By the end of this year, CSP will have received approximately 3,300 article submissions. An important share of these (some 20%) were articles dedicated to studying, analyzing, and debating the COVID-19 pandemic from the Collective Health perspective. The journal adopted a fast-track system from April to June 11. Carvalho MS, Lima LD, Coeli CM. Fast-track COVID-19 em CSP. Cad Saúde Pública 2020; 36:e00204820. that resulted in the publication of 62 articles related to COVID-19 by late October 2020. We also spotlighted the pandemic in a Supplement entitled Aging in Brazil and Novel Coronavirus: The ELSI-COVID-19 Initiative (http://cadernos.ensp.fiocruz.br/csp/home/volume/37/fasciculo/326).
Two other CSP Supplements addressed equally relevant and current themes. The first focuses on scientific evidence to back the debate on abortion (http://cadernos.ensp.fiocruz.br/csp/home/volume/37/fasciculo/314). The second presents a broad overview of vaccines, from production to the antivax movement, from surveillance of adverse events to the history of the Brazilian National Immunization Program (http://cadernos.ensp.fiocruz.br/csp/home/volume/37/fasciculo/323).
The large volume of submissions (some 3,100 manuscripts received by late October) reflects the on-going effort to publish scientific studies by the academic community, but also the process of evaluating researchers and graduate studies in Brazil, which assigns excessive weight to the quantity of articles, sometimes to the detriment of their quality 22. Coeli CM, Carvalho MS, Lima LD. Inovação, qualidade e quantidade: escolha dois. Cad Saúde Pública 2016; 32:eED010116.. It is practically mandatory for Master’s and PhD students in Collective Health to publish articles based on their work, even when the course is not premised on original work.
Acknowledging that peer review is still the best way to evaluate a scientific article, it is impossible to obtain three reviewers for each of the more than 3,000 articles submitted. Amongst other reasons, because reviews are only useful when performed by experienced researchers. Besides, the pressure (again) to publish articles, alongside the low value attributed to other activities that are just as essential, such as reviewing, makes it increasingly difficult to obtain good reviews 33. Willis M. Why do peer reviewers decline to review manuscripts? A study of reviewer invitation responses. Learned Publishing 2016; 29:5-7.. From the point of view of science publishing, only one answer is possible: to decrease the number of articles referred for peer review by the CSP Editorial Board, based on evaluation of the manuscripts’ originality, relevance, and methodological rigor. As the volume of submissions increases, the refusal of articles in this initial stage of evaluation also increases.
CSP will face major editorial challenges in 2021, including the peer review model to be adopted and the open data policy. We intend to consolidate the journal’s activities in science dissemination, launched in 2020 with the program Interview with Authors (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLjxv_Q_71tpYCzJQpHiyeq-tmEvQVEujA), with podcasts (https://anchor.fm/cadernosdesaudepublica) and science dissemination workshops. And there will also be important internal changes such as the expansion of the editorial body and the creation of the role of Junior Editor, aimed at training young PhDs in science publishing. Our submissions system is outdated, and we are currently in the test-and-implementation phase for a new system, as well as for a new page for the journal. In short, the year 2021 will see a lot of work.
CSP currently has three Editors-in-Chief and 41 Associate Editors who perform the journal’s daily scientific work. In 2020, some editors resigned and others joined the group, a natural trend that reflects our activities as researchers. This year will be marked forever by the pandemic, not only because of its more tragic consequences, but also due to the impact of working at home, with mixed pressures from domestic and professional life.
With all these difficulties, we can safely say that in 2020, CSP honored its commitment to publish relevant articles for the field of Collective Health. And once again, CSP renewed itself. New activities, new editors, new ideas.
To everyone, the technical staff, scientific editors, authors, and readers, our heartfelt thanks. In the hope that 2021 will be a better year for the health of peoples, for confronting inequalities, and for human rights. And for reclaiming the place that science can and should occupy in society.
- 1Carvalho MS, Lima LD, Coeli CM. Fast-track COVID-19 em CSP. Cad Saúde Pública 2020; 36:e00204820.
- 2Coeli CM, Carvalho MS, Lima LD. Inovação, qualidade e quantidade: escolha dois. Cad Saúde Pública 2016; 32:eED010116.
- 3Willis M. Why do peer reviewers decline to review manuscripts? A study of reviewer invitation responses. Learned Publishing 2016; 29:5-7.
- Publication in this collection
20 Nov 2020
- Date of issue