Surgery (외과 / Oekwa)

외과 / Oekwa
Translation and backgrounder by Stephen Mercado

A quarterly journal of science and technology related to surgical practices and techniques, published by the Science and Encyclopedia Publishing House.

Cover of Surgery (외과 / Oekwa), no. 4 (2022).

Journal Titles: The journal title has various renderings. Surgery 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. In North Korean media, the journal title is transliterated Oegwa. In addition to “surgery,” the title literally can also mean “external medicine.”

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 orthopedics, plastic surgery and other types of surgery and medical operations.

References: Authors publishing in this journal tend to cite domestic, Chinese, and Western monographs and journal articles. Domestic references include the Medical Science Publishing House book 최신정형외과학 [Latest Science of Plastic Surgery] (2011), 中国骨伤 (China Journal of Orthopaedics and Traumatology), and the Western journal Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery.

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.

A page of the Korean TOC.

In recent years, the front cover has shown 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” (연구성과). 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.

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, which also 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, Medical Science Publishing House). Confusingly, the front cover for the 2016 and 2017 issues, 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 February, for a total of four issues per year. According to the TOC and publishing information page, Issue 3 (August), 2022 was cumulative issue number 174. 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 2 August Juche 111 (2022), and the date of issue was 17 August 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 earliest issue available, the publisher was the Medical Science Publishing House, the place of printing was the Pyongyang General Printing Plant, and the copyright line omitted the publisher’s name and did not show a telephone number.