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Science Editing > Volume 4(2); 2017 > Article
Kim: The 4th Asian Science Editors’ Conference and Workshop 2017
The Council of Asian Science Editors (CASE), a nonprofit organization, was officially founded in July, 2014. It is the preeminent space for Asian science editors to share ideas and useful information with each other. The 2017 CASE international conference was held on July 6 and 7, 2017 at Nong Lam University in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by CASE, the Vietnam Association of Science Editing, and Nong Lam University. In this conference, Elsevier and Editage participated as official sponsors with the support of the Korean Council of Science Editors and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information. A total of 100 participants attended the conference, and most of the participants were journal editors affiliated with universities in Vietnam or academic societies. The main theme of the conference was “Promotion of Asian journals to the international level,” and it was organized into 12 sessions held over 2 days.
At the preconference on July 6, several presentations were held, mostly comprising introductory sessions on state-of-the-art technical aspects of journal publishing. Each participant chose to attend one of two concurrent thematic sessions, depending on his or her individual interest. I attended a session on Crossref in the morning. During the same time slot, there was another session on journal formatting standards, chaired by Hyungsun Kim of Inha University. Four speakers presented on the following 4 issues for 30 minutes each before a question-and-answer period: front matter, the format of the first page of articles, instructions for back matter, and copyright transfer. The seminar featured a period for participants to practice based on the speakers’ presentations and get immediate feedback. Overall, the workshop was more practical than I had expected.
At another morning session on July 6, Sun Huh from Hallym University discussed the state-of-the-art technology of Crossref, and a librarian at Ho Chi Minh University gave a presentation entitled “How to use similarity check,” which described how antiplagiarism programs are currently used in Vietnam. As has been the case for participants from other Asian nations, the Vietnamese participants showed great interest in the presentation, and this was the session with the most questions and answers between participants and the speakers. Finally, a staff member of Turnitin presented a talk entitled “Practice of Similarity Check,” in which concrete ways of using this resource were discussed; this helped me to develop an integrated theoretical and practical understanding of this tool.
A luncheon was served at the cafeteria of Nong Lam University, where the conference was held. It seemed to me that the conference committee prepared the event with great care, as international conferences are seldom held at the university. There were many conference-related placards by the roadside, and of particular note, although the cafeteria was within a 5-minute walk from the conference venue, golf carts were made available to give a ride to every participant due to the hot weather. This consideration reminded me once again of the kindness of the Vietnamese people. While eating traditional Vietnamese food and having conversations with journal editors from various places in Vietnam, I came to the realization that Vietnamese academic societies are also under significant pressure in terms of SCI (Science Citation Index) registration and the internationalization of academic journals.
After lunch, the seminar was divided into 2 sessions: one on digital standards of journal publication including JATS (journal article tag suite) extensible markup language (XML), Crossmark, and ORCID (open researcher and contributor ID), and one on learning the actual practice of manuscript editing. In the latter session, a speaker explained the overall practice of manuscript editing, and these sessions were followed by a practicum for participants using actual manuscripts and a question-and-answer period. During the practicum, the speaker walked around to respond to questions from the participants. The Vietnamese participants were very enthusiastic, asking many questions while editing manuscripts in person and continuing to discuss their questions with the speaker after the presentation. The session was very helpful for actual manuscript editors, because it allowed us to learn new techniques, practice them, and ask questions on the spot. Following this session, I gave a presentation entitled “Promoting your journal for maximum impact.” After introducing the Web of Science and the selection criteria of Scopus, I described ways to increase citation rates, as they are crucial elements in the aforementioned citation index databases. Furthermore, I introduced various new journal evaluation indices and the h-index, which measures the individual scholarly achievements of editors, as well as ways to increase the journal citation rate using social media.
The opening ceremony was held at 5 p.m. on July 6. Welcome greetings were delivered by the president of Nong Lam University and other key personnel, after which Chris Hammond, the publishing director of Elsevier, gave a lecture entitled “Meeting the changing needs of the researcher.” Hammond described how Elsevier is preparing to improve the credibility of journals, citing actual statistics to show that more than 52% of researchers question the reproducibility of studies in published research papers.
In what may have been a manifestation of the traditional characteristics of Vietnam, it was very impressive that the relevant key personnel individually shook hands with each of the invited key speakers as they walked down the podium after their extensive welcome greetings. Furthermore, it was a fruitful experience as a speaker of the seminar to watch how an individual letter of appreciation was given to all members of the seminar committee and speakers at the podium (Fig. 1).
The dinner banquet was held at the university cafeteria, and included traditional Vietnamese food. During the dinner, I was touched by the warmth and kindness exhibited by the Vietnamese conference committee, who went to each table to shake hands with the participants and ask them about the food.
On the second day of the conference, the regular session began with the first keynote lecture, entitled “Helping publishers get closer to authors: Perspectives from a global survey of academic authors” by Basil D’Souza of Editage. The lecture was very helpful for helping to understand the perspectives of authors from the journal editor’s point of view. It included an item-by-item description of a survey of researchers around the world on the difficulties and importance of writing academic papers. More than 5,500 researchers participated in the survey, and the lecture was mostly about the difficulties experienced by authors when submitting an academic paper, including the journal publishing process, the time pressure for publication, and open access. Wim Meester, the head of product management for Scopus of Elsevier, presented the second keynote lecture, entitled “Scopus indexing to bring Asian journals to an international level.” He elucidated the Scopus registration standards and its process, as well as the current status of registration applications by nation and reasons for rejection. In addition, he presented explanations of various ways to improve citations, including international collaborative research and comparative analysis of field-weighted citation impact by nation, as well as newly developed indexes such as CiteScore and Altmetrics. The Vietnamese participants showed a great interest in Scopus registration standards in the context of the internationalization of academic journals. Furthermore, the great interest in the internationalization of Vietnamese journals was demonstrated by the fact that the speaker from Elsevier left to attend a meeting with a high-ranking official of the Ministry of Education in Vietnam as soon as the presentation was over.
As the morning session, 4 lectures on open access—the main theme of the seminar—were given. The first session was entitled “Definition of a variety of terms on open access (gold and green, platinum, public access, free access, repository)” by Ki-Hong Kim at Ajou University. Until recently, I had a vague understanding of the concept of open access. However, the professor’s lecture clearly summarized the key concepts in a way that was easy to understand. The following lecture was “Open access full text databases in Asia” by Tae-Sul Seo of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information. This session was valuable in that the speaker provided a comparative explanation of full-text open access databases in Asia by nation. Gold open access in Indonesia and India, green open access in Japan, and XML full-text open access in Korea, respectively, are used actively for journal publication. With this in mind, the speaker emphasized the need to understand the characteristics of each country and to start an initiative to disseminate such an understanding throughout Asia.
Jeong-Wook Seo from Seoul National University gave a presentation entitled “European policy on open access from 2020.” He explained OA2020—a recent notable initiative—with an interesting cartoon about fair use of an academic paper, and his session received thunderous applause. Xin Bi from Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University gave a presentation entitled “How to register journal to Directory of Open Access Journal.” In this session, the speaker described the process of how to register an open access journal in the Directory of Open Access Journals in detail. Furthermore, the session was very useful for hands-on editors because it drew attention to especially important and frequently overlooked parts of the process.
After lunch, 10 to 15 Asian journal editors gathered to have an individual discussion on each theme. Personally, this was the most memorable session. As I observed how journal editors from each country of Asia, including Japan, Vietnam, and Singapore, gave diverse pieces of advice stemming from their individual experiences to Vietnamese journal editors, it occurred to me that the internationalization of Asian journals lies in the not-too-distant future if these seminars are held in each country of Asia.
In the afternoon, there were 2 sessions: one on publication ethics, and the other on the peer review process. These lectures on essential topics for journal editors were based on the actual experiences of professionals who had been editing in the field for a long time. Therefore, they were useful lectures, from which one could learn many essential tips from hands-on editors. Four speakers presented at the session of publication ethics. As the first presenter, Professor Eun-Seong Hwang from the University of Seoul presented on research misconduct cases and statistics in Korea. After the lecture, Le Ngoc Son from the Industrial University of Ho Chi Minh City presented on plagiarism detection in Vietnamese journals. The next lecture was “Are all retractions appropriate?” by Soo-Young Kim from Hallym University. Lastly, Ramanathan Subramaniam from the National Institute of Education gave a presentation entitled “How to teach publication ethics in graduate school.” In the other seminar, speakers continued to present on the problems of publication ethics. Moreover, that session also had a presentation about how to educate graduate students about publication ethics. Thus, it was a more practical session than the other one with regard to concrete applications in the field of education.
During the peer review session, editors with extensive experience in journals on agriculture, medical science, and chemistry explored the general process of peer review on the basis of their experiences. It was a valuable opportunity to learn from detailed explanations of various cases reflecting the know-how of professional editors, including how to structure a good peer review system, a compensation system for reviewers, and the role of the editor. In the last session, particularly, a Vietnamese journal editor discussed assessing the pros and cons of the journal under one’s own management on the basis of the checklist for Scopus registration. The session was useful, as there was a heated discussion among the participants after the presentation.
Lastly, the seminar ended with the best poster award and an announcement of the next seminar venue. The 2018 CASE international conference will be held on July 18 and 19 in Indonesia.
I was filled with emotion since this was the first time that I personally attended an international academic journal editor conference, especially as I was able to return with the valuable experience of having been a speaker due to the great interest of the Vietnamese journal editors. They individually approached me and handed their name cards to me after my lecture. They also requested lecture materials from me, as they wished to share my lecture with their colleagues. It brought me great joy to feel the fervent enthusiasm of the Vietnamese journal editors. However, a weakness of the conference was that the participants were composed of editors from Vietnam, even though the presentations were very helpful to editors in general. I would have liked for the conference committee to promote the conference among journal editors in many Asian countries, in order to give them the opportunity to contribute to improving the quality of academic journal publication in Asia. Furthermore, I thought that if the speakers had prepared their lecture material at a level appropriate for the participants based on information provided in advance about the participants, including their main interests and the level of journal editing, it would have enhanced the satisfaction of the conference participants.

Conflict of Interest

No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by a travel grant from the Korean Council of Science Editors (2017).

A commemorative photo of speakers receiving letters of appreciation.
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Fig. 1.

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