Recent Posts

Brazilian Scientific Journals: challenges, (dis)incentives and one fundamental question

  • 24 July 2017
There are more than a thousand journals that publish research results from all knowledge fields in Brazil. Despite the existence of centennial journals such as “Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz” and “Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciencias”, which started publishing in 1907 and 1929, respectively, Brazilian researchers do not consider international journals published here as a source of academic prestige. Following the steady growth of Brazilian science in the last quarter of the 20th century, Brazilian researchers have been engaged in an evaluative and rewarding system that has pushed them to seek out journals deemed as offering more influence and…

The self-regulation of science: what is legitimate and acceptable

  • 20 February 2017
In an ideal world, publishing the results of scientific research might be compared to an algorithm that includes the following steps: a) obtain all the resources needed to finish (timely!) a project for testing a scientific hypothesis;b) write a concise, objective text describing the tested hypothesis, methods, data collection, analysis to reject or support the hypothesis, and conclusions;c) be aware of your responsibility as a scientist, and strictly comply with the ethical statements and good practices of science communication;d) decide whether you will communicate the research results through a science peer meeting, book, or specialised journals;e) choose an appropriate scientific…

Up to date? The time lag for some XX century science discoveries to first appear in the pages of the Memorias (a journal dedicated to research on microbes and their vectors causing human infections)

  • 08 December 2016
From the perspective of the XXI century, it seems trivial to expect that major advancements in science will spread out from laboratories at 3-5 years intervals. Shortly after the end of World War II, faith in science and technology to improve life and make living more comfortable became integrated into human societies (not all societies, but at least those with high levels of economic and social development). Today we are all anxious to get information about scientific novelties, which are rapidly disseminated through social media and news agencies. However, it has not always been this way. During most of the…

Vectors, parasites and unlimited science newsflashes: pause for reflection?

  • 20 October 2016
Recent changes in the editorial procedures of the Memorias have restricted the number of manuscripts accepted for publication. As of January 2016, we have been publishing only ten papers per month. This limitation notwithstanding, we are sometimes positively surprised by the random clustering of subject matter in the manuscripts that have been accepted for publication. This is the case of our October 2016 - 111(10) issue: five manuscripts reporting research results on vectors of infectious microorganisms. Three articles deal with different aspects of triatomines, the hematophagous insect that transmit Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease, to humans. Two…

Scientific journal publishing is too complex to be measured by a single metric: time to review the role of the impact factor!

  • 24 August 2016
How should scientific authors choose the best journal to disseminate their research work? If this question was formulated two centuries ago by a biomedical researcher in Europe, the answer would be quite simple: decide first in which language the message should be delivered (e.g., English, German, French, Russian, Latin, Spanish) and then pick one out of the approximately 100 science journals which in that period were publishing papers in one of those languages. The world of scholarly publishing at the beginning of nineteenth century was so small ( that scientists could quickly decide to which journal to send the manuscript.Times…

Do you need assistance? Ask for a molecular chaperone!

  • 18 July 2016
Cells are impressive machines: they are highly coordinated, extremely efficient, and very clean in their modus operandi. To perform the highly ordered molecular processes, all components of the cell must be under tight control and no substructure is allowed to waste energy. There appears to be a teleological pathway in cell evolution, but the phenomenon itself is not completely unveiled, and thus we are tempted to speculate about the cells’ past and future. Important concerns include costly mistakes in the coordination of cell activities (which can lead to cancer) and cell decay. Evolution has selected several intricate and fine-tuned mechanisms…

Zika is not a reason for missing the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro: response to the open letter of Dr Attaran and colleagues to Dr Margaret Chan, Director - General, WHO, on the Zika threat to the Olympic and Paralympic Games

  • 03 June 2016
Attaran and colleagues in an open letter to WHO expressed their concern about the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and the threat posed by the Zika epidemic (Attaran 2016). We agree that Zika virus is of great public health concern and much remains to be known about this disease. Care should be taken to reduce the risk of infection, especially to pregnant women. However, we argue that this is not sufficient reason for changing the original plans for the Games, in particular because of the time of the year when they will take place. The present…

Abundance, distribution, diversity, resistance...: key words for vectors of infectious microorganisms Please, sign here! Leishmania braziliensis infection and its microbial signature

  • 20 May 2016
Many microorganisms have established million-year old associations with certain insect genera and one of the consequences to humans obliges us to invest precious resources in the study of this relationship: the transmission of infectious diseases. If left uncontrolled, insect vectors and their transported microorganisms can represent a deadly threat to human populations. When only the infectious agent is considered in this association, features like distribution, diversity and resistance, though still conveying technical and conceptual challenges, can be dealt with in simpler terms. But a scenario analysis that looks at the simultaneous presence of an infectious agent and its vector elevates…

Please, sign here! Leishmania braziliensis infection and its microbial signature

  • 18 April 2016
Lately, microbes that colonise the gut and skin in humans have attracted enormous attention. Diverse physiological roles are being attributed to the human microbiota; one of the most studied is the contribution to the immune response (Lopes et al. 2016). For obvious reason these studies are targeted at human beings, but we can infer that in other animals the importance of commensal microbes should be relevant as well. Changing or eliminating some members of microbial communities may lead to undesirable systemic effects in the host organism. One practical example of such imbalance occurs with the action of antibiotics (Raymond et…

Emerging infectious disease and fast-track publication: when public health gets priority over the formality of scholarly publishing.

  • 11 March 2016
It has long been acknowledged within the scientific community that in the mid- term future the Earth will undergo important changes beyond those deduced from the past behaviour of known physical phenomena. For example, climate change due to rising temperatures is expected to influence several systems, like ocean levels, wind current and rain regimes. Global travel, urbanization, biomedical manipulation and intensive agriculture are additional factors affecting natural systems which together in turn influence the diversity of plant, animals, and microorganisms in general. As a result, zoonoses represent 60,3% of emerging infectious diseases, more than 70% of which are caused by…

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