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História, Ciências, Saúde-Manguinhos

versão impressa ISSN 0104-5970versão On-line ISSN 1678-4758

Hist. cienc. saude-Manguinhos vol.23 no.4 Rio de Janeiro out./dez. 2016 


Editors’ Note

André Felipe Cândido da Silva, science editor

Marcos Cueto, science editor

Dear readers,

We are approaching the end of yet another year with a pleasant sense of accomplishment. We released all four of our regular issues in the first or second month of each quarter, meaning that the articles presented in their pages had greater exposure time and greater opportunities to circulate. You will soon receive our special issue of high-quality articles on the history of eugenicist thought. We have substantially reduced the lag time between manuscript receipt and approval. Our editorial team has participated ever more actively in forums at home and abroad to debate the issue of scientific publications on today’s stage. Further, we continued our work to translate articles from Portuguese and Spanish into English, thanks to support from the Wellcome Trust, in addition to the budget that the Casa de Oswaldo Cruz allocates to the journal on an ongoing basis. This is an important albeit not sufficient step toward internationalization. Even more rewarding in this regard was an internal survey that found a significant rise in the number of submissions by Latin American authors. História, Ciências, Saúde – Manguinhos has expanded its borders and taken on the form of an increasingly relevant vehicle for regional production, while still preserving its unique characteristics and defending its commitment to open access. This commitment is more than necessary in the world of international journals dominated by commercial publishing giants and in light of the uncertainty over the financial sustainability of this policy in Brazil, given the funding constraints that have hit institutions and periodicals in science and technology.

The journal’s Facebook page in Portuguese has received over 6,000 likes, while the international version has received 2,760. This is a tremendous triumph in our efforts to reach out to readers who are interested not just in what we publish but also in contemporary debates in the fields of history, medicine, public health, and the sciences in general.

The quality of our work was recently noted by the blog Ciência em Revista (Science in review), published by the University of Campinas, which reported that História, Ciências, Saúde – Manguinhos is the 7th-most-accessed human sciences journal in the SciELO collection and number one in the area of history. In addition, our journal has held on to its “A1 international” ranking in the Qualis-Capes journal evaluation system.

These accomplishments are particularly satisfying considering that Brazil is going through a financial crunch that is only expected to worsen. The short-sightedness driving the implementation of fiscal adjustment policies here threatens the survival of academic publications and scientific scholarship itself. One example was the disastrous closing of Brazil’s Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation, which was merged with the Ministry of Communications. As if that were not enough, the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and other agencies that support science were more recently subordinated to a body entitled the General Coordination of Postal Services and Governance and the Monitoring of State-owned Companies and Related Agencies. A nation that wages such a powerful attack on its science and technology sector will find itself trailing behind in sustainable development and fated to play the permanent role of an exporter of low-aggregate-value products – and thus vulnerable to the ups-and-downs of the global economy, as we are now seeing.

The proposed high school education reform, to be enacted under a so-called provisional measure and without any discussion among the parties of interest, signals the authoritarian leanings of the current administration, which extend into many other realms targeted by its interventions.

But beyond a shadow of a doubt, the most serious attack not only on scientific and educational policy but also on the hard-won social rights written into the Constitution of 1988 is the possible passage of PEC 55 (formerly called PEC 241), which freezes health and education spending for twenty years, correcting only for annual inflation. The implications will be far-reaching and catastrophic for a country with striking social inequality like Brazil, an aging population, urban epidemics of vector-borne diseases, and increased rates of morbidity and comorbidity associated with chronic and degenerative illnesses. Projections indicate that such a radical measure is not justified even from a strictly economic angle.

Taking this dismal picture into account, the accomplishments we have achieved through diligent teamwork and the faithful collaboration of our readers, authors, peer-reviewers, and editorial board shine as a bright light, illuminating our perceptions and critical senses and showing us the path to new possibilities. By moving forward with top-quality work at our teaching and research institutions and by recognizing our social role in its broadest sense, we will make the journey across these turbulent seas.

This issue of História, Ciências, Saúde – Manguinhos offers an invaluable collection of articles on the topic of mental health, a field that has earned growing space in our journal. The focus is both inter- and transdisciplinary, bringing in not just psychiatry, psychoanalysis, and psychology but also history, sociology, anthropology, and education. When times are conservative, critical re-considerations of psychiatric reform and resistance to the medicalization of life and customs is extremely important. Brazil’s psychiatric reform law turned fifteen in May 2016, and its tenure has brought advances, retreats, and controversies. The conservative backlash has also challenged the movement to reform mental health services and institutions. The ongoing debate about mental health care models extends to narratives concerning past knowledge and practices in this field. The articles published here offer substantial resources for use in critical evaluations of the history of knowledge and debates on mental health in Brazil as well as in Spain, Argentina, and Italy.

We hope you enjoy this issue.

André Felipe Cândido da Silva, science editor
Marcos Cueto, science editor

Creative Commons License  This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.