History of Insight Urology
The Urology Society of Thailand was founded on November 7, 1964, and was first chaired by Dr. Samai Chanthawimol. The society’s objective has always been to function as a venue for meeting and sharing knowledge and experience among urologists and related practitioners while strengthening academic innovation and networking. The Society has carried out work continuously and fulfilled its objectives. When the members agreed that the Society should have its own academic journal, Professor Sampan Tantiwong, the then chairman, appointed Professor Phaitun Gojaseni to be the editor of the journal. On May 1, 1976, the Urology Society of Thailand launched its first academic journal, “The Thai Journal of Urology: TJU” (Picture 1)
with 1,250 copies. It was documented in “The Editor’s Statement” that the journal was sold at the price of 15 baht, which was equivalent to the production cost. But in reality, Professor Krisada Ratana-Olarn has recounted that many of the copies were distributed to the Society’s members free of charge. The Editor’s initial intention was to launch two issues of the journal annually. But, due to several problems, including recruiting articles, securing funds, and the layout work in the early stages, the Society could only launch one issue yearly. Professor Phaitun Gojaseni was the journal’s first editor from its inception in 1976 until 1988.
The editor’s work was a demanding job, for which the editor had to dedicate himself, both mentally and physically. According to Professor Krisada, the production of a book or medical journal at that time required that the editor in chief had to do every bit of work by himself. The printing house had only one duty, which was to print whatever was sent to it. Professor Phaitun has noted in the editorial of the Thai Journal of Urology, issue no. 2, that: “…as for the publishing business, which differs from the medical profession, we have been well aware that publishing a medical journal demands much more time and preciseness as well as analytical skill than publishing ordinary books, in general. To start with, writing articles in itself relies on the kindness of many authors, who have to seek time separate from their regular jobs. These writers have, therefore, quite a limited time to write the pieces, which in the first place requires more time to contemplate. Such work includes compilation, proofreading, page-layout and printing techniques, which are all time-consuming.”
Seeking funding was another important problem. Professor Phaitun entrusted Mr. Sophon Sotara, former manager of the Asia Hotel, to act as manager for the journal and contact various companies to support the publication. I would like to present in fond remembrance some of the pictures of earlier commercial advertising about the sponsors of the first publication of the Thai Journal of Urology (Picture 2)
Because of the problem of funding the publication, effort was directed to motivate interested buyers, organizations and firms for their support. Professor Phaitun has a very interesting strategy for this (Picture 3)
Editors of various periods have employed different strategies to motivate contributors for articles to be published in the Thai Journal of Urology. Professor Phaitun announced in the TJU, year 5, issue no. 5 (Picture 4)
that the journal would present awards to the writers of the best articles. The awards, documented in the TJU, year 6, issue no. 6, went to Dr. Chusin Jirajitsampan for the article titled “Duodenal Injury from Nephrectomy” and Dr. Kanlaya Phalakornkul for the article “Interesting Problems about the Phenomenon of Tumors with Seminoma”. The award presentation was held at the Society’s annual meeting in 1981. Later, Professor Krisada Ratana-Olarn, who was the deputy editor, adjusted the strategy by announcing: “The TJU is always pleased to be the venue for all medical residents/registrars”. The TJU published for the first time articles from residents’ in its year 12 issue, on December 1, 1988. These include: “Comparison of Suture Ligation and Non Suture Ligation of Ureter Approaches for the Surgery of Ureteric Stone Removal” by Dr. Theerawan Wanamkang, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, and “Appendiceal Adenocarcinoma Simulating Primary Bladder Cancer: A Case Report” by Dr. Pithak Tangchanachaianant, Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital.
On July 12, 1988, the Office of the National Culture Commission granted permission to establish the Thai Urological Association. Later, on March 22, 1989, the Association came into being with its registration at the Office of the Royal Thai Police’s Special Branch. Subsequently between 1989 and 1991, the Thai Urological Association underwent a transitional period, in which the publication of the TJU was temporarily suspended because a lack of funds and submissions. Professor Krisada, who had been an Association’s committee member and the Association’s chairman for two terms (2005-2009), recounted that in the executive committee’s meetings participants had raised the issue of whether the TJU would “keep going” or “give up”. A number of participants, both from the Executive Committee and the Association’s membership, made a resolution to keep the TJU going.
Professor Verasing Muangman delegated Professor Wachira Kochakarn, who was then working at Nopparat Rajathanee Hospital, to be the editor of the journal. As Professor Wachira recalled: “Initially there were only 2-3 articles at hand. This prompted us to look for more articles by phoning people to ask if they had research papers to publish in our journal. Unfortunately, it was difficult to locate them. So we needed to supplement the journal with review articles. We also started looking for sponsors for printing. Dealing with the printing house was very difficult at that time. To make a printing plate, we had to cut each piece and paste it on the plate. During floods, we had to wade through the water to get to the printing house.’’ Finally, with great determination and dedication from the staff, the Thai Journal of Urology year 13, issue 13, December 1992, was published. It was, indeed, an important resurrection of the TJU.
Professor Wachira was the Thai Journal of Urology’s editor from 1992 to 2000. During the second year of his editorship, which was the 14th year since the TJU had come into existence, he fulfilled the original intention of the journal’s founders by publishing two issues of the TJU annually. In 1999, when the TJU turned 20 years old, Professor Wachira set up the peer review system, taking another great leap forward – equivalent to the international journals’ standards. As for the problem of a lack of articles, it was resolved. Professor Krisada said in the year 2000 that the new curriculum for residency training takes 4 years for completion and requires residents in urology to present their research at certified conferences and publish their work, before they are eligible to undertake the examination for graduation. This has resolved the problem about finding articles.
The Thai Journal of Urology normally publishes its first issue of the year in June and its second issue in December. But the author would like to document that an exception has been made twice. In 2004, which was the 25th year of the TJU, the first issue was published in March and the second issue in June. Moreover, in 2005 there was the publication of a special edition in December, which fell under the 26th year of the TJU.
The next editor of The Thai Journal of Urology was Associate Professor Pichaya Sujijantararat (2001- 2004), who improved the format and offered advise concerning the procedure of submitting manuscripts in accordance with the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. The TJU has subsequently had several other editors, including Associate Professor Anupan Tantiwong (2004-2006), Associate Professor Sittiporn Srinuannad (2007-2012) and Associate Professor Monthira Tanthanuch (2013). The TJU has not yet joined the journal database system. This makes it impossible to retrieve published articles through the information system. With the approval of the Committee of the Thai Urological Association, the intention to get the TJU into the international information system in three developmental phases. The first phase is to enter the journal system of Thailand; the second phase is to enter the journal system of Asia; and the third phase is to enter the international journal system. To start with, an effort has been made to recruit staff and define the working guidelines for each section so that the journal can be published according to schedule. There has also been a focus on at strategy to improve the quality of the articles by setting up a quality control system whereby articles are screened by qualified scholars and English language experts. Efforts have revolved around enhancing the channels for accessing information in the journal via various standard search engine tools such as Google Scholar and, Thai Journals Online (ThaiJO).
On May 10, 2016, the TJU received accreditation in the second group of the Thai Journal Citation Index (TCI). Subsequently the journal was promoted to the first group in the TCI’s database on October 12, 2017(Picture 5)
accomplishing the mission goal. As for the next two phases to qualify of qualifying for the standard journal system of Asia and the international journal system, the TJU received considerable cooperation from groups of lecturers from various training institutes in order to improve the quality of articles (Picture 6)
To be accredited by the international standard journal system, the TJU needed to be available in English. With the approval of the Urological Association’s Committee, the TJU was published in English. It also had an online submission system, which debuted in its full form in January 2018.
The Editorial Committee, along with the Editor in Chief, worked together tirelessly to improve the journal’s quality. Consequently, the TJU was accepted into the ASEAN Citation Index (ACI), the next step being acceptance into the Scopus and PubMed databases. Therefore, the TJU team invited countless experts from all over the globe to become editors. Such an improvement to the TJU made it worthy of a new name, and thus it was renamed the Insight Urology (ISU) in December 2020.
Since the Thai Journal of Urology, now named Insight Urology, was founded, all of its editors have devoted themselves physically, mentally, and intellectually to improving the journal’s standard as the “academic journal” for the Thai Urological Association under the Royal Patronage. During a more than 40-year journey, the ISU has overcome countless obstacles until at present when it is widely recognized. The ISU will proudly continue to be a valuable source as an academic journal for the urology community.
From Monthira Thantanuch, Our Journal: The Thai Journal of Urology, 30th Anniversary of TUA, Continuing with Pride.