Is KI Fit for Purpose?

Written by Meguid El Nahas on Monday, 15 May 2017. Posted in OLA Blog

Is KI Fit for Purpose?





I read this month (May 2017) Kidney International whilst in an emerging country teaching to emerging doctors on clinical aspects of Kidney Disease.

Once more, I found very few articles of relevance to those practicing clinical nephrology, never mind those practicing it in emerging countries...

Only 6 of 23 publications were useful or relevant, the rest was more suitable information for researchers in western academic institutions where research on Treg lymphocytes, Zipper proteins, myeloid derived suppressor cells, mitochondrial targeted peptide, alpha-klotho or autophagy is of relevance or interest...

KI, the publishing organ of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN), should pay more attention to jobbing nephrologists at the sharp end of patients' care than basic science researchers in their ivory towers.

the ISN has insisted for decades that it pays particular attention to nephrology in Emerging countries with a number of initiatives supporting such mission and assertion.

However, its major journal, KI, doesnt seem consistent with that mission. I urge the editor of KI and its Editorial Board to give clinicians a better read and to give those practicing in emerging countries more than 2-3 articles/issue of relevance to their clinical practice and CNE!

In answer to the question: Is KI Fit For Purpose? I would say: 

YES, for Western Privileged, high economies, Academia, with limited clinical impact...

NO, for Nephrologists in deprived low and Middle economy countries, who struggle to keep renal diseases and their ravages at bay...

KI may be fit for a purpose...but not the most relevant!



Meguid El Nahas

Professor Meguid El Nahas PhD, FRCP

Chief Editor, OLA Director

Professor El Nahas was born in Cairo, Egypt and undertook his undergraduate medical education in...
Posted: 9 months 2 days ago by arif.khwaja #21448
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Completely agree... KI is not a journal for clinical nephrologists
There is something profoundly wrong with the publication system... too many journals publishing recycled junk ( e.g. Proteinuria associated with progression) of irrelevance to practicing clinicians
Nature reviews Nephrology would be much better as the ISN journal
Posted: 9 months 2 days ago by tukaram #21449
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Journals have their own reasons for publishing or not publishing. Only a fraction of the published research (even in clinical journals) ever survives to the bedside to actually help treat patients. Most clinicians aren't critical enough to not to get carried away by conclusions of such publications
Posted: 9 months 2 days ago by elnahas #21450
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The point here is not about nephrology Journals in general, it is about KI the main journal of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN).
ISN is so concerned about fostering Nephrology education, research and clinical services (CKD, AKI, PD, etc...) as well as Nephrology progress in general in Emerging countries, not to mention boost its readership and membership there...

KI is not fit for that purpose with the type of papers it currently publishes!
Posted: 9 months 2 days ago by elnahas #21451
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Discussed on OLA Facebook,

Prof Marc de Broe:
good comment on Ki and his mission and goal.
When I was AE during 7 years of this good jourlal the answer to the question of considering papers from developing countries dealing with problems of developing countries were in se considerable provided they coorespond to the quality of he content, methodology, relevance of the results and pertinence of the discussion

Meguid El Nahas:
I tried to do a Blog Commentary on this month publications for young emerging nephrologists...and could only find 1 or 2 relevant articles...?!

I raised this point many times when I was on the ISN Publications committee and was told: Not True...plenty of relevant publications....I even suggested to allow for publications from emerging nephrologists that are below high western academic standards, but publish them with a critical commentary!
Posted: 9 months 2 days ago by #21452
Luca Segantini's Avatar
Hi, I'll let my academic colleagues in charge of KI to comment on the content of the journal. What is evident to me, from a slightly different perspective, is that allowing content from authors from emerging countries will quickly lower the journal impact factor, and as a consequence its appeal to the publisher, who is contributing generous royalties to the Society. We may want to discuss if this mechanism is fair, and I am not sure this is the right place, or even relevant to KI alone. However, we cannot forget that those royalties allow the ISN to deliver its philanthropic Programs, which invest $2M each year in supporting kidney education and care in emerging countries. So, from this perspective, we can conclude that KI indirectly but very concretely impacts kidney care progress in emerging countries (besides reinforcing the notion that ISN is a GLOBAL society, so not just appealing to doctors in emerging countries but also attractive to top investigators and clinicians in rich countries).

Luca Segantini
Executive Director, ISN
Posted: 9 months 1 day ago by elnahas #21453
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Dear Luca,
Thank you for this thoughtful comment.

In answer to the question is: KI Fit for Purpose?, you clearly raise the financial purpose for consideration and the income generated by a high impact journal for an organisation, such as ISN, with a Global funding and Expenditure mission.

Maybe I remain old fashioned in believing that the organ of an international society is primarily to provide its readers worldwide with publications pertinent to their professional care; in most middle and low economies professional care is primarily delivered at the bedside and in difficult constraining conditions; it would be supportive if the main publication of that society assist them in that task.

The fund raising purpose of a journal whilst critically important, should not, in my view, dictate its content.

I also wonder how many emerging, young and older, nephrologists read KI in its current configuration, even if many receive it for free?!

Finally, a high impact factor is been achieved by journals like Nature Reviews Nephrology (9.46, compared to KI's: 7.6), that has in this month issue (May 2017) 12 of 18 clinical publications accessible and useful to all nephrologists regardless of their academic, scientific or research background.

I have no doubt that a section in KI that addresses the need of Nephrologists in Disadvantaged Countries with practical clinical tips, and guidelines as well as news and reviews would not significantly harm KI's impact factor nor would it jeopardise its funding. It would make it a more useful companion GLOBALLY to the Nephrologists the ISN aims to reach and support whilst also supporting the many valuable ISN outreach missions; in that respect it could publish news of ISN educational activities, visits, seminars/workshops, ambassadors etc...
Posted: 9 months 8 hours ago by elnahas #21454
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Dr Alexander Woywodt wrote:

This is so true.

Perhaps a question we should ask more often i.e. whether journals shouldn't be more inclusive of developing countries and those that don't live in well funded ivory towers. I participated in an ISN sponsored mentorship programme recently and helped our colleagues in the nephrology department in Tuzla/Bosnia. I found my time there hugely inspiring and enjoyable. There is so much out there that we can learn from our colleagues -resilience, creativity and focus on the essential things.

I think it would be nice to see a truly international renal journal.
Posted: 8 months 4 weeks ago by elnahas #21457
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Prof. David Goldsmith wrote on OLA Facebook:

They're playing the infantile Impact Factor game. Pathetic but commonly done.

Superb science.

But I had quite forgotten it was sponsored by ISN.

They need a Sister Journal (though goodness knows there are far far too many journals) called Global Nephrology

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