Building an electronic scientific journal: evolution and challenges

Benedito Barraviera, Full Professor, Center for the Study of Venoms and Venomous Animals (CEVAP), São Paulo State University (UNESP), Botucatu, SP, Brazil.

The Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases (JVATiTD) has been published for 28 years, since 1995, by the Center for the Study of Venoms and Venomous Animals (CEVAP) of the Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). It is an academic open access publication dedicated to publish research on toxinology, venomous animals and tropical diseases. Its contents include original scientific articles covering research on toxins derived from animals, plants and microorganisms as well as studies on tropical diseases with a focus on infectious diseases, parasitology and immunology.

Since the journal´s creation, it has been a long journey, full of ups and downs, full of challenges, full of defining moments and doubts about its survival. At that time, the title of the publication was shorter and tropical diseases were not part of its scope1. The very first obstacle to be overcome was: how to launch an electronic scientific journal in Brazil when commercial internet was not fully available yet? The solution, inspired by a few international journals, was to distribute the journal on floppy disks. Therefore, its articles could be read on computer screens or printed. To the best of our knowledge, it was the first Brazilian electronic scientific publication. The very first editor’s viewpoint2 states: “The Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins will be published in English on 3.5″ HD/DD diskettes to offer Brazilian researchers an opportunity to publish their papers in this specific area. […] This new Journal will start to circulate in 1995, one hundred years after Vital Brazil lived in Botucatu – an homage we pay to this brilliant Brazilian scientist”.

Image: JVATITD.

Figure 1. Timeline of Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases (JVATiTD) with its milestones.

When the Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO) went live in Brazil, in 1998, JVAT was selected to be part of its collection. Two years after that, the journal migrated to a new medium, the CD-ROM that had more storage capacity. Following technological development, in 2003 the first website for the distribution of its contents and electronic submission of manuscripts was created. The changes kept coming, because in that same year tropical diseases were included in the scope of the journal in order to broaden it. From 2003 to the present, the journal has been published online and since 2013 in continuous flow3.

Since its first issue, JVATiTD has published more than one thousand peer-reviewed articles from all over the word, from Chile to Canada, from Zimbabwe to Algeria, from Portugal to Russia, and from Turkey to Australia. Besides studies on systematics and morphology of venomous animals; physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology and immunology of toxins; and development and evaluation of antivenoms and toxin-derivative products; the journal gives visibility to “neglected tropical diseases” (NTDs). This term coined by the World Health Organization (WHO) refers to diseases that have historically been overlooked by the research community, although affecting many people globally in most vulnerable communities, such as snakebites and some parasitic diseases. In 2019, for example, 1.74 billion people were reported to require mass or individual treatment and care for NTDs4.

Currently, the journal metrics (relative to 2020) are very promising given its limited audience: 2-year Impact Factor is 2.831, 3-year Cites/Doc is 3.294, and 4-year CiteScore is 4.100; whereas the Qualis rank in Scopus is A1, and in Web of Science is A3. Among the Brazilian journals, our impact factor has classified us as number 6 (#4 in open access) of all 409 indexed titles.

Despite this positive picture, JVATiTD faces countless challenges including maintenance of its indexing in most reputable bases, the endless quest for increasing metrics, fight against fraudulent studies, keep the team of peer reviewers updated and motivated, survive among the competition with mega-journals, figure out how to handle science and social network and, most importantly as a Brazilian journal, demonstrate that scientific quality is not exclusive to English speaking countries.

Read more

  1. BARRAVIERA, B. CEVAP Journal: the first Brazilian electronic scientific publication turns 20 years old. Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases [online]. 2015, vol. 21 [viewed 3 June 2022]. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40409-015-0050-7. Available from: https://www.scielo.br/j/jvatitd/a/3PJQSfbBd677FvJZQ3jbGKm/
  2. BARRAVIERA, B. Editor’s viewpoint. Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases [online]. 1995, vol. 1, no. 1 [viewed 3 June 2022]. https://doi.org/10.1590/S0104-79301995000100001. Available from: https://www.scielo.br/j/jvat/a/ctgrMZ8M69MGMMckmFVVJns/
  3. BARRAVIERA, B. CEVAP journal towards a new phase. Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases [online]. 2013, vol. 19, no. 1 [viewed 3 June 2022] https://doi.org/10.1186/1678-9199-19-1. Available from: https://www.scielo.br/j/jvatitd/a/CDPCKML7mBkGkk89qxsp9KK/
  4. WHO World Health Organization. The Global Health Observatory. Reported number of people requiring interventions against NTDs [online]. 2022 [viewed 30 March 2022]. Available from: https://www.who.int/data/gho/data/indicators/indicator-details/GHO/reported-number-of-people-requiring-interventions-against-ntds

Link(s)

Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases: https://www.jvat.org/

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Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases – JVATITD: https://www.scielo.br/j/jvatitd/

 

Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

BARRAVIERA, B. Building an electronic scientific journal: evolution and challenges [online]. SciELO in Perspective | Press Releases, 2022 [viewed ]. Available from: https://pressreleases.scielo.org/en/2022/06/06/building-an-electronic-scientific-journal-evolution-and-challenges/

 

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