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Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo

On-line version ISSN 1678-9946

Rev. Inst. Med. trop. S. Paulo vol.51 no.5 São Paulo Sept./Oct. 2009 



Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo (Journal of the São Paulo Institute of Tropical Medicine) fifty years later



When the Journal celebrated its 40th anniversary, I wrote an editorial note which is still valid today. Essentially what I said then was:

"When the Institute for Tropical Medicine was established in 1959, I had the opportunity to discuss with its founder and first director, Prof. Carlos da Silva Lacaz, the relevance and possibility of editing a scientific journal of the Institute, which would provide better opportunities to physicians and researchers to publish scientific information related to diseases prevalent in tropical countries, particularly in our country. Prof. Lacaz had similar thoughts, and allowed me to begin this risky and adventurous task; risky and adventurous because a scientific journal that could not assure its own regularity and continuity would fade to become a cemetery of scientific information".

"Some of the more skeptic colleagues tried to persuade me not to proceed with this project, saying that there was already a large number of good international journals in which meritorious studies would be published. Consequently, a national journal would take the risk of publishing only second class articles, or the ones that were refused by major editors. These arguments did not impress me because of two reasons:

First, because it is not always that international journals are the best way to reach the target audience (in this case the Brazilian doctors and people), which has not always easy access to foreign publications, and which are not always predisposed to inform himself in a language that is not his own. I have always had the opinion that a scientific article should be written in the language that will reach the target audience. If this is directed to an international audience, it should be in a language of international use, especially the English. But if we want to help Brazilians with information and technical experiences, to provide them with more resources to fight for our peoples' health, it should be written in Portuguese, and that's it!".

"Second, we then thought (and many years of experience has reassured our beliefs...) that any country that is worthy should struggle for its development in all areas, particularly in the cultural field, of which depends the future of any nation. All efforts to disseminate knowledge and to stimulate the new generations to assume their responsibilities in research and technological progress are of utmost importance".

Since the beginning the Journal's acceptability has been extraordinary. To assure its best diffusion we included in the distribution list all medical and health science libraries as well as research centers and universities within the country.

Resources to publish the Journal were from advertisements, and since they were limited, they restricted the number of article pages to publish. This circumstance had obliged us to undertake rigorous reviews, and to cut all prolixity and redundancy from the manuscripts we received from authors. We also tried to improve the quality of figures and tables, an important task that later lead us to publish a guide named 'Como redigir trabalhos científicos' (How to write scientific papers), and another edition named 'Planejar e redigir trabalhos científicos' (Planning and writing scientific papers) (Editora Blücher, São Paulo).

In 1964 I was exiled to Mexico where, besides being a professor of Parasitology, I became the director of the 'Revista Latinoamericana de Microbiología' (Latin American Journal of Microbiology) (1966 - 1967), and later on as advisor of the World Health Organization in Mozambique I founded the 'Revista Médica de Moçambique' (Medical Journal of Mozambique' (1982 - 1983).

My experience as editor was highly gratifying which turned me an addict in the art of information diffusion in the area of health science. Today, at the age of 91, I have published the following books: 'Parasitologia (Parasitology) (4th edition, with 883 pages), 'Bases da Parasitologia (Bases of Parasitology) (3rd edition in press, 379 pages), 'Dicionário de termos técnicos de Medicina e Saúde' (Technical Dictionary of Medicine and Health Sciences) (2nd edition, 950 pages), and one edition to the general public entitled 'Dicionário da Saúde e da Prevenção de seus Riscos' (Dictionary of Health and Risk Prevention) (225 pages), all of them published by Editora Guanabara, in Rio de Janeiro.

I keep on writing for our people a book on health and longevity, 'Manual da Vida Saudável - a arte de viver muitos anos com saúde e alegria' (Manual for a Healthy Live - the art of living a long life with health and happiness), Editora Vieira e Lent, Rio de Janeiro, and also a book, in collaboration with Paulo Sérgio D'Andrea and Rosana Gentili, to be finished soon, 'Mamíferos transmissores de doenças do homem no Brasil' (Mammals that Transmit Diseases to Man in Brazil).

I am very glad with the success of my published books that have been adopted as learning materials by most universities of the country, and particularly with the success of 'Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo' (Journal of the Sao Paulo Institute of Tropical Medicine), which figures among the best medical journals, both in national and international scenario. It constitutes a model of contribution for the Brazilian scientific development in the medical field.

Long life to the 'Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo' (Journal of the Sao Paulo Institute of Tropical Medicine) and its collaborators in the last 50 years!


Luís Rey
Professor Emeritus of University of São Paulo Medical School
Researcher Emeritus of CNPq (Research Council of Brazil)

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