Reviews Personal views

On street addresses and middle names: my struggle to upload a scientific paper

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 02 March 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:556
  1. Rita Giacaman, associate professor (
  1. (Rita Hanna Jirieh Saleh Abdallah) health policy, Institute of Community and Public Health, Birzeit University, Ramallah (near Beitunia Road, four sets of traffic lights from downtown Ramallah, past the Abu Raya Rehabilitation Centre, third road to the right by Allati II Tyres, upstairs from Wasif Muti's furniture shop), Occupied Palestinian Territory

    Recently I set out to upload an article for possible publication in one of the world's main medical journals, the website of which reported its upload system as offering several benefits to authors. To begin positively, I could in fact find listed in the website's menu of countries the country I live in (Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), the formal UN designated name for the country since 1967). This was heartening, as until recently I and fellow authors had had to argue with journal editors and publishers for the inclusion of OPT on journals' country menus. I felt quite indignant about this, as many other Palestinians would, as the absence of our country's name implies that we do not exist. But then proofs would come back with “Israel” on them—even after we emailed to correct them—a designation that would have pleased neither side of the Israel-Palestine divide. We experienced this repeatedly, and uploading papers became an uphill struggle.

    Inclusion means creating websites that take into account different cultures, ways of life, and contexts

    Although cheered by the early stages of this latest upload attempt, I kept trying to indicate that our country was the OPT, yet somehow Panama would appear in the address, in between sudden interruptions to the internet connection (a …

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