I attended the first official formative meeting of PVRI India on June 30th, 2008. The meeting was attended by Prof. Sheila Haworth and Prof. Ghazwan Butrous, as well as a number of PVRI Fellows from India. During the meeting, Ghazwan described the plans and future direction of the PVRI, and it was here that the idea of a PVRI journal was first introduced.
Ghazwan told us that he has searched all over before choosing a publisher named Medknow in Mumbai, India, with whom he had previously interacted. The publisher was headed by a pediatrician, Dr. DK Sahu, and published some 70+ journals at the time. Ghazwan enquired whether I would be willing to help him in the venture of a PVRI journal. To this day, I am still not sure why he asked me!
Since it was an opportunity to interact with pioneers in the field of pulmonary hypertension and provided the chance of getting acquainted with the processes of editing and publishing, I accepted the responsibility. The proposed name of the Journal was “Pulmonary Circulation” and Ghazwan had already registered the domain name for PVRI. He wanted the journal to start publishing its first issue in January 2009.
Ghazwan, as per his wonderfully productive character, started bombarding me with mails regarding the progress of the journal. With the deadline for first publication a mere 5 months away, Ghazwan wanted the journal published in multiple languages! He wrote, “I still like to consider the translation issue in advance, for the reason that one of the main missions of the PVRI as a global institute is to have multi-language educational material”. I replied that I fully agreed that the multi-language journal was an excellent idea, but that I was worried about the logistics. This was further confirmed when we got an email from the published Dr DK Sahu on July 25th 2008, reminding us that ‘We need to get started soon if we wish to launch the journal in Jan 2009’.
With the pressure on, our first step was via the medical illustration department in my hospital, which developed a model for the cover page and sent it for feedback to all the editorial board members on July 30th. On August 4th 2008, there was a meeting of the PVRI Board of Directors, which altered the intended course of the Journal (“all positives, but new ideas” – as per Ghazwan).
The final decision came about two weeks later, and changed the name of the journal to ‘PVRI Bulletin’. This would be the official name until we were established as a journal, at which point the name would be converted to Pulmonary Circulation. By then it was already August 15th and we were nowhere and had nothing, except a draft of the cover page! On 20th of August 2008, PVRI and Medknow signed an agreement to publish a Quarterly Journal, of which the name had by then evolved to “PVRI Review”. The intention was to publish it as an educational journal which would also reflect the PVRI activities. It was to be printed in English, but with simultaneous issues in other languages like Portuguese, Spanish, and Chinese.
At this point, I was nominated officially as the Editor-in-Chief of the journal with the concurrence of the PVRI India taskforc Ghazwan wanted the Journal to be showcased in the Mexico meeting of PVRI in January 2009. So now the deadline was set in stone, Ghazwan was on our case, and we had only the name, publisher, official Editor-in-Chief and cover page of the journal in place. It was time to get moving! Our next step was an Editorial board – emails started flowing, and before long we formed a good editorial board. As a team, we developed instructions to authors and started creating a workflow for the journal. At this point we had only few review articles, mostly collected through the efforts of Ghazwan. We started sending emails to friends and colleagues in the field soliciting articles, but the tight deadline proved an issue for many of them. In response, we started working with whatever material we had. Ghazwan gave me the additional task of preparing a review article on Rheumatic Heart Disease and Pulmonary Hypertension, which added to my worries. To further complicate the situation, I unfortunately had a health problem and was forced to take rest for a period of 2 months in November 2008. On the upside, this meant I could devote more time to the journal! By then, Medknow Publications also geared up in the form of a devoted team for they PVRI Review. It was on! As we continued to solicit articles, we also searched various options for translation of the journal to other languages like Portuguese, Spanish and Chinese. We explored the options of google translate as well as individual translators, and received a number of proposals. With time quickly running out, we nonetheless decided to translate a few articles to Spanish, Arabic and Portuguese and publish it in the first issue.
Many processes were new to me and the PVRI, and journal publication means a lot of hard work and repetition. The copy-editing, proof-reading, re-sending to the authors, re-proofing is a cycle which involves two or three go-arounds before an article is ready, and as we planned to include the annual reports from various PVRI task forces, we had the additional task of chasing taskforces for reports and photographs. One common problem we faced was the low resolution or ppi of many of the pictures and figures which we received. These figures may look good on the computer screen, but prove very fuzzy in print. It was a little difficult to convince the authors to resend high-quality pictures, but on most occasions they came through and we could manage. Finally, by December 7, 2008, we had collected all the articles and, after proofreading, sent them to Medknow, the publisher. December was hectic, filled with proof reading, finalizing the format of each section, ensuring consistency and quality, etc, etc. Luckily December is not Holiday season in India, meaning Medknow could work in the Christmas week also. On December 27, we sent the final version to all editorial board members for their approval. Our aim to make it online on the first day of 2009 was unsuccessful due to technical issues, but the Journal was published online on 3/01/2009. And so, with much work and a steep learning curve, a new journal was born! Measuring 98 pages long, with 2 articles translated to Arabic, Portuguese and Spanish, we could not have been happier. Nevertheless, we had some shocks too: the Arabic translations, which were to be printed from right to left, were printed from left to right, leaving our friends in the Eastern Mediterranean rather stunned.
The print copies were ready to be shipped to Mexico and reached their destination on time for the meeting. Due to my ill-health I could not attend the Mexico Conference, but Ghazwan show-cased the Journal and let me know it was well appreciated.
We published four issues in that inaugural year. Dr. Maria Virginia Tavares Santana, our colleague from Brazil, did an excellent job in bringing out a Portuguese edition of the journal in 2009. We continued to publish on a quarterly basis in 2010, and by that time we had developed a well-working system in the PVRI for running a journal. So PVRI reinitiated the plan for Pulmonary Circulation, which was to become a peer-reviewed quarterly journal with a focus on original research. The gang of four – Ghazwan, Harikrishnan, Jason Yuan and Nick Morrell started working on it according to the same lines as we established with the PVRI Review. Our efforts proved successful, and the first issue of Pulmonary Circulation (PC) became available online on March 16, 2011. Pulmonary Circulation was indexed in PubMed within the publication of just two issues, a remarkable achievement of the PVRI.
Around this same time we started scaling down on PVRI Review. The Journal had a ‘new role’ after the establishment of Pulmonary Circulation, and PVRI Review was redesigned as a PVRI newsletter and a medium to publish views and opinions of PVRI members in relation to pulmonary vascular diseases. We had two issues in 2011 as well as a Portuguese supplement.
By then, I was working with Pulmonary Circulation and PVRI Review and also took on the additional responsibility of heading the PVRI India task force. PVRI was kind to me in accepting my request to relieve me of the duties related to PVRI Review. Dr. Sachindra Joshi, a very active young researcher within the PVRI, took over as the Editor-in-Chief with the support of a new, young editorial board. Subsequently two issues were published, one each in 2012 and 2013. Post PC, its content was markedly different from previous years, and met with appreciation from its readers.
Now PVRI had made the decision to retire PVRI Review this year and proceed with an online journal named PVRI Chronicle. So PVRI Review is going to be part of history.
I want to take this opportunity to profusely thank the PVRI and its fellows and office bearers for giving me this wonderful opportunity to work as Chief Editor of the PVRI Review. My sincere thanks are to Prof. Ghazwan Butrous, without whom this journal would not have seen the light of day. His dedication and vision were the main force behind PVRI Review and Pulmonary Circulation. My thanks are also due to Prof. Stuart Rich and Prof. Martin Wilkins for their support. Similarly, Prof. Sheila Haworth was always a support for me, whilst Ms. Nikki Krol, the PVRI administrator, proved a person to rely on when you have a problem. The publisher Medknow was remarkable and flexible even though we had some issues initially, and my thanks goes to the whole PVRI Review publishing team in Medknow, with special thanks to Dr DK Sahu, who was the CEO of Medknow publications at that time.
I feel I am lucky to be associated with such an endeavor. During my time as Editor-in-Chief, I was able to establish contacts with many researchers in the field of PVD, and learned a lot about the field of medical editing and publishing. For all this, and for their support and their enthusiasm, their articles and their readership, their feedback and their contributions, I thank the PVRI and all its members and Fellows.