In 2002, I wrote an editorial called "The world's most neglected diseases," in which I painted a bleak picture of the outlook for people with neglected tropical diseases. But there has been an astonishing turnaround in the last year, culminating in the launch of the world's first ever journal specifically devoted to these diseases.
Today is the day that PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases is formally open to submissions. We have a team of PLoS staff devoted to the journal, and a world class international editorial board who are poised to manage the peer review of your papers as rigorously and efficiently as possible.
We worked hard to create an editorial board that was inclusive with respect to representation of endemic country researchers on our editorial board. So how did we do?
If you look at the 55 Associate Editors, who have the main responsibility for managing peer review, 20 are in developing countries (i.e. just under 40%).
How does this compare with the existing tropical medicine journals?
In a study published in the BMJ in 2004, Jennifer Keiser, Juerg Utzinger and colleagues found that only 5.1% of the editorial and advisory board members from the 12 ISI-referenced journals on tropical medicine were affiliated to countries with a low human development index. Jennifer and Juerg are both on the editorial board of PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, and their work was hugely influential to us in shaping the composition of the journal's board.
We hope that the journal will become a crucial tool for building scientific capacity in developing countries, by providing universal open access to the latest research, discussion, and debate, and by publishing the work of authors from endemic countries.
We will be launching the journal on the same publishing platform as PLoS ONE, which means that the NTDs community will be able to interact with the research papers by annotating them, starting discussion threads, ranking what they believe to be the best science, and uploading their own commentaries and critiques. The idea is to create a living, breathing online community built around the primary research.
Publishing your research in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases benefits both you and the NTDs community. If your work falls in the scope of the journal, please go ahead and send us a presubmission enquiry. If we invite you to submit the paper, you can now do so directly to our online submission system.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases: promoting research, opening dialogue, addressing neglect.