Raising the standard of blindness prevention research in Africa

This project aims to raise the standard and profile of the Journal of Ophthalmology of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa (JOECSA) and build engagement of eye health professionals in undertaking and publishing research. The mentorship supported by BCPB is being offered by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the ‘Eye’ Journal team of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists and will develop JOECSA as a strong scientific ophthalmic journal sharing research and evidence across the region. Enhancing research quantity and quality in key eye health issues in sub-Saharan Africa.

“As a young journal, we are pleased to be working with EYE to build capacity of our  journal and make it a formidable tool for cascading research output in Sub Saharan Africa. Lack of strong research output has been a major challenge in informing evidence-based interventions customised to our region. We are grateful to BCPB and RCOphth for providing funding and mentorship support.” Dr Simon Arunga, JOECSA Editor.

Project Update – Spring 2021

The first JOECSA/Eye Editorial Training Workshop took place on 12 March 2021 co-chaired by Prof Sobha Sivaprasad, Editor of Eye, Dr Simon Arunga, Editor in Chief of JOECSA, and Dr Nyenze Muindi, Assistant Editor of JOECSA.  Due to the pandemic the workshop was delivered in a hybrid mode with those participants that could travel congregating face to face in Nairobi, and the rest joining in virtually via Zoom from Zambia, Rwanda and the UK.

Prof. Sivaprasad outlined the aim of the workshop to help improve and build up JOECSA’s editorial board processes.

Dr Arunga gave an update on key milestones for JOECSA through this project: the establishment of a new board with engaged and trained editors; the commission and implementation of a fully online editorial system for submission of papers and reviewing for JOECSA; the training of the Associate Editors to use the programme and the employment of an administrator to manage JOECSA’s editorial processes.

The new online system for JOECSA is live and a live demonstration of the system was given to all workshop participants, step by step from point of submission to the acceptance and publication.

The workshop included a practical demonstration from Prof Sivaprasad on how to read and make a decision on an abstract submitted for publication. This was followed by a session on how to get published. Participants were then asked to read and review three research papers recently submitted to JOECSA and provide comments and decisions on the quality and recommendations to improve the papers for publication. This was facilitated by Dr Mike Burdon, Dr Winfried Amoaku and Prof Sivaprasad.

Finally, Dr Amoaku led a session with tips on how to find reviewers for a journal.

The JOECSA/Eye project continues with plans to implement the new online system and work towards increasing the submission rates for the journal.

The next opportunity for mentorship within this project will be through the RCOphth online Congress to which the JOECSA editorial team will be invited.

We have prepared an article on the project for Eye News and a brief note for the RCOphth News.