Editorial Words

VOL. 2, ISSUE 1, YEAR 2, JAN. 2006

From the Editor-in-Chief on the future of Zanín

It is of course deeply satisfying to see the publication of the second issue of Zanín. It contains very many high quality scientific articles, including original work, reviews, views and letters to the Editor. The journal's quality reflects the hard work of the authors and members of the Editorial Board. The second issue of Zanín, as previously predicted, is more extensive than the first. Our expectation is that the workload and scientific contents will grow exponentially in terms of quality and quantity. This is where my great concerns remain!

Zanín is designed to provide a credible international platform for academics in Kurdistan and elsewhere for the publication of scholarly written peer-reviewed scientific work on issues relating to Kurdistan or written by Kurdistanis on any subject. No other peer-reviewed journal has occupied this important niche. However, processing, editing and publishing scientific journals constitute a formidable task which requires substantial amount of time, efforts and funding. Therefore, sustaining the journal is beyond the capability of volunteer editors or an under-funded association such as the Kurdish Scientific and Medical Association, KSMA (recently renamed KSMF).

The publication of the first two issues of Zanín demonstrated that the task is achievable. Zanín also demonstrated the presence, accessibility, keen interest and willingness of vast numbers of Kurdish and non-Kurdish academics to contribute to the journal. Unfortunately, the quality of science within Kurdistani Universities had suffered under the previous Iraqi regimes and will require years or decades before it can recover. This bitter reality was reflected, predictably, in the quality of the submissions from Kurdistan, hence the bulk of the publications in the first and second issue were from authors outside Kurdistan. However, Zanín has highlighted the need to support Kurdistan academics to promote science in Kurdistan. Without help from Kurdish professionals abroad, it would take Kurdistan academics much longer to reach international levels.

In Kurdistan, there is a clear demand for a modern, English-language-based, peer-reviewed, international scientific journal to support academic achievements locally and to link Kurdistan with the outside world. Zanín, fulfils these criteria and is uniquely placed to fill this gap. Zanín is now widely disseminated and its articles (in the first issue) have been cited in well established international journals. Zanín's website was visited by thousands within the first three months of its launch.

The only conclusion we can draw from the above is that it would be in the best interest of Kurdistan Universities, their academics and those in Diaspora to join forces and concert efforts. A viable suggestion is for Kurdistan Universities to adopt Zanín as their own international journal and continue its publication with the help of academics in Diaspora. In this case, each University in Kurdistan could nominate one or two experienced academics as "Associate Editors" who can then nominate a new Editor-in-Chief and establish a new panel of Editors from colleagues inside and outside Kurdistan, as it is the case currently. In addition, each University should contribute to the editorial staff by appointing a part time or full time computer literate person for communication, coordinating submissions, processing and publishing the journal online in liaison with the editors.

Another credible option would be for Zanín's editorial team to seek a charity status and raise necessary funds to sustain the journal's publication. Zanín should remain under the auspices of KSMA, but in close liaison with other like-minded organisations and Kurdistan Universities.

Finally, I want to thank every member of the editorial board, KSMA committee and each and every author, without whose voluntary efforts none of these great achievements would have been possible. In particular, I wish to thank Dr Dilan Roshani (Associate Editor and Webmaster), whose creativity, hard work and dedication brought Zanín to existence. Having served a term of three years as the Editor-in-Chief, and laid the foundation of the journal, I intend to step down in Autumn 2006. I am sure the KSMA (or successor organisations) will name my successor in the near future.

Professor Dlawer Ala'Aldeen PhD, FRCPath