Zika Fast Track

By Hooman Momen and Adeilton Brandão

The outbreak of the Zika Virus (ZIKV) Epidemic in Brazil in 2015 caught Brazilian and International health authorities by surprise. The rapid spread of the infection and the associated increase in cases of microcephaly in new born infants attracted worldwide attention and the interest of many Brazilian researchers. This attention and interest greatly increased with the declaration by the Director-General of the World Health Organization, on 1 February 20161, of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

An intense output of research publications on ZIKV has resulted in nearly 1000 articles on the virus being indexed in Pubmed, 80% of which in the last 12 months. Even though many of the articles have Brazilian authors or co-authors very few have been published in Brazilian journals. With the aim of capturing some of this research output, the Editors of the Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz created a special workflow called Zika Fast Track for manuscripts submitted on this topic.

The journal already had experience of this topic as the Memórias published the first report of the isolation of ZIKV in Brazil2. With the declaration of the PHEIC interest in this paper exploded and it has now become the most accessed article during the past year published by the journal. The Altmetrics score (currently over 140) is the highest ever achieved by a Memórias article and is in the top 1% of all similarly aged articles covered by Altmetrics.

Fast track procedures have been launched by some traditional journals such as the Lancet as a means to accelerate the peer review cycle. Ideally, the manuscript would enter the publication cycle after a short period of analysis and decision for both editors and reviewers. One important question around the fast publication is the access and fate of manuscript content when this is of urgent importance for Public Health. Should the manuscript content be completely available to readers while in peer review? In case of rejection, what should be done with the information that was accessible during the peer review period?

Although we do not have yet definitive answers to these questions, Memórias has adopted a completely open procedure for its Zika fast track publication worKflow: All research manuscripts concerning the Zika epidemic after submission to the Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, are evaluated by an Editor and those considered relevant are assigned a digital object identifier (DOI) and posted online in a special section of the Memórias website called the “Zika Fast Track” within 24 hours. Data in these manuscripts can thus be attributed to the authors while being freely available for reader scrutiny and unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction provided that the original work is properly cited as indicated by the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY).

Concurrently, the manuscripts are evaluated by peer review. Papers accepted for publication by the Memórias after peer review, follow the normal workflow of the journal for publication. In case of rejection following peer review, authors are free to seek publication elsewhere. A notice that the manuscript was not accepted will be placed on the Zika Fast Track web page and the manuscript will be available through the authors. The title and DOI of the rejected manuscript will be available on the Zika fast track webpage for the purpose of record.

Since announcing the Zika Fast Track in March we have received 5 manuscripts. Two of which have now been published in the regular issues of the Memórias (May3 and June4 2016, respectively). Both these papers have already been highly accessed. We look forward to see how the interest in these papers is reflected in citations and eventual increase in impact factor after 2017. The Memórias remains committed to the fact that scientific information should be both rigorously evaluated and freely accessible to everyone.

Notes

1. WHO Director-General summarizes the outcome of the Emergency Committee regarding clusters of microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome. World Health Organization (WHO). Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/statements/2016/emergency-committee-zika-microcephaly/en/

2. ZANLUCA, C., et al. First report of autochthonous transmission of Zika virus in Brazil. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2015, vol. 110, nº 4, pp. 569-572. DOI: 10.1590/0074-02760150192. Available from: http://ref.scielo.org/9bk22w

3. NORONHA, L., et al. Zika virus damages the human placental barrier and presents marked fetal neurotropism. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2016, vol. 111, nº 5, pp. 287-293. DOI: 10.1590/0074-02760160085.

4. CODEÇO, C., et al. 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. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2016, vol. 111, nº 6, pp. 414-415. DOI: 10.1590/0074-02760160003.

References

CODEÇO, C., et al. 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. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2016, vol. 111, nº 6, pp. 414-415. DOI: 10.1590/0074-02760160003.

NORONHA, L., et al. Zika virus damages the human placental barrier and presents marked fetal neurotropism. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2016, vol. 111, nº 5, pp. 287-293. DOI: 10.1590/0074-02760160085.

WHO Director-General summarizes the outcome of the Emergency Committee regarding clusters of microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome. World Health Organization (WHO). Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/statements/2016/emergency-committee-zika-microcephaly/en/

ZANLUCA, C., et al. First report of autochthonous transmission of Zika virus in Brazil. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2015, vol. 110, nº 4, pp. 569-572. DOI: 10.1590/0074-02760150192. Available from: http://ref.scielo.org/9bk22w

 

About Hooman Momen and Adeilton Brandão

Hooman Momen was born in Iran and educated in England. Graduated from Dept of Biochemistry, University College, University of London, U.K. Received PhD from Dept of Parasitology, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, U.K. Research scientist at the Oswaldo Cruz Institute, Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where he was at various times, Head of Laboratory of Systematic Biochemistry, Head of Dept of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Vice- Director for Research as well as Editor of the Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz and Co-ordinator of posgraduate course in molecular and cellular biology (M.Sc & Ph.D.).

 

bruno trem Oxf BisAdeilton Brandão has B.Sc. in Pharmacy from Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto (1990), M.Sc. in Parasite Biology from Instituto Oswaldo Cruz– Fiocruz (1994), D.Sc. in Biological Sciences, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (1999) and Executive Education Certificate, Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia, VA (2013). He has experience in Biochemistry, focusing on Molecular Biology of protozoa parasites. Currently, He is researcher at the Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Medical Research, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz-Fiocruz, and one of the Editors of “Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz“, an international journal publishing research on human infectious microbes and their vectors.

 

How to cite this post [ISO 690/2010]:

MOMEN, H. and BRANDÃO, A. Zika Fast Track [online]. SciELO in Perspective, 2016 [viewed ]. Available from: http://blog.scielo.org/en/2016/06/16/zika-fast-track/

 

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