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Revista Brasileira de Reumatologia

Print version ISSN 0482-5004On-line version ISSN 1809-4570

Rev. Bras. Reumatol. vol.57  supl.2 São Paulo  2017 


Foundations, facts, photos and Facebook

Marcos Renato de Assis*  1 

Francisco Airton Castro Rocha1 

Luís Eduardo Coelho Andrade1 

Roger Abramino Levy1 

Hilton Seda1 

1Sociedade Brasileira de Reumatologia, São Paulo, SP, Brazil

From my village, I can see how much of the earth can be seen in the Universe

So, my village is as large as any other land

For I am the size of my sight,

Not the size of my height...

Alberto Caeiro1

"A publication able to disseminate the scientific research of Brazilian rheumatologists" - this mission statement was the original vision for the Revista Brasileira de Reumatologia (RBR, Brazilian Journal of Rheumatology) when it was established in 1957 as the official publication of the Brazilian Society of Rheumatology (Sociedade Brasileira de Reumatologia, SBR), whose board had elected Waldemar Bianchi as president and Hilton Seda as general secretary. One could say that this journal has now fulfilled its mission for 60 years, since its establishment in a time so distant that the current editorial staff had not yet been conceived. However, it seems like just yesterday that the first editorial written by Ayrthon Ferreira da Costa discussed the journal's importance for the development of rheumatology in Brazil.2

Decades of dedication were required by the SBR to ensure that these goals were attained, along with an intrepid willingness to recognize the challenges that accompanied the Journal's maturation. We are able to closely observe the RBR's beauty, and thus, we put together our photo album and retell our story. Let us draw a parallel with a very influential article about a well-known study published in a prestigious journal a century ago. Today, the peer review process would likely reject such a methodologically weak study that failed to conform to the norms of scientific reporting, but without its historical presence and the questions and models that followed it, we would most likely not be where we are today. Therefore, this retrospective is not merely a formal bow to the selfless builders of this journal but a study in planning that incorporates the existing practices of scientific publishing in this high-speed, computerized and globalized scenario.

However, coming back to the RBR's origins and, shall we say, how its character was shaped, the first issue included the articles "A clinical study of osteoarthritis of the spine" by Pedro Nava; "Allergic rheumatism" by Waldemar Bianchi; and "Intra-articular hydrocortisone in rheumatology" by Waldemar Wettreich and Ideal Peres, indicating that the journal would emphasize clinical practice. The journal published two issues in its first year (volume 1), four issues in 1958 (volume 2) and three issues in 1959 (volume 3), with the second and third issues combined in a robust special issue about the "Symposium commemorating the 10th anniversary of the discovery of cortisone" and the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the SBR.

Ms. Siva Bianchi provides an example of the diligence of the pioneers responsible for the Brazilian journal's survival. The wife of the SBR's then-president, she volunteered to accept the manuscripts approved by Professor Seda, which, we emphasize, were manuscripts in the true sense - texts hand-written by the authors. The SBR's first lady edited and typed the manuscripts so that they were published without errors. This arduous task is difficult to conceive of today, in the age of publishers and computers. Decades ago, the RBR was referred to by some abroad as "Seda's Journal" because the man who taught us all headed up several functions, disseminating Brazil's scientific research on rheumatology and soliciting the collaboration of the most eminent international rheumatologists.

Bianchi and da Costa continued at the helm of the Journal for more than a decade, but despite their efforts, its amateur style was no match for structured commercial practice, and its publication was discontinued after its 13th volume (1969). The sentimental way in which this story is told might describe the event as a crisis of adolescence that would require patience, dedication, firmness and time to remedy. Fortunately, Professor Edgard Atra's courage and dedication would bring the publication back to life in July 1974, with the first issue of volume 14 and three additional annual editions, this time hiring a professional publisher, Medisa Editora S.A. With its increased capacity, the journal produced five issues in 1977 (volume 17) and six issues annually from 1978 to the present. In the first issue of 1979, the new publisher was the Brazilian Medical Association, and after ten years on the editorial board, Edgard Atra was succeeded by João Francisco Marques Neto, who took over with the October 1984 issue.

Redprint Editora Ltda. served as the publisher between the first issue of 1985 and 2001, and Lilian Tereza Lavras Costallat took over as editor with the September/October issue of 1988. Hilton Seda returned as the editor with issue 6 of 1992 and remained in the post until he was replaced by editors Emilia Inoue Sato, Marcos Bosi Ferraz and Luís Eduardo Coelho Andrade in November/December 1994. Edgard Atra, one of the great men responsible for the journal's survival, worked in a supporting role as senior editor until his untimely death at the XXI Brazilian Congress of Rheumatology in 1996. The trio of editors kept his name in the position, in memoriam; beyond this tribute, they also developed a strategy aimed at having the RBR included in prestigious international databases. Systematic peer review of articles was implemented, and articles on original research were encouraged, especially those that addressed regional issues and could make real contributions to international literature. In addition, steps were taken to improve the level of homogeneous, thorough and consistent formatting of the journal, with the inclusion of a title, abstract and key words in English for all articles and standardization of the bibliography.

These measures may have appeared to be no more than slight advances at the time, but taken together, they significantly refined the RBR, increasing the number of requests from physicians and medical residents and achieving the goal of being included in EMBASE, formerly known as Excerpta Medica. However, our biggest target at that time would have to wait: inclusion in the Index Medicus, which would later be subsumed by PubMed. In 1996, Regional Editor positions were created for each of the country's five major geographical regions, aiming to promote more diverse participation.

Luís Eduardo Andrade served as the sole editor from the first issue of 1997 to the final issue of 1998, when he was replaced by Natalino Yoshinari, who held that position from the sixth issue of 1998 until the fifth issue of 2000.

With the final issue of 2000, Iêda Maria Magalhães Laurindo assumed the post of editor, bringing with her the SBR's well-known dream of having the Journal included in more indices.3 In 2001, the first issue revealed a new cover and layout, and a mid-year innovation pleased the readers - a separate section on the course "Inflammation: components and treatment," which was held in August 2001 at the Rio - São Paulo meeting.4

The editorials, emphasizing the broad collaboration of the Society rather than focusing only on the leadership, begin to set standards by which the scientific journal is evaluated. The year 2002 began with the hiring of Etcetera Editora de Livros e Revistas, starting with the first issue.5

By the beginning of 2003, the Journal had undertaken a clear and determined campaign to be included in the nation's most important scientific database, with the editors setting out specific expectations and recommending ways to leverage the Journal.6,7

However, gaps remained in the availability of article abstracts in the BIREME and the printed journal in leading libraries and on the SBR website.8 The Journal took advantage of criticism to make improvements and continued to maintain its focus, remaining attentive to the needs and projects of the Society and the scientific community, including proposed research on tuberculosis in the recently inaugurated era of biological treatments and participation in the continuing education program of the BRS and the Brazilian Medical Association (BMA).9

The July/August issue of 2004 announced the happiness and responsibility accompanying the favorable decision by SciELO, a milestone achieved through consistently high-quality work and improvements to the publication standards.10 Professor Iêda Laurindo held the position of editor until the penultimate issue of 2004, but her enthusiastic input into the RBR would continue with her two-year tenure as President of the SBR from 2008-2010.

Laís Lage and Roger Abramino Levy took over as editors with the final issue of 2004 and furthered the interests of the RBR by expanding scientific exchanges, particularly with Latin American countries, and gradually beginning to diversify the editorial board.11,12

Beginning with the final issue of that year, the Congresses Update, the publication of the RBR became entrusted to Aquaprint Gráfica e Editora Ltda. In 2005, the RBR expanded via online access through SciELO, and beginning with issue 4, July/August 2005, it was included in LILACS, taking its first steps toward an international audience.13

In 2006, the consensus of rheumatology developed in partnership with the BMA project guidelines, but with an eye toward internationalization, standards for the editorial board and an Open Access version in English began to be discussed. The Journal started accepting online submissions and designing its own website. With the November/December issue that year, Francisco Airton Castro Rocha and Ricardo Machado Xavier took over as editors and reflected the publication's maturity, as they addressed questions regarding editorial ethics, conflict of interest, separating editorial independence from questions of financial and administrative responsibility in the hands of the SBR leadership and adopting recommended international standards, such as registering clinical protocols.14,15 The first issue of 2007 brought with it a transfer to Segmento Farma Editores Ltda, a new cover commemorating the Journal's 50th anniversary and the same persistent quest to be included in more indices.

The development of a scientific journal is certainly the fruit of countless collaborations, but a special debt is owed to the work of notable editors and managers who lend their competence and dedication at crucial moments, sometimes at great sacrifice to their own academic and research careers. With issue 6 in 2008, Mittermayer Santiago and Ricardo Fuller were named editors under the management of Iêda Laurindo, with the goal of integrating the RBR with PubMed/MEDLINE, a crucial step toward achieving global visibility.16 A multinational publisher was hired to administer the entire process from online submissions to publishing, translation and adjustments to the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the requirements of the American National Library of Medicine (NLM). The editorial board was restructured with international representatives, our researchers were encouraged to submit some of their manuscripts that met international standards, and foreign authors were also invited to write. The editorial process became described in detail, the blind peer review process was strictly followed, and editorial routines were implemented to avoid delays. Original research and studies of clinical conditions in Brazil were prioritized, and installments were published focusing solely on the rheumatic repercussions of infectious diseases in the Brazilian context. The magazine was presented at American and European Congresses and was introduced to the editors of major journals, such as Arthritis and Rheumatism, Autoimmunity Reviews and the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, who wrote letters of recommendation that were submitted to the NLM in May 2010.

The first fully bilingual edition of the Journal in English and Portuguese was inaugurated with the first issue of 2009, published by Elsevier on its virtual platform ScienceDirect, offering wide dissemination. Thus, in November 2010, following logistical and financial investment and with its efforts now supported by the largest global publisher in the health field, the RBR achieved its long-sought goal of being included in the PubMed index. Certainly the most significant event in the SBR's lifetime, this achievement was commemorated by the editors and managers with the familiar mantra: effort, the privilege of serving, satisfaction in sharing, institutional support, commitment to the Journal and gratitude to the reviewers.17,18

In 2011, Paulo Louzada-Junior and Max Victor Carioca de Freitas entered with the goal of maintaining the regular publication of the RBR, aimed at preserving its inclusion in indices and obtaining an impact factor for inclusion in the Journal of Citation Reports. The citation data were more closely observed and reported to the Society with the recommendation that members not only submit original articles to the Journal but also cite articles published in the RBR, especially in articles published by Brazilian rheumatologists in other journals.19 In July 2012, the RBR became part of the Web of Science, recently acquired by Clarivate Analytics, which provided the most significant boost to its impact among scientific journals.20

In 2013, Roberto Ezequiel Heymann took over as editor-in-chief in partnership with Max Victor Carioca de Freitas, and at mid-year, the RBR received its first impact factor of 0.864, making it the 12th-ranked national health science journal among the Brazilian publications indexed.21 In 2014, the RBR was included in Science Direct, a huge database belonging to Elsevier that houses almost one-quarter of the peer-reviewed scientific publications in the world, and began to offer "online first" publication of articles soon after their acceptance, reducing the time from submission to publication.22

In late 2014, the position of editor-in-chief was shared by Roberto Ezequiel Heymann and Marcos Renato de Assis, who conducted a survey of SBR members regarding the course of the Journal, with an eye to professionalizing it. It was noted that the community desired criteria of meritocracy and saw the RBR adopting the standards of more well-known scientific journals. In mid-year, an impact factor of 1.087 was announced: for the first time, the Journal's impact factor surpassed the 1.0 mark, and we were the 10th-ranked Brazilian journal in terms of impact among the top 24 publications internationally in the field of rheumatology and the first in Latin America.23 With the progress achieved in recent years, the volume of manuscript submissions has been large, and the associate editors have taken on a more active role, helping evaluate the articles and their revisions, which now require a higher standard. The inevitable restructuring of the Journal has included adjustments to the statute and bylaws, which were adopted in full by a vote of the assembled Society.

At the end of 2016, Marcos Renato de Assis came to share the position of editor-in-chief with Simone Appenzeller, and both, supported by the SBR, begin the process of becoming certified as science editors by the Council of Science Editors (CSE), following the goal of becoming ever more professional and competitive. The RBR began to be published exclusively online and achieved wider dissemination via the SBR website and social media. Growth opportunities arose, and maintaining the status quo was no longer an option given the speed and effervescence of the world of scientific publication. Therefore, the discussion was reopened regarding the Journal's role with respect to readers around the world and to the SBR.

Challenges to publishing the results of Brazilian studies in well-known, high-circulation journals sometimes go beyond merely technical considerations. Under these circumstances, the RBR has provided a channel for the publication of subjects extremely relevant to the Brazilian context, such as the guidelines on infection by Chikungunya virus and data on tuberculosis and rheumatoid arthritis in our Biobada report, found in this issue, along with several other recommendations of the SBR and regularly published records of Brazilian data.24-26 These articles are certainly a priority for the Journal, but we do not live by consensus and SBR recommendations alone, and we recognize the need to improve our operation, expediting our peer review process, preserving rigor in the critiques and attracting the best material for publication. These advances will require another profile of participation, with more submissions and reviews in English.

Therefore, the RBR now faces the challenge of progressing in its internationalization and computerization, following the same parameters as our competitors, and with this challenge comes a fear that along the way, the RBR may forget its identity by virtue of conception, or conferred by baptism, as the Brazilian Journal of Rheumatology. However, as already foreseen in an old editorial - as this society's official organ of scientific communication, the RBR will not shrink from its transformation into an internationally recognized scientific journal - for our society has also grown and is making a number of contributions that extend beyond our national borders: among these contributions is the Brazilian Congress of Rheumatology, the specialty's third largest event in the world. It has also been said that the RBR "represents each and every one of our associates" and will thus reflect the growth of our Society in both a new rhythm and new forms.

This editorial is being printed along with seven articles of great relevance to clinical rheumatologists, including topics such as osteoporosis, fibromyalgia and vasculitis, with the potential for greatly assisting other specialties and improving public health.27-30 This issue departs from the almost universal trend of publishing exclusively online, which has been adopted by the RBR in recent months. However, this publication is a commemoration of our 60th anniversary, and today, we recount our hard-fought tale, with a photo album on our lap, pointing out a few photos of the people from our village. However, we will not lose our bearing, and in this new way of expressing ourselves, we will have to broaden the scope of our narrative with lines from a brief epiphany by Fernando Pessoa on Twitter, declaring, "my village is as grand as any other land, for I am the size of my sight". In conclusion, so that the entire SBR can like and share, we will impart our biggest message in the form of a Facebook post, identified by a #RBRninguemsegura! (#RBRnoonecanstop!).


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23 Heymann RE, de Assis MR. E a história continua. Rev Bras Reumatol. 2015;55:395. [ Links ]

24 Marques CDL, Duarte ALBP, Ranzolin A, Dantas AT, Cavalcanti NG, Gonçalves RSG, et al. Recomendações da Sociedade Brasileira de Reumatologia para diagnóstico e tratamento da febre chikungunya. Parte 1 - Diagnóstico e situações especiais. Rev Bras Reumatol. 2017;57:421-37. [ Links ]

25 Marques CDL, Duarte ALBP, Ranzolin A, Dantas AT, Cavalcanti NG, Gonçalves RSG, et al. Recomendações da Sociedade Brasileira de Reumatologia para diagnóstico e tratamento da febre chikungunya. Parte 2 - Tratamento. Rev Bras Reumatol. 2017;57:438-51. [ Links ]

26 Yonekura CL, Oliveira RDR, Titton DC, Ranza R, Ranzolin A, Hayata AL, et al. Incidência de tuberculose em pacientes com artrite reumatoide em uso de bloqueadores do TNF no Brasil: dados do Registro Brasileiro de Monitoração de Terapias Biológicas BiobadaBrasil. Rev Bras Reumatol. 2017;57:477-83. [ Links ]

27 Loures MAR, Zerbini CAF, Danowski JS, Pereira RMR, Moreira C, Paula AP, et al. Diretrizes da Sociedade Brasileira de Reumatologia para diagnóstico e tratamento da osteoporose em homens. Rev Bras Reumatol. 2017;57:497-514. [ Links ]

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29 Heymann RE, Paiva ES, Martinez JE, Helfenstein M, Rezende MC, Provenza JR, et al. Novas diretrizes para o diagnostico da fibromialgia. Rev Bras Reumatol. 2017;57:467-76. [ Links ]

30 Souza AWS, Calich AL, Mariz HA, Ochtrop MLG, Bacchiega ABS, Ferreira GA, et al. Recomendações da Sociedade Brasileira de Reumatologia para a terapia de indução para vasculite associada a ANCA. Rev Bras Reumatol. 2017;57:484-96. [ Links ]

*Corresponding author. E-mail: (M.R. Assis).

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