Scientific communication: the final and indispensable stage in the scientific process
The stage of reporting the results of an investigation, also called a scientific publication, is the culmination of the scientific process. The fact that it includes research and researchers on the national and international scene and in debate makes this activity indispensable. The dominant contemporary formats of scientific communication are the articles, and the vehicles are journals, which in turn constitute national, regional and international databases.
The production of a journal is an undertaking consisting of complex activities and the involvement of many actors. In the case of Ciência & Saúde Coletiva, for each article with its personality and its own history - more than two-thirds are sent back to their authors because they lacked merit or did not match the scope of the issue. A fair number, however, are returned for improvement of content and form and all the efforts of the editors are directed to publish the themes and names of the most productive and relevant researchers.
No journal can achieve perfection. However, there is an unwavering consensus in the scientific community about the need to share the science that is developed in the laboratories and research groups, leading to a radical conclusion that non-communicated science is science that does not exist: no one can guess what goes on in the room of a researcher if his/her investigative activity is not made public in an internationally acknowledged format. Lafuente and colleagues have even reversed the Cartesian view according to which I think, therefore I am stating that in the scientific world: I am because I'm thought about and not because I think.
Compiling a journal is a task for a "worker ant" that is fascinated by the challenges it entails. Putting together, maintaining and enhancing a scientific journal requires daily devotion that encompasses improving the procedures and envisaging strategies to prevent its neglect or irrelevance and ensuring its place among the best. In addition to internal work, the entrepreneurial spirit in this field signifies transcending the editorial room and being raised in Science & Technology policy forums. Editors have to be engaged both in the pursuit of national recognition as well as seking the internationalization of their journal. Nationally, because science has to find answers to national issues. Internationally because science like capital (to paraphrase Marx) has no homeland. Its universal language and its universally regulated and standardized procedures unite the four corners of the world.
Ciência & Saúde Coletiva fulfils the role of enabling researchers and area managers to share their knowledge, giving it a universal dimension. To give an idea of the scale of this task, here are some productivity data about the journal in 2011: 1830 articles received via the site; 507 published; 127 approved and not yet published; 1359 turned down; 149 conditionally accepted and awaiting a final opinion, and 224 currently being evaluated. It is indexed in 17 national and international databases and, in 2011, it was included in Journal Citation Reports (JCR), a feature that allows one to evaluate and compare the most internationally cited journals in a given area and the relevance of the publication to the scientific community by means of its impact factor. This means that our journal will gradually acquire more importance and achieve international standards.
We have a plan of gradual internationalization, by increasing partnerships and broadening and increasing dissemination of the journal. The respect and affection of authors and readers, the wise guidance of the editorial board and advisors, the immeasurable dedication of its executive group, the support of successive boards of Abrasco have already assured it an indispensable place in the realm of ideas concerning health.
Maria Cecília de Souza Minayo, Romeu Gomes