • Chiwoza Bandawe stepped down as editor of the MMJ, after seven years in the role; he remains a member of the MMJ editorial board
    • In the subsequent weeks, the organisational structure of the editorial team was formally revised, reflected by the following changes:
      • Prof. Malcolm Molyneux, formerly editor-in-chief, became editor-in-chief (emeritus)
      • Dr Lucinda Manda-Taylor, formerly an editorial board member, became editor-in-chief
      • Dr Chiwoza Bandawe, formerly editor, became an editorial board member
      • Mr Thengo Kavinya, formerly desk editor, became managing editor
      • Dr Andrew Mataya, formerly intern, became deputy editor
  • August

    • Four new members joined the MMJ editorial board, listed below with their current primary institutional affiliations:
      • Belinda Gombachika, PhD – Kamuzu College of Nursing, University of Malawi
      • Arox Kamng’ona, PhD – College of Medicine, University of Malawi
      • Linda Nyondo-Mipando, PhD – College of Medicine, University of Malawi
      • Elizabeth Tilley, PhD – The Polytechnic, University of Malawi
    • 8 August: The MMJ officially launched its new website, with a fresh redesign and improved navigation. More improvements to come!
    • 8 August: MMJ Deputy Editor, Andrew Mataya, accepted a role as a freelance adviser for The BMJ’s Analysis section
      BMJ news story with the announcement of Dr Mataya's appointment as an adviser

      BMJ news story with the announcement of Dr Mataya’s appointment as an adviser

  • September

    • 13 September: Fanuel Bickton (4th-year physiotherapy student, College of Medicine), Yohane Gadama (intern doctor at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre), and Mphatso Phiri (also intern doctor at QECH) marked their first official day as MMJ interns (“official” must be specified,  because they were keen to get started and played active roles in the MMJ’s presence during the Silver Jubilee celebrations the previous week)
  • November

    • 10 November: The MMJ interns successfully launched the MMJ Journal Club for students at the College of Medicine. The first session attracted 61 student participants, and the continued attendance and participation at subsequent journal club meetings has been encouraging.
      MMJ Students' Journal Club launch, 10 November 2016

      MMJ Students’ Journal Club launch, 10 November 2016

  • December

We intend to build on the momentum generated in 2016 with an even more prosperous 2017. We have started well in that regard, beginning the year with a month-long visit from Cynthia Clark, Director of Digital Journals, Journal-branded Solutions, and Research & Academic Products at Elsevier in New York. We have already benefitted a great deal from Cynthia’s energy and expertise and look forward to continued collaboration with her. She was paired with the Malawi Medical Journal as part of Elsevier’s “Publishers without Borders” (PwB) programme, and we look forward to receiving further visits from two more PwB volunteers later in the year: Dr Justine Davies, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, and Jayne Dawkins, Marketing Communications Manager, based at the Elsevier offices in Philadelphia.

The MMJ's Thengo Kavinya, and Lucinda Manda-Taylor with Elsevier PwB, Cynthia Clark, 20 January 2017

The MMJ’s Thengo Kavinya, Lucinda Manda-Taylor, and Andrew Mataya with Elsevier PwB, Cynthia Clark, 20 January 2017

We are delighted that our success has not gone unnoticed—with encouraging words and messages received from readers, authors, and reviewers alike. Further evidence of increased interest in the MMJ has been our ever increasing submission figures. In January 2017, we received 38 original submissions to our ScholarOne Manuscripts peer review site, which was substantially greater than our previous high of 22 (which occurred the previous month and once in 2015). To put this into perspective: we are only just over two weeks into February and we have already received more submissions in 2017 (61) than we did for the entire year in 2007 (36, not including January), 2008 (56), 2009 (40), 2010 (52), 2011 (42), and 2012 (56). Our peer review turnaround times, which had been steadily improving until the middle of 2016, have unfortunately begun to reflect the challenge posed by this increased submission rate. However, we are up to the task—our team has been steadily growing in order to deal with this challenge, and we will continue to add to our capacity going forward. We appreciate the patience exhibited by authors who have been waiting for manuscript decisions for longer than previous MMJ-published authors had grown accustomed to.

MMJ Monthly Original Submissions Received Feb 2007 to Jan 2017

MMJ Monthly Original Submissions Received Feb 2007 to Jan 2017

MMJ Yearly Original Submissions Received 2007 to 2016

MMJ Yearly Original Submissions Received 2007 to 2016

Under the guidance of Dr Lucinda Manda-Taylor, and after much strategising in the latter months of 2016 and early weeks of 2017, we have some exciting plans to expand and improve the MMJ in the near and distant future, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Adding associate editors (based locally and internationally) and an international advisory panel to strengthen our expertise and capacity
  • Putting together a peer review coordination committee to help improve peer review turnaround times
  • New content types and website sections (including Online First articles, published ahead of inclusion in MMJ issues)
  • Improvements to the website layout
  • Reintroduction of special/themed issues, starting with an issue focusing on noncommunicable diseases (June 2017)

We thank you for your continued support of the Malawi Medical Journal, and we look forward to a long future of being a valuable source of clinical and healthcare-related research output and content for the healthcare community in Malawi, Africa, and beyond.

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