Korean Pharmacology (조선약학 / Choson Yakhak)

Korean Pharmacology
조선약학 / Choson Yakhak
Translation and backgrounder by Stephen Mercado

A quarterly journal on science and technology related to the development, use and effects of drugs, published by the Science and Encyclopedia Publishing House.

Cover of Korean Pharmacology (조선약학 / Choson Yakhak), no. 4 (2022).

Journal Title: The journal title has various renderings. Korean Pharmacology 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 Chosŏn yakhak. In North Korean media, the journal’s title is transliterated Joson Yakhak.

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 State Academy of Sciences (SAS) institutes, academic departments related to basic medicine and/or hospitals.

Subject Matter: The articles have to do with the development, use and effects of drugs.

References: Authors publishing in this journal tend to cite domestic, Chinese, and Western monographs, journal articles and patents. Domestic references include the Medical Science Publishing House reference works 약물합성편람 [Handbook of Drug Synthesis] (2015) and 림상약물총서 (증보판) [Clinical Drug Series, Expanded Edition] (2011). Among Chinese journals cited is 国际生物制品学杂志 (International Journal of Biologicals).

Sections: Each issue comprises a front cover; an unnumbered page with a framed quotation of one of the three generations of the Kim family; a table of contents (TOC) in Korean; articles; publishing information; and a 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 section “Research Results and Experience” (연구성과와 경험). Other sections that often appear in the journal are “General Remarks and Data” (종설 및 자료), “News” (상식) and “Legal Commentary” (법무해헐). Following the last item is the publishing information. The back cover shows the periodical publication number and, in recent years, the journal’s International Standard Serial number (ISSN) over a bar code.

A page of the Korean TOC.

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 의학과학출판사 (Uihak Kwahak Chulpansa, the Medical Science Publishing House). Confusingly, the front cover for the 2016, 2017, as well as the first two issues of 2018, show the Medical Science Publishing House name together with the Paekkwa corporate logo.

The publisher publishes an issue each quarter, starting in March, totaling four issues per year. According to the table of contents and the publishing information page, Issue 3 (September), 2022 was cumulative issue number 277. 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 30 August Juche 111 (2022), and the date of issue was 15 September Juche 111 (2022). The copyright line was Science and Encyclopedia Publishing House 2022, DPR Korea. The publishing information has shown other changes over time; for example, in Issue 1, 2011, the publisher was the Medical Science Publishing House, the place of printing was the Pyongyang General Printing Plant, the copyright line omitted the publisher’s name, and the issue did not include a telephone number.