Indian Journal of Dermatology
: 2017  |  Volume : 62  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 551--554

Editorial epilogue

Koushik Lahiri 
 Editor, Indian Journal of Dermatology

Correspondence Address:
Koushik Lahiri
Editor, Indian Journal of Dermatology

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Lahiri K. Editorial epilogue.Indian J Dermatol 2017;62:551-554

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Lahiri K. Editorial epilogue. Indian J Dermatol [serial online] 2017 [cited 2023 Jun 3 ];62:551-554
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“History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days. What is the worth of all this? The only guide to a man is his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions. It is very imprudent to walk through life without this shield, because we are so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations; but with this shield, however the fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honor.”

— Winston S. Churchill

In the long history of a great heritage journal like ours, an individual editor's tenure is of minimum significance or relevance.

However, at the last leg of this sojourn, it is my bounden duty to put on record an account of the landmarks of this enriching odyssey including the pleasure and perils.

Officially, I was inducted into the team of Indian Journal of Dermatology (IJD) editorial board in the winter of 1996. However, my association with the journal dates back to almost three decades before that.

As I have mentioned in my first editorial “Some old issues of the IJD of the mid and late 60s of the last century kept in our house bear some illegible pencil scribbling of a toddler. Those are from my father's collection. Even before I was introduced to the English alphabet, I became familiar with the decorative moss green famous masthead of this journal. The pungent smell of the letter press printing ink on the glossy art plates of that journal is still very fresh in my olfactory hard disk.”[1]

My first assignment that year was to prepare the yearly author and subject index, manually. I continued to do this tedious job till 1999.

Dr. B Halder, our revered past Editor, proposed my name in the summer of 2010. I was elected unopposed as the 12th editor of this heritage journal and started my innings in 2012 with a mixed feeling of trepidation and confidence.

It was not easy to step into the shoes of an academic giant like Dr. Sandipan Dhar, who had an illustrious stint at the office as my immediate predecessor. This in itself was a huge pressure. However, simultaneously, I knew I would always be blessed with his affectionate guidance as the editor emeritus during my tenure. In addition, I had the comfortable cushion of a dream editorial team.

Like the captain of a cricket team, an editor is only as good or as bad as his or her team is. I was extremely fortunate to get the help of an outstanding team which had a perfect balance of experienced seniors and enthusiastic youngsters

The first year of our tenure was both happy and eventful. The year started with a few exciting, significant, and almost consecutive developments [2]

IJD®, without any change in its ownership, became the official organ of Asian Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (AADV). For the oldest surviving journal of dermatology from Asia, this was probably a natural consequence. We must acknowledge with gratitude the role of Dr. Steven Chow, the Secretary General of AADV behind thisVolume wise too, there was a sudden, almost tenfold expansion. IJD® started reaching almost all the qualified dermatologists in the country with the aid of a gracious academic grant from RanbaxyTechnically, another milestone was achieved when we were able to finalize the registration process of IJD® as our official trademark.

We have tried to follow and maintain a strict principle of absolute zero tolerance in matters related to plagiarism. In the past few years, we have retracted a few articles and punished some authors for their academic dishonesty by banning them in accordance with the stipulations of The Committee on Publication Ethics [3]It was in the year 2012 that we incorporated the hyperlink to the most recent CONSORT Statement in our “Instruction to Authors” ( and advised all prospective trial report authors to adhere to the same. The process of submitting clinical trial reports in IJD® naturally underwent some significant changes. My esteemed colleague Prof. Saumya Panda (the then Executive editor of IJD and present chief editor of IJDVL) and Prof. Hywel Williams, Special Advisor, Clinical trials, were instrumental in bringing about these changes [3]The IJD® QUIZ became a hugely popular and successful module as soon as it was initiated from the first issue of 2013. We are grateful to Ranbaxy for supporting this academic endeavor. IADVL members residing in India took part in this exciting academic exercise with great enthusiasm. It would be pertinent to mention here about the other lucrative honors like IJD® Ranbaxy awards for best original article and best case report [4]IJD-Indian Society for Paediatric Dermatology (ISPD) award for the best article on pediatric dermatology published in IJD® in any particular year was initiated with the support of the ISPD. We must express our gratitude to the ISPD leadership of Dr. Deepak Parikh and Dr. Sandipan Dhar for initiating and nurturing this award [4]The dedicated Facebook group ( IJD has created waves in the social media since the time of its inception. In spite of keeping it as a closed group with posts accessible to members only and in spite of a very rigid entry policy for qualified dermatologists only (as continuously moderated by about half a dozen hawkish moderators) the membership of the IJD® Facebook group has crossed 4200! This underscores the popularity of the oldest surviving and first indexed Dermatology journal from Asia, especially among the younger generation [4]After adopting CONSORT 2010 guidelines in 2012, as declared, in 2013 we decided to make preregistration of clinical trials a mandatory prerequisite while submitting any clinical trial in IJD®[4]IJD® Symposium has already become a much-appreciated hallmark of the journal due to its class and consistency.[5] As symposium editors for this series, it was always our conscious policy position to engage erudite academicians from our board (or outside) such as Siba P Raychaudhuri, Deepak Parikh, Shrutakirthi D Shenoi, Saravu R Narahari, Kiran Godse, Saumya Panda, Arijit Coondoo, Sandipan Dhar, Manas Chatterjee, Tanumay Roychowdhury, Abhishek De, Nilay Kanti Das, Nilendu Sarma and Rashmi SarkarOther than the highly successful IJD® Symposium we have introduced another interesting feature named IJD® spotlight where a few articles on a focused topic are presented as a bouquet [5]The year 2014 started on a somber note when we lost our past editor, Dr. Baidyanath Haldar, who with his superhuman efforts revived and rescued the journal from slipping into obscurity in the mid-90s of the last century [5]In 2015, we were able to finalize the registration process of the logo of IJD® as our official trademark. The registration of Trade Mark No. is 2329639[6]A significant landmark was achieved in 2015, when the IJD, historically the first dermatology journal to be published from Asia, celebrated its 60th year of its existence. The diamond jubilee of the IJD was solemnly observed with a conference which was amalgamated with the 13th East Zonal conference of Indian Association of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology (IADVL) and the 19th Annual conference of IADVL West Bengal Chapter. This conference which was suitably designated as IJD DIAMONDCON DERMAZONE EAST CUTICON WB 2015 was held at Kolkata in December 2015. In his conference review, the legendary Professor Robert Schwartz termed it as a “triple educational triumph”[7]One of the best things to happen to IJD in recent times is IJD Module on biostatistics and research design for Dermatologists. Under the able stewardship of Prof Saumya Panda from January 2016, ten successive issues of IJD has carried two teaching modules, one each in biostatistics and research design in every issue, with the eleventh and final module synthesizing the key learning points of the ten pairs of preceding modules. With this module, as the module editor Prof Panda himself has observed,”the IJD is again breaking new ground among biomedical journals. Such an exhaustive and sustained discussion on research design and analysis is an exceptional event among these journals, not to speak of the journals specifically belonging to dermatology”[8]The hard copy of May–June 2016 issue had reached all with these much-desired words on the cover “Indexed with Thomson Reuters Science Citation Index Expanded.” This publication was indexed and abstracted with a retrospective effect beginning with Vol 59, Issue 1, of 2014 in the coveted

Science citation index expanded (also known as SciSearch®)Journal citation reports/science edition.

This certainly was a dream came true for all of us who have been closely attached with this heritage journal on a daily basis.

In the same year 2016, IJD has plunged into the world of Twitter by creating a Twitter account. IJD's Twitter account is @DermatolJ [6]Almost at the same time a couple of Whatsapp groups were also started to effectively coordinate between the editors and advisors of the journal

However, the best was yet to come

In the summer of 2017, just when we were preparing the July-August issue (Vol. 62, Issue 4) of 2017, we received the news of the annual release of the 2016 Journal Citation Reports. The first Journal Impact Factor® (IF) as reported in the 2016 Journal Citation Reports (Clarivate Analytics, 2017) is 1.069 [Figure 1]. A journal IF (JIF) of more than one is always creditable and IJD® has debuted from well above that coveted benchmark! This certainly was a matter of pride for all of the editorial board members and advisers. Personally, this is literally the icing on the cake of my tenure as the editor of this heritage journal [9]There have been various other upswings in the various statistical parameters in the past few years.

There has been a steep rise in article submission in IJD®s. We receive about 750 articles from all over the globe– a quantum jump of 72.93% as compared to 2011. More than one out of every three articles (about 37%) submitted this year were from abroad.The H index has increased five times during the past 6 years and has now reached a respectable figure of 20. This is an indication of significant qualitative improvement of the journal has achieved.In 2016, the total cites have reached a never before figure of 660, from a figure of 110 in 2010 [Figure 1]From a high acceptance rate of about 50%, with a very strict and robust review process the acceptance rate has naturally come down to almost single digit [Figure 2]The quality of any academic journal depends on the number of original articles published in it. In the last couple of years, we have witnessed a phenomenal increase in the rate of submission of original articles to IJD®. From 65 in 2010, this year we have already received 165 original articles, which is a stupendous 393% increase. Nearly 48% of our original articles have been submitted from abroad this year.{Figure 1}{Figure 2}

Much of the credit of this phenomenal turnaround goes to our cooperative authors, efficient editorial team, including our sincere editorial interns, erudite and responsive reviewers, and proficient publisher's team at Wolters Kluwer Medknow.

IJD is unique because it is perhaps the only the scientific journal on the global platform (not only in dermatology but also in the entire world of biomedical journals) being published by a state branch of a society continuously and regularly for more than six decades and significantly influencing the academic world as an indexed journal.

If we consider the chequered history of the journal, we may realize the huge significance of this achievement.[10]

Predicting the future is a precarious job, as the historians would concur. But if we have to proffer a presumption about the future of IJD, we better take a look at the following lines from the first editorial printed in this journal in its very first issue in 1955, which is very much relevant even today: “... In this country, however, the study of Dermatology has not advanced as satisfactorily as it should have done. General practitioners have to tackle an increasingly large number of cases because skin complaints are generally more prevalent among the poorer and labor classes. The study of skin disease occupies but a small corner in the undergraduate curriculum, and very little importance is attached to this particular branch. Questions on skin disease figure rarely, if ever, on the MBBS question papers. As a result students' interest in the skin and its complaints is not properly stimulated. They feel the consequent gap in their knowledge when they go out to practise. Not unnaturally, patients have to suffer at their hands both physically and economically...”[11]

Although the outcome is not always directly proportional to the effort exerted, I have nevertheless tried to offer the best that I can, with the help of the highly erudite, focused, and committed editorial board members, distinguished members of the editorial advisory board and extremely supportive Executive committee of IADVL, West Bengal State Branch and AADV. I also take this opportunity to thank our industrial sponsors, who stood by us like pillars without ever influencing the academic autonomy of the journal.

I must admit and put it on record that probably I could not even achieve even half of all these without the constant support and help of Tapas Kayal, our editorial manager. He is matchless and at times unbelievable with his efficiency.

Our other office staff, the experienced Swapan Dey and an ever helping workhorse Sri Khageswar Das, have certainly made my job easier.

Hence, after this final issue during my tenure, personally, for me after many years there shall be no late nights for IJD anymore. No more continuous working on the JOW system, no more issue planning, selecting symposium topics, compilation of TOC, the rush of meeting deadlines, issue assignment, proof checking, frantic mails and calls to the reviewers, authors, editors, and advertisers. It certainly will have a lull moment mixed with desolation and respite.

I do not know how far I was able to rise to the expectations of our readers, but all I can say is that, I have tried my best.

Personally, these 6 years of my life at the office of the editor of this heritage journal has made me more humble, grateful, aware and sensitized of my professional and private responsibilities and commitments. Henceforth, I hope to devote some time for my family without whose sacrifice I could not even dream to shoulder these responsibilities.

As was written in the Editor's epistle signed by the then Editor Sandipan Dhar and Executive Editors, I and Saumya Panda, in 2009 and was quoted in the editorial on the occasion of IJD being reindexed in PubMed, I may take the liberty of quoting these lines once again: “.... at this moment of pride and joy, the Editorial team feels redeemed for being able to stand true to the ideals and vision of the founding fathers of the journal, able to nurture and nourish it like a delicate plant that has its roots firmly on the ground beneath, yet has an insatiable urge to reach out to the sky, to the wide world far beyond immediate environs. This great moment asks all of us in the Editorial team to be humble and introspective, humble in the realization that this historic opportunity demands us to take the journal to ever greater heights, introspect all the time as to how much further we need to carry forward our unfinished task.” However sweeping the changes might seem, our basic objective remains the same: “to be devoted to the advancement of the subject, “ i.e. dermatology. [12]

I pay my respect to all my predecessors for whom we are able to enjoy this bright and beautiful day in our glorious history. “If I have seen further it is by standing on ye sholders of Giants.” I need to specially mention about two guiding angels during my tenure, Prof Sujit Ranjan Sengupta and Prof Arijit Coondoo.

I am sure the new team under the incoming editor Prof Dwijendra Nath Gangopadhyay, will continue to work in a more tireless, cohesive and dedicated manner with a clear vision for the future and maintain the established IJD legacy of a highly respected, reputed, responsive and resonant biomedical journal devoted to Dermatology

Long live the IJD®.


1Lahiri K. Prelude. Indian J Dermatol 2012;57:1-2.
2Lahiri K. IJD(®) becomes the official organ of the Asian academy of dermatology and venereology. Indian J Dermatol 2012;57:167-8.
3Lahiri K. IJD(®) 2012: A Progress report. Indian J Dermatol 2013;58:1.
4Lahiri K. IJD(®) 2013: A Year of consolidation and expansion. Indian J Dermatol 2014;59:1-2.
5Lahiri K. IJD(®) 2014: Marching ahead. Indian J Dermatol 2015;60:1-2.
6Lahiri K. Indian journal of dermatology (IJD(®)) gets into the science citation index expanded (SCIe). Indian J Dermatol 2016;61:349-50.
7Schwartz RA. The 13th East Zonal Indian Association of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology (IADVL) Conference, 19th Annual IADVL West Bengal Chapter Conference and the Indian Journal of Dermatology Diamond Jubilee Celebration, Kolkata, 2015: A Triple educational triumph. Indian J Dermatol 2016;61:231-3.
8Panda S. Notes from the module editor. Indian J Dermatol 2016;61:9.
9Lahiri K. Indian journal of dermatology (IJD®) gets its first impact factor of 1.069. Indian J Dermatol 2017;62:329-31.
10Panda S. Sixty years of the Indian journal of dermatology: An interpretation of the journey. Indian J Dermatol 2015;60:527-36.
11Panja G. Editor's page. Indian J Dermatol 1955;1:46-7.
12Dhar S. Indian journal of dermatology gets re-indexed with PubMed. Indian J Dermatol 2010;55:1-2.