Bart G.J. Knols's blog
MalariaWorld is looking for authors to write columns about malaria - in the broadest sense. What we all read in scientific articles on malaria is only the tip of the iceberg when it gets to the world of malaria. Our malaria world is shaped by funding agencies, meeting outcomes, opinionated individuals and politics, but also you.
MalariaWorld as of today has 8102 registered members. We continuously check the validity of your email address to make sure that we remain connected with you, so you and 8101 other subscribers receive the MalariaWorld newsletter every single week of the year. This November we celebrated our fourth year of providing services to you. This was also a time to once more review our progress, including the progress we are making with the MalariaWorld Journal. The journal is now in its 4th volume and it is maturing, but we identified some real difficulties, one of which I want to bring to your attention here: manuscript reviewing...
It is not very often that we see a talk exclusively on malaria at a global TED event. And now there is a new one. Anyone that has an interest in malaria by now should have heard about Sonia Shah. She wrote the excellent book 'The Fever' in 2010, a book that received praise around the world. Shah has now condensed the book in a 15 minute talk. She does so in a simple yet authorative manner that is clear even to someone that has never heard about malaria.
Basically she describes three reasons why it is so hard to tackle malaria in its heartland: Africa. First, the complexity of the disease and the challenges we continue to face to either combat the parasite or its vector make it a tough disease to conquer. True. Parasite resistance to drugs, vector resistance to insecticides, the difficulty of making a potent vaccine, it all adds up to what may seem an impossible task. Second, she talks about economics, the costs involved and the lack of the myriad of resources needed (health facilities, trained staff, control personnel and so on) to do a thorough job. Again true. And third she talks about indifference and the fact that malaria is as engrained in developing country nations as a simple cold or flu in the North. Hmmm, food for thought.
The film below was submitted to MalariaWorld by Dr. Pierre Lutgen.
On several occasions Patrick Ogwang from Uganda and Pierre Lutgen from Luxemburg have informed us on encouraging developments with herbal medicine in Africa, more particularly Artemisia annua. The film shows the program of the Makerere University sponsored by the Ministry of Health of Uganda.
Since my blog on MalariaWorld about Intellectual Ventures' invention to shoot down mosquitoes with laser beams, back in 2010, it has been very quiet. We have not seen any progress with this approach, but this week the TED talk by Nathan Myhrvold features in the Huffington Post (as part of their TEDWeekends section). I was invited to submit a blog in response to this renewed attention for this approach which I titled: Drones that combat malaria.
What do you think? Still a worthy goal or an idea that should be burried?
This week I wrote on MalariaWorld about the constant email spamming by publishers to submit our manuscripts to them. After receiving yet another invitation today, this time from HINDAWI publisher (who constantly nag me by the way) I started thinking about the future of Open Access. When we started the MalariaWorld Journal, we wanted a journal with a focus on malaria where you don't pay to publish and don't pay to read, which we termed Open Access 2.0. The reasons for this were outlined in my other article this week but here I want to take this a step further and ask a simple question...why should we scientists, who have worked hard to get grants, do the science, analyse the data, and write up manuscripts pay for our work to be published by a publisher that wants to make profits? So perhaps it is time for Open Access 3.0?
Every week I receive several emails from publishers that invite me to submit an article to their journal. I am convinced that the same happens to many of you as well. Frankly, I am getting very tired of this - the reason why this happens is not that these journals are approaching us because of what we do or who we are. It is all about money. Under the umbrella of 'our journal is Open Access' publishers have found a new way to generate income by lobbying hard for our manuscripts. For which of course we need to pay to get them published. Today I received another invitation from MDPI AG Publishers (Basel, Switzerland) which triggered me to do a bit of research...