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Public Library of Science has started yet another open access journal. This one, appropriately enough, is the PLoS Journal of Neglected Tropical Diseases. PLoS is a peer-reviewed journal that limits what it publishes to what it considers to be the best and most important articles. According to A Blog around the Clock, written by the online community manager at PLoSOne, the inaugural issue is fully international, and the site is now using TOPAZ software that enables comments, annotations, ratings and trackbacks. It will also take an interdisciplinary approach because, as WHO’s director general Margaret Chan writes in a guest commentary:

Although these diseases have been overshadowed by better-known conditions, especially the “big three”–HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis–evidence collected in the past few years has revealed some astonishing facts about the NTDs. They are among the most common infections of the poor–an estimated 1.1 billion of the world’s 2.7 billion people living on less than US$2 per day are infected with one or more NTDs. When we combine the global disease burden of the most prevalent NTDs, the disability they cause rivals that of any of the big three. Moreover, the NTDs exert an equally important adverse impact on child development and education, worker productivity, and ultimately economic development. Chronic hookworm infection in childhood dramatically reduces future wage-earning capacity, and lymphatic filariasis erodes a significant component of India’s gross national product. The NTDs may also exacerbate and promote susceptibility to HIV/AIDS and malaria.

PLoS is trying to be a high-quality, recognized journal, and there’s value in that. It therefore limits what it publishes to what pases peer review and is deemed important. PLoS One, on the other hand, publishes anything that passes its peer review process even if the topic is relatively minor. I wonder: Do all articles that pass PLoS’ peer review but that don’t make it into PLoS get sent over to an appropriate PLoS One journal, if there is one, and if the authors agree?

Anyway, neglected tropical diseases is a perfect topic for an open access journal. But, then, I sort of think everything is.

[Tags: science plos ntd tropical_disease medicine open_access a2k ]

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