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Making the World a Smaller - and Better - Place
CHORI Scientist Joins Editorial Board of New FACTS Publication

"FACTS is a venue for you to share your pearls of wisdom, which might help someone else in a different country, or a different continent, do the same thing more easily and successfully."

The Field Actions Science Reports (FACTS) journal was launched in January 2009 as a novel, online vehicle for the publication of manuscripts or opinions focusing on field-based research activities in a wide variety of subject areas, from economics, health and education, to agriculture, urban planning and the environment. CHORI scientist Deborah Dean, MD, MPH, has helped spearhead the new journal effort by accepting a prestigious invitation to participate as an editorial board member.

Unlike typical scientific journals in which original research must be submitted, the FACTS journal is meant to be a more practical resource for researchers in the field. Articles are still peer-reviewed, which is where editors like Dr. Dean come in, but the reviews are more geared toward vetting the information by others familiar with the research or its setting to make sure that the content would be worthwhile to other groups.

"The research for traditional publications has to be analyzed in a certain way and entirely original. FACTs is envisioned as more of a "How To" resource," Dr. Dean says. "How do you make your own smokeless oven to use in heavily polluted areas so that you don't contribute to that pollution, for example, or how do you take a blood sample and separate the serum without having a refrigerator or centrifuge."

While there is a huge level of interest in improving global health and the global environment, no journals currently exist that help connect different researchers in different countries with the best practices of other researchers doing similar work. As such, it fills a much needed niche in the journal world.

"The need for a journal like FACTS comes both from developing countries that want to know how to improve infrastructure or how to improve how they do their own studies or providing clinical care within their country, as well as from people in research or academia who have an interest in going to the third world and conducting research with colleagues in that country, but who have no idea how to go about some of the logistics or intricacies of executing such studies," says Dr. Dean, who highlights even the most fundamental and practical issues involved, such as how one transports a duffle bag full of medical and research supplies from, say, Palo Alto to Zimbabwe.

"Just think of all the different issues that come up when doing a research project."
"There are hundreds of topics that could be written about. It's a way of making the world just a little bit smaller by helping people connect to develop better healthcare or less pollution or make better use of natural resources."
Already sporting its January and February articles on such topics as the fight against cholera in the Congo and rice-fish farming in France, the FACTS journal is supported by the world-renowned Institut Veolia Environement, with the Institut's Nadia Caid serving as its chief executive director.

"I was really impressed with the Institut," says Dr. Dean. "It's a serious organization that has been around for a long time, and the people involved are noble laureates and highly reputable organizations."

While the honorary board of the FACTS publication includes the former prime minister of Quebec, former ambassadors and the President of the New York Academy of Sciences, to name just a few, even the working editors like Dr. Dean, who has been pioneering translational Chlamydia research in third world countries for decades and is currently directing the Children's Global Health Initiative, are international players.

As Dr. Dean points out, “I’m just one of the regular editors, but what’s interesting is that we’re from all over the world, from all different areas - clinical, environmental, academic – but what we have in common is that we are all internationally known in our fields and bring that level of expertise to the publication.”
While the FACTS journal is just getting underway, Dr. Dean has high hopes for what the journal can accomplish.

"I think it's going to have a very high impact, maybe not immediately, but definitely as the publication grows. It has global issues that are near and dear to many people, not just in the U.S. or developing countries but all over the world," says Dr. Dean. "FACTS is going to be relevant to people from all different backgrounds who have an interest in improving the health and the environment locally and globally."

Like the rest of CHORI's dedicated researchers who work every day toward improving global health, one patient at a time, Dr. Dean counts herself among those people to whom such work is vitally important, and as a result didn't hesitate to become involved.

"I jumped at the chance to be an editor," acknowledges Dr. Dean. "There is so much interest in global health and the global environment, which this journal will speak to, it's a fantastic endeavor. Not only that," adds Dr. Dean, "it really fits with what I'd like to be promoting in the world."


Tuesday, May 17, 2011 8:19 AM

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