Information Science (정보과학/ Chongbo Kwahak)

Information Science
정보과학/ Chongbo Kwahak
Translation and backgrounder by Stephen Mercado

A quarterly journal covering science and technology related to the storage, retrieval and processing of information, published by the Science and Encyclopedia Publishing House.

Cover of Information Science (정보과학 / Chongbo Kwahak), no. 6 (2021).

Journal Title: The journal title has various renderings. Information Science is the name in English. Its name in a simplified version of the standard McCune-Reischauer (M-R) transliteration system and the actual title in Korean are listed above. Its full M-R transliteration, as used in catalogs of the Library of Congress and other major libraries, is Chŏngbo kwahak. In North Korean media, the journal’s title is transliterated as Jongbo Kwahak.

Author Information: Editorials and anecdotes of the Revolution (혁명 일화) are unsigned. The research papers show author names but lack other information common to science papers, such as academic or professional affiliation, academic titles, areas of research or author biography. The journal’s title suggests possible author affiliation with relevant institutes of the State Academy of Sciences (SAS) and academic departments. For example, Kwak Son Il, in an article published in Issue 1, 2019, cited an article of his published abroad in 2015 in the International Journal of Theoretical Physics and Cryptography. The latter article included the information that he was affiliated with the College of Computer Science, Kim Il Sung University.

Subject Matter: The articles have to do with developments in cryptography, image processing, signal processing and other aspects of information science and technology.

References: Authors publishing in this journal tend to cite domestic, Chinese, and Western monographs and journal articles. Domestic citations include the journal 정보기술 [Information Technology] and the Industrial Publishing House’s 2003 work 암호기술 [Cryptography]. Chinese journal citations include 计算机仿真 (Computer Simulation) and 计算机工程与应用 (Computer Engineering and Applications). Among Western sources, citations abound for Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE) publications, including Transactions on Computers, Transactions on Image Processing, and Transactions on Wireless Communications. Other referenced Western works include the journals Neurocomputing and CryptoBytes.

Sections: Each issue comprises a front cover; an unnumbered page with a framed quotation of one of the leaders of the three generations of the Kim family; a table of contents (TOC) in Korean; the articles; a partial TOC in English; the publishing information; and the back cover. Regime messages/propaganda appear throughout the journal.

In recent years, the front cover shows a slogan over the journal title, under which is the name of the publisher, the issue number and year of issue and the corporate logo. The TOC in Korean starts with two or three items, each either an editorial or an anecdote of the Revolution. There follows some number of articles under the sections “Research Papers” (연구론문) and “Research Data” (연구자료). Some issues may include other sections, such as “Introductory Data” (소개자료) and “Legal Commentary” (법무해설). After the last item is the publishing information. There follows a TOC in English, in which there are only translations for the section “Research Papers,” translated as “Original Papers.” In recent years, the back cover shows the periodical publication number and the journal’s International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) over a bar code.

A side-by-side comparison of a page of the Korean and English TOCs.

Publisher: The publisher’s name in English is the Science and Encyclopedia Publishing House. It is the Kwahak Paekkwa Sajon Chulpansa in simplified M-R and 과학백과사전출판사 in Korean. The publisher’s name appears in Korean on the journal’s cover and in English on the copyright line on the publishing information page. In addition, the front cover includes the publisher’s logo: a globe, with a representation of the atom imposed at the top and an abbreviated version of the publisher’s Korean name, 백과 (Paekkwa), at the bottom.

Prior to Issue 3, 2018, the publisher’s name printed on the front cover was 과학기술출판사 (Kwahak Kisul Chulpansa, the Science and Technology Publishing House). Confusingly, the front cover for 2016, 2017, and the first two issues of 2018 show the Science and Technology Publishing House name together with the Paekkwa corporate logo.

The publisher publishes an issue each quarter, starting in January, totaling four issues per year. Issue 4 (August), 2022, according to the table of contents and the publishing information page, was cumulative issue number 86. The publishing information page also indicated that there was an editorial committee (no members named), the publisher was the Science and Encyclopedia Publishing House, the place of printing was the Moranbong Printing Plant, the date of printing was 20 July Juche 111 (2022), and the date of issue was 5 August Juche 111 (2022). In previous years, Issue 3 appeared in August and Issue 4 in November. The copyright line was © Science and Encyclopedia Publishing House 2022, DPR Korea. The publishing information has shown changes over time; for example, in Issue 1, 2011—the earliest issue available—the place of printing was the Pyongyang General Printing Plant. That issue of the journal showed no publishing company in its copyright line, telephone number, or bar code on the back cover.