The WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse organized the following meeting: Mental Health Research in Developing Countries: Role of Scientific Journals in Genera, on 20 and 21 November 2003, attended by 25 editors representing journals publishing mental health research. A number of other editors reviewed and contributed to the background and follow-up material. This statement is issued by all participants jointly (see Box 1 for the list of journals/organizations and their representatives).
Box 1. Participants
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica (Povl Munk-Jorgensen), American
Journal of Orthopsychiatry (Carlos Sluzki), Annals of General
Hospital Psychiatry (George St Kaprinis, Konstantinos N. Fountoulakis),
Anthropology and Medicine (Sushrut Jadhav), Australian and New Zealand
Journal of Psychiatry (Sidney Bloch), BioMed Central Psychiatry
(Pritpal S. Tamber). British Journal of Psychiatry (Peter Tyrer), BMJ
(Kamran Abbasi), Bulletin of the World Health Organization (Hooman
Momen), Child Abuse and Neglect, The International Journal (John M.
Leventhal). Chinese Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease (Li Yingxi,
Guan Jinli), Comprehensive Psychiatry (David L. Dunner), Culture,
Medicine and Psychiatry (Mary-Jo Delvecchio Good), Epidemiologia e
Psichiatria Sociale (Michele Tansella), L'Evolution Psychiatrieqe (Yves
Thoret), Indian Journal of Psychiatry (Utpal Goswami), L'Information
Psychiatrique (Thierry Tremine), International Journal of Social
Psychiatry (Dinesh Bhugra), International Psychiatry (Hamid Ghodse),
Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health (Alan Flisher), Journal
of Nervous and Mental Disease (Eugene B. Brody, Kathy McKnight),
Lancet (Laragh Gollogly), Primary Care Psychiatry (Sean Lynch),
Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes (Robert Ursano),
Psychiatry Research (Monte Buchsbaum), Psychological Medicine
(Eugene Paykel), Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research
and Practice (Phil Richardson), Psychopathologie Africaine (Momar
Gueye), Quarterly Journal of Pakistan Psychiatric Society (Amin A.
Gadit), Revista Brasileria de Psiquiatria (Jair Mari), Salud Mental
(Hector Perez-Rincon), Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
(Paul Bebbington), South African Journal of Psychiatry (Robin Emsley,
Susan Hawkridge), Transcultural Psychiatry (Laurence J. Kirmayer),
World Psychiatry (Mario Maj) Forum for African Medical Editors
(James K. Tumwine), Global Forum for Health Research (Andres de
Francisco), World Association of Medical Editors (Ana Marusic, Peush
Sahni), World Health Organization (Shekhar Saxena, Pratap Sharan,
Benedetto Saraceno, Barbara Aronson, Vladimir Poznyak, Izthak Levav,
Edith Certain, R. Srinivasa Murthy, Tikki Pang).
Research is needed to address the enormous unmet mental health needs of low- and middle-income (LAMI) countries. Scientific journals play an important role in production and dissemination of research. However, at present, only a minute proportion of research published in widely accessible mental health and psychiatric journals is from or about these countries. Nevertheless, over 85% of the world's population lives in the 153 countries categorized as low- and middle-income, according in World Bank criteria. Even more worrying is the observation that the gap between these and high-income countries may be widening in terms of their number of publications. The aim of the meeting was to find ways of resolving this unsatisfactory situation.
Responsibility of scientific journals towards international mental health
Scientific research, in its quest to accomplish valid generalizations about nature, is inherently global. Researchers from all parts of the world should, desirably, contribute to new knowledge about mental health and mental illness, and publish their reports in widely accessible journals. This process is facilitated by a shared understanding of aims and scientific methods, formats of presentation and reference to previously published work. …