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An. Bras. Dermatol. vol.86 no.3 Rio de Janeiro May/June 2011
Vidal Haddad Junior
Botucatu School of Medicine Universidade Estadual Paulista and Hospital Vital Brazil -Butantan Institute - São Paulo
To the Editors
I am taking the liberty of writing to you in an attempt to justify a request that I have defended since its inception regarding the language in which the Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia is published.
As I believe you may already know, I have been publishing papers regularly in some Brazilian and international journals, including the Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia, the Journal of the Brazilian Society of Tropical Medicine, the Journal of the São Paulo Institute of Tropical Medicine, the Toxicon and the Wilderness & Environmental Medicine. Some of these journals have a high "qualis" factor [this strange factor invented by CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior) to classify papers according to the name of the journal rather than on their specific merit]; others do not.
In my opinion, our publications should be aimed at a specific type of reader. An original paper within the field of dermatology is aimed at a certain segment of the public in an INDEXED dermatology journal. An accident involving some wild animal would be very well received in Wilderness & Environmental Medicine, just as the publication of papers on poisonous animals would be more appropriate in Toxicon. This should be the first step in publishing our papers rather than attempting to achieve goals established by CAPES, an institution that, incidentally, never helped me in any way whatsoever. This is a change of focus that needs to be made in our community and in our journal.
The second step is that, once it is made available, the paper has to be READ by dermatologists all over the world. In this respect, despite the availability of English versions on the Internet, all the versions of the papers that can be found in an Internet search are in Portuguese. With all due respect to our beautiful, complex language, this is the equivalent of burying the manuscript in a hole in the ground. Let me give you an example. Around five years ago, I published a study on accidents involving aquatic animals in aquariums (which, by the way, won an award in the Anais). The journal was not indexed and no complete English version was available in print. The result was that one year later a Polish author did exactly the same thing that I had done and published his results. To this day he is known as the author of the original idea.
There is absolutely no room for doubt. English is the universal language of scientific publications and our professionals will have to learn to live with this. Publishing the journal completely in English is an improvement that will ensure smoother circulation worldwide of both the printed edition (which is always held in high regard) and the electronic version, enabling the Anais to reach a wider readership and bringing it into line with all the best international journals. This will certainly contribute towards improving indexation, which is our principal objective.
With best wishes
Vidal Haddad Junior