Firsts in African health research: spotlight on Dr. Lucinda Manda Taylor

Published: Monday 3rd July 2017
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One of the first female editors of the African Journal Partnership Program reflects on the challenges and milestones

Dr. Lucinda Manda-Taylor of the University of Malawi became one of the first women to serve as Editor-in-Chief of the Malawi Medical Journal this year. Her journal is part of the African Journal Partnership Program (AJPP), a mentoring partnership linking nine African health journals with leading US and UK journals. The aim of the collaboration is to boost impact, visibility and reach of the African journals. Dr. Taylor, a bioethicist by training, one of the only female editors in the AJPP network.

In 2016, the Elsevier Foundation launched its Research without Borders program, supporting AJPP’s efforts by helping nine Elsevier volunteers spend up to a month each visiting journals in Ghana, Uganda, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Kenya and Malawi. I was fortunate to work closely with Dr. Manda-Taylor during my stay in Malawi, later catching up with her at the AJPP meeting in San Diego:

Lucinda, you are, in fact, not just the first woman Editor in Chief of the Malawi Medical Journal, but one of the first in the African Journal Partnership Program. Can you tell us about the challenges and benefits of running a journal in Malawi and Africa?

Let me start by reflecting on the benefits of running a journal in Malawi. To begin with, there is a great sense of personal satisfaction in being one of the few African female editor-in-chiefs on the continent. That alone is an accomplishment. I have the opportunity to showcase the important research work that is emerging from the African content. However, the opportunity to run a journal in Malawi, and by extension, Africa presents me with a challenge. The specific challenge I want to reflect on here is irrespective of being a woman but about excellence. Because excellence on the quality of manuscripts published and the maintenance of the highest ethical standards set by the journal publishing world is what I seek to be judged on.