July to September 2006

 

 

PJS was established during a time of difficult transition for the young nation,
but it was able to set a standard of excellence in scientific journal in the region.

- Dr. William G. Padolina
Deputy Director General for Partnerships, IRRI
Former Secretary, DOST

 

Philippine Journal of Science: Centennial tradition of excellence in research publication


Brittle and parched with age, a decrepit copy of the maiden issue of the Philippine Journal of Science (PJS) bears the signs of its arduous hundred-year journey from a pioneering scientific publication to its present distinguished status as the country’s premier science journal.

Retrieved by the current editorial staff from the library of the Department of Science and Technology’s Industrial Technology Development Institute, the copy is now so delicate its every single page is wrapped in plastic, literally handled with care, and restricted within the four walls of the library. Published by the then US colonial government’s Bureau of Science in January 1906, it carries 54 scientific papers covering topics in general science, medical sciences, botany, and geology.

PJS and Dr. FreerThe maiden issue’s editor was Paul C. Freer, a medical doctor. Dr. Freer was a former professor of General Chemistry at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor who was stationed in the Philippines as director of the Government Scientific Laboratories and dean of Philippine Islands Medical School.

World War II in 1942-46 temporarily halted the publication of the Journal but quickly resumed publication after the country returned to normalcy, still maintaining the same standard it had carefully established.

One hundred years since Freer, the PJS has evolved into a journal that covers diverse fields including natural sciences, engineering, mathematics and social sciences. In recent years, the PJS’ tradition of excellence remained steady under the leadership and meticulous editorial supervision of science luminaries such as Dr. Lourdes J. Cruz, Dr. Albert Gapud, and Dr. Dolores Ramirez, among others.

Standard of excellence
“PJS was established during a time of difficult transition for the young nation, but it was able to set a standard of excellence in scientific journal in the region,” says current PJS editor-in-chief Dr. William G. Padolina. Himself an accomplished author and scientist, Dr. Padolina is deputy director general for partnerships at the International Rice Research Institute, and former DOST secretary.

As a testament to its outstanding quality standard, the PJS is now recognized by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), an international agency that compiles databases on the world’s most important and influential research journals. Being ISI-accredited means that every paper submitted to PJS is searchable as it is automatically included in ISI’s index of bibliographic data.

The quality standard of PJS is further enhanced by its expanded scope, which now extends to international contributors and peer reviewers, and implementation of double-blind peer review system.

Centennial developments
The centennial of PJS ushered in some landmark developments to strengthen its service to the science community and position it to meet the increasing demands of 21st century users.
To preserve its legacy of over 4,000 scientific papers, PJS was digitized through the Philippine e-Library Project to make it accessible to various users at all times.

A special PJS edition, launched during the National Science and Technology Week, featured indices of titles and authors from 1906 to 2005. DOST Secretary Estrella Alabastro said that the special publication offers “glimpses of science research trends in various periods and how the researches were harnessed in meeting present and future needs.” For researchers, this would be an extensive reference material.

Moreover, another 133-page special issue featuring selected manuscripts on dengue was published by STII and included in the PJS exhibit during the NSTW.

Also in the offing is the commemorative PJS Centennial Edition set to come out by November that would feature selected papers culled from past PJS issues covering various themes in different periods. Said themes include the development of science/scientists in the Philippines, tropical diseases and medicine, coconut, ethnic Filipino studies, geology/geography, chemistry, physics/astronomy/meteorology, energy, and biology.

This will serve as a tribute to the “men and women driven by the gracious mission to unlock, understand, and draw on the infinite wealth of nature to benefit the society,” Dr. Padolina said.

Taking the past to the future
As part of its centennial celebration, copies of past PJS issues dating back from 1906 were borrowed from the National Library and DOST-ITDI for digitization and future inclusion in online publications and databases. ITDI is the forerunner of the present DOST system, created in 1901 under the then Bureau of Government Laboratories that was reorganized into the Bureau of Science, first publisher of the PJS.

“PJS has proven to be more than an icon of survival,” said Dr. Padolina. “The next 100 years will be viewed with the same foresight and passion that its founders had set out to achieve. This is the only way for us to honor their legacy.”

The publication and management of PJS is now under DOST’s Science and Technology Information Institute. Its current board of editors is composed of eminent scientists such as Dr. Padolina, Dr. Ramirez, Dr. Gapud, Dr. Queena Lee-Chua, Dr. Fabian Dayrit, Dr. Florencia Claveria, and Dr. Consolacion Ragasa.

(PJS comes out twice a year with an annual subscription rate of P1,000 for institutional subscribers, P800 for personal subscribers, and $200 for foreign subscription. For inquiries on rates, contributions, back issues, and other concerns, please contact the PJS managing editor at (02) 837-2071 local 2148 or send snail mail to Philippine Journal of Science, Science and Technology Information Institute, DOST Compound, Bicutan, Taguig City, Metro Manila or email managing_editor@stii.dost.gov.ph) STP