In July, I received a call from Dr. Eunhee Ha, the Dean of the College of Medicine at Ewha Womans University. She asked if I would consider becoming the editor-in-chief of the Ewha Medical Journal (EMJ), the college's official publication. I was taken aback by this offer, as I am set to retire from Hallym University next February. In Korea, it is traditional for retiring faculty members to step down from all official roles. Since 2005, I have been the editor of the Journal of Educational Evaluation for Health Professions (JEEHP) . Juggling the editing responsibilities of two journals is no small task, but I accepted the offer. I have always been an avid reader of EMJ, and Dr. Ryung-Ah Lee, the previous editor (2013 to August 2023), is a close colleague of mine. During my term as the President of the Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors (KAMJE) from April 2020 to March 2023, she served as the Chair of the Committee for Planning and Administration of KAMJE. Her commitment to the role was greatly admired.
Furthermore, the Editorial Board members, Drs. Hae-Sun Chung and Hyungju Kwon, who also served with me on the KAMJE Committees, are renowned for their exceptional skills in editing academic journals. I look forward to collaborating with them. I am deeply grateful to Dean Dr. Ha for providing me with the opportunity to work alongside such outstanding editors.
What is the Mission of the New Editor?
I shall serve as the editor-in-chief from September 2023 to July 2025, succeeding Dr. Lee. My objective aligns with the goals of EMJ: to publish the best research and information at the intersection of biomedical science, clinical practice, and medical education and to present this information in understandable, clinically useful formats that inform health care practice and improve patient outcomes. EMJ keeps healthcare professionals at the leading edge of medical knowledge, fosters broad understanding in their areas of interest, and provides a variety of engaging and innovative ways to learn.
Goals for My 2-year Term
The following goals have been set for the next 2 years to accomplish the mission outlined above, considering EMJ's position in the international journal network.
First, it is imperative to recruit a sufficient number of manuscripts, aiming for a minimum of 40 annually. Despite the high quality of EMJ and its excellent editing, the number of publications has stagnated recently, with 12 in 2020, 26 in 2021, and 28 in 2022. This plateau may be attributed to the journal's indexing status in international databases. However, EMJ has recently been indexed in the Emerging Sources Citation Index and Embase. It is worth noting, though, that many Korean universities do not regard these databases as top-tier.
Second, to address the issue of insufficient database indexing, I plan to continue working to add the journal to the Directory of Open Access Journals, MEDLINE, PubMed Central, and Scopus. My prior experience in advising journals on their inclusion in these international databases will be beneficial in this endeavor [2–4]. Additionally, I have successfully added JEEHP to these international databases .
Third, it will be necessary to take steps to distinguish this journal from other similar journals in this field. EMJ’s scope is extensive, as the journal provides information for healthcare professionals, the general public, and medical students. However, the articles are primarily intended for physicians and medical scientists—and other general medicine journals in Korea already exist (Table 1).
Three of the seven general medicine journals are published by medical schools: Ewha Womans University, Sungkyunkwan University, and Yeungnam University. These institutions respectively publish the EMJ, Precision and Future Medicine, and Journal of Yeungnam Medical Science. Therefore, a credible rationale is needed for publishing EMJ, a journal associated with a specific medical school.
Fourth, we will work to satisfy the goals articulated in the journal's aims and scope by soliciting manuscripts from healthcare professionals beyond just physicians. We will also seek contributions from undergraduate students, graduate students, and residents. To further this policy, we will invite undergraduate and graduate students to join the editorial board. In Korea, there are nurses known as "community health practitioners"  who provide care for individuals in rural areas or islands. Only nurses who have undergone the necessary training are eligible to work in a community health center in Korea. The country has approximately 2,000 community health practitioners. These practitioners are authorized to prescribe a limited number of pre-approved medications, fewer than 90, as determined by the Ministry of Health and Welfare of the Korean government. Although their role is confined to specific areas and predetermined practices, they effectively perform the duties of physicians. EMJ will provide guidelines for their practice. Innovative learning methods fall within the scope of this journal, so education will be a recurring theme. The College of Medicine at Ewha University maintains connections and collaborates with medical schools globally, and these partnerships will be featured prominently in EMJ.
Fifth, the editorial and publishing processes of the journal will incorporate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity (DEI) principles. As a non-profit educational institution, the publisher does not employ full-time staff for the journal, making it impossible to achieve DEI among employees. However, there will be a focus on promoting DEI among the editorial board, reviewers, and authors. EMJ will take into account equity in terms of geographical location and gender and will ensure that diverse voices are respected during the editing and publishing processes.
Sixth, we will diversify the types of publications. In addition to original articles, reviews, and case reports, we will include other more accessible formats such as comments, Korean reports, perspectives, and correspondence. These can be classified under the category of opinions.
Making suggestions is easy, but achieving the above six goals within 2 years is challenging. However, as the saying goes, a good start is half the battle. Dean Dr. Ha has pledged full budgetary support, which has allowed EMJ to transition to a diamond open access journal as of the October 2023 issue. For at least the next two years, there will be no publication fees or article processing charges levied on the authors. It's possible that we may not realize all our goals within the two-year period. However, the core of editing and publishing a non-profit journal lies in the joy of working collaboratively with our editorial board members and staff, all of whom volunteer their time and effort for the journal.
In This Issue
In this issue, we are publishing an invited opinion piece by Dr. Duck Sun Ahn, entitled “Healthcare Development Plan: Balancing Accessibility and Human Resources in Korea.” As of October 2023, there is an ongoing debate regarding the number of new entrants to medical schools. When considering this issue, Dr. Ahn's opinion should be taken into account . Determining the appropriate number of medical doctors is a complex issue. In Korea, medical doctors can continue to practice indefinitely, provided they complete their continuous medical education annually. In healthcare, supply can potentially create unlimited demand, which could lead to an increase in medical costs proportional to the number of practicing doctors.
We are also publishing a special issue on elbow pain. Dr. Youngbok Kim  states in his editorial that "this compilation of papers, encompassing a series of domestic epidemiological studies on elbow diseases, distinguishing factors for elbow pain, conservative and surgical treatments, and postoperative rehabilitation, is noteworthy as it provides a comprehensive overview of the understanding and treatment of elbow diseases.” Big data analysis also revealed that the prevalence of diseases causing elbow pain was 114.21 per 100,000 for lateral epicondylitis, 32.82 for medial epicondylitis, 61.46 for elbow injury, dislocation, and sprain, and 39.15 for mononeuropathy of the upper limb . The diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of patients with elbow pain disorders will provide current and high-quality information for both specialists and general practitioners. The editorial board will continue to spotlight the most recent hot topics in Korean healthcare.
I wish health and happiness for the authors, reviewers, and readers of EMJ as they review or read the exciting and unique topics covered in EMJ.