The sessions on Best Practices in the Editorial Processes of Scientific Journals for LILACS promote knowledge of key issues in the editorial process to improve the quality, positioning, and visibility of health sciences journals from Latin America and the Caribbean indexed in the Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Literature database (LILACS).
The target audience for these events are members of editorial teams of journals that are already indexed in LILACS, those that intend to be indexed, or publications that are in the implementation phase. Researchers, librarians, and information science students, in addition, will also be able to benefit from the topics covered in the online sessions.
The ‘Best Practices’ series enters, in 2023, its 5th consecutive year. Sessions are held in Spanish and are generally in charge of experts invited to present the topics, such as scientific editors, members of scientific societies, and other professionals. Collaborators from BIREME and from the Headquarters, Centers, and Country Offices of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) are also among the speakers. The inaugural event of 2023 addressed the theme ‘How scientific journals contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’ and had four speakers.
João Paulo Souza, Director of BIREME, opened the webinar, with his speech that gives title to the session. João Paulo recalled that the issues that most concern and affect humanity today – climate change, pandemics, and the potential decrease of basic resources, such as water and food, transcend borders and countries. Technological resources, on the other hand, allow us greater interaction, albeit virtually, with people from other countries and regions, and there is greater economic, political, and social integration. The SDGs, adopted by the United Nations in 2015, are a universal call to action to eliminate extreme poverty, protect the planet and ensure that by 2030 all people can live in peace and prosperity. The 17 SDGs are closely related to each other, as it is not possible to achieve some of them by neglecting the others. A tool that articulates all sectors, however, is information. Scientific journals, ponders João Paulo, by communicating research results and providing guidance for practice, contribute in a very relevant way to achieving the SDGs. By publishing topics of interest to specifically achieve the SDGs and promoting open access to knowledge, journals exercise the democratization of access to information, while promoting innovation and collaboration at a global level. Finally, to the extent that journals disseminate action-oriented knowledge and contribute to the global knowledge corpus, they also make it possible to identify knowledge gaps that can, in turn, guide the development of research in this direction.
Next, Damián Vazquez, editor of the Pan American Journal of Public Health – PAJPH (official refereed scientific publication of PAHO/WHO) reported on the experience of implementing the goals of SDG3 – Health and Well-Being in the editorial process of the Journal. Vazquez recalled that the PAJPH celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2022, “promoting regular scientific communication between health authorities in the Region”. The Journal has been dedicated to publishing articles related to priority health issues in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the editor detailed the processes and criteria through which articles are selected and published. The selection of submitted articles that will be effectively published involves answering five questions involving the theme, type of article, its potential recipients, the objectives that the article intends to achieve and finally what are the health actions that one wants to carry out. In addition to answering these questions, the article seeks to identify gaps in knowledge on a given topic, whether the topic is of particular relevance to a country or region, whether it is a local, national, regional, or global emergency, whether it deals with neglected diseases and whether the article provides an institutional view (related to the Organization). To exemplify, Damián Vazquez mentioned three categories of articles and related them to the type of data they contain; the target audience for which they are intended; the article type function; and finally, the main objective that is intended in publishing this article, whether it be the inclusion of a topic on the political agenda, establishing a norm or regulation or offering a diagnosis or treatment option.
Vazquez concluded by talking about the unique position of PAJPH in the Region, which, while positioning itself as a publication with a growing bibliometric impact among renowned public health journals, acts as a vehicle of great importance in the health agendas of countries, by disseminating articles on public policies and interventions coordinated by the Ministries of Health of the Member States of the Organization.
Lilian Calò, Scientific Communication Coordinator at BIREME, had the opportunity to present the new Advanced Course of Scholarly Communication in Health Sciences, launched in January of this year (in Spanish) and the result of her intense research and writing work during 2022. Open access can be a powerful tool to reduce the inequalities that are one of the obstacles to achieving the goals of the SDGs. It is also for this reason that the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science was adopted in 2021 unanimously by its Member States, establishing a universal definition, common standards and a shared set of values and principles.
Lilian outlined a timeline for open science, with the aim of situating the participants regarding the time frames that impacted the consolidation of open science practices, and that originated from 1990 onwards, contrary to the mistaken notion that many may feel that these practices emerged only a few years ago.
To conclude, Sueli Suga, Supervisor of Referential Information Sources at BIREME, presented scientific and technical literature selected from the LILACS database through search strategies on SDG3 targets and the detailed infometric study of this set of references. Infometrics allows determining which authors and institutions publish the most topics related to each goal of SDG3, in addition to the journals where they are published, year of publication, types of study and other data related to publications, such as descriptors (DeCS/MesH) associated to each document.
The session was attended by 190 participants from 20 countries, who interacted with the speakers through chat and asking questions and comments at the end of the session. All presentations can be accessed on the event page, as well as the recording of the webinar.
New sessions are scheduled to take place in the 2023 calendar of ‘Good Practices’ in June, August, and October, which will be widely publicized through the communication channels and social networks of BIREME and LILACS.