Public Library of Science to launch new, open access journal on neglected tropical diseases

San Francisco, CA, USA, Sept 14, 2006 -- The Public Library of Science (PLoS) announced today the creation of PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, the first open access journal devoted to the world's most neglected diseases.

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases (www.plosntds.org) will focus on the overlooked diseases that strike millions of people every year in poor countries, including elephantiasis, river blindness, leprosy, hookworm, schistosomiasis, and African sleeping sickness. The journal, supported by a $1.1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will begin accepting submissions in 2007.

"PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases will promote science, policy, and advocacy for diseases of the poor, and give a voice to the community of physicians and scientists working to control these diseases," said Peter Hotez, Editor-in-Chief of the journal and an expert on tropical diseases at George Washington University. "For centuries, these have been forgotten diseases among forgotten people. We hope this journal will help to turn back the tide of neglect."

Dr. Hotez will discuss the journal during a panel discussion on neglected diseases on September 21 at the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting in New York. The panel will also feature former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who has helped to lead the successful global campaign to eradicate Guinea worm disease.

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases will publish high-quality, rigorously peer-reviewed research on all scientific, medical, and public health aspects of neglected tropical diseases, including public policy studies.

It will include an engaging magazine section containing commentaries, reviews, features, analyses, and debates, using the latest online functionality. It will be accessible online free of charge.

"Through its open-access format, the journal will help build health and research capacity in the regions most affected by neglected tropical diseases," said Dr. Hotez. "Anyone with a computer and Internet access will have free access to the journal, and may freely distribute or translate its contents."

The journal will be published by the Public Library of Science, a coalition of researchers and physicians founded in 2000 by Nobel laureate and former National Institutes of Health director Harold Varmus, Stanford University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute biochemist Patrick Brown, and University of California at Berkeley evolutionary biologist Michael Eisen.

Dr. Varmus said: "The launch of PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases means that the latest knowledge on neglected diseases will be disseminated globally and will be freely available to all, so that everyone can reap the benefits."

The journal's distinguished international editorial board includes many experts from developing countries, and some of the biggest names in tropical medicine and global health, including renowned health economist Jeffrey Sachs and the director of the World Health Organization's African river blindness control program, Uche Amazigo.

Dr. Amazigo said: "PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases will play a crucial role in boosting the efforts of neglected tropical disease researchers, health professionals, teachers, and advocacy groups in developing countries."

"There are thousands of scientific and medical journals, but very few have focused on these diseases," said Regina Rabinovich, director of the Gates Foundation's Infectious Diseases Program. "The launch of this journal is a sign that interest in neglected diseases is on the rise, as is the pace of scientific progress."

Each year, neglected tropical diseases strike millions of the world's poorest people in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America. They stunt children's growth and educational development, and result in suffering and poverty by causing lifelong disabilities, disfigurement, and social stigma. More information on neglected tropical diseases is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0020336.

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The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical research a public resource. PLoS publishes open-access journals of original peer-reviewed research, including PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine, available at no cost to anyone in the world with a connection to the Internet. More information can be found at www.plos.org and www.plosntds.org.


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