The BMC-series 2012 in review: The year in Medicine

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All this week we’ll be bringing you a summary of what’s been happening in the BMC-series over the last 12 months. Today, we take a look back at the medical side of things:

The year in Medicine

Adapted from Fig 1 Pradhan et al BMC Cancer 2012 12,331Bridging the gap between biology and medicine saw several BioMed Central journals join forces to present a thematic series on Cancer Bioinformatics, integrating systems biology, clinical science, omics-based technology, bioinformatics and computational science to improve diagnosis, therapies and prognosis of cancer.

Two areas of biology and medicine also came together to produce a new addition to the BMC-series family, as BMC Pharmacology and BMC Clinical Pharmacology merged to form a new journal: BMC Pharmacology and Toxicology. The journal operates an open-peer review policy, and continues to publish high-quality research and reviews to facilitate connections between pre-clinical and clinical research. You can read more about the Editorial Board behind the journal in a series of interviews with the Section Editors (e.g. Lucio G. Costa and Michael Aschner, and Philip Biggin), and more about the launch of the journal on our blog.

We also eagerly anticipate the arrival of another new face to the series, with the official launch in 2013 of BMC Psychology. The journal is now accepting submissions, so keep your eyes open for the very first articles to be published here very soon…

Although all medical journals in the BMC-series operate a policy of open peer-review– with all reviewer reports being signed and openly available– we also support initiatives that try to improve the quality of peer-review. With this in mind,  BMC Ophthalmology announced in November that it officially endorses the Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group’s free online peer review courseTranslating Critical Appraisal of a Manuscript into Meaningful Peer Review”, in an effort to maintain its already high standards.

All journals in the BMC-series are evolving towards a model of peer review whereby manuscripts are handled by a group of distinguished academic Section Editors, with the able assistance of expert Associate Editors. These Editorial Board Members are crucial to the continued success of the journals,  a number of which have received valuable additions to their teams this year: in November BMC Nephrology welcomed seven new Section Editors and over 50 Associate Editors and Editorial Advisers, whilst back in February BMC Geriatrics also completed its full complement of external Editors. We look forward to further additions to this coming soon from BMC Women’s Health and BMC International Health and Human Rights, including Vincent Iacopino who is already an active Section Editor for the latter, in their Section on the health and human rights of prison inmates and victims of violence.

We also warmly welcome Professor David Hunter as Section Editor for the “Health policies, systems and management” section of BMC Public Health, and Professor Kirsten Howard to BMC Health Services Research as she oversees the “Utilization, expenditure, economics and financing systems” Section. Dr Vijayalakshmi Ravindranth, Professor Zaza Katsarava and Professor Jos van Roosmalen are also now making invaluable contributions to the editorships of BMC Neuroscience, BMC Neurology and BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, respectively.

Fig 3 Lawn BMC Infectious Diseases 2012 12, 103We  are delighted by the enthusiasm with which our Editorial Board engages with their journals, no more so than when editors become authors – such as in April, when BMC Infectious Diseases Section Editor Dr Stephen Lawn published a Review on the detection of specific antigens in the point-of-care diagnosis of HIV-associated tuberculosis.

Other research highlights from the year include a systematic review of the evidence for associations between gestational diabetes and adverse outcomes, which BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth Section Editor Robert Powers felt

clearly demonstrates the overwhelming importance of gestational diabetes on adverse pregnancy outcome, and the subtlety of gestational diabetes effects… Strong systematic review data such as this begs for greater investigation into the mechanisms underlying this increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcome, especially with the understanding that GDM is so prevalent and will likely continue to be so as a result of the signifiant prevalence of obesity

In BMC Public Health, Section Editor Lea Maes picked out a survey focusing on methods for environmental change in planning health promotion interventions:

There is a long tradition in using theory based methods and strategies for individual behaviour change but there is far less information on how changing environmental conditions can have an impact on the behaviour of individuals.”

She went on to explain that

This manuscript can enhance a more thoughtful use of theories to change environmental conditions important to facilitate individual behaviour change, and as such enhance the effectiveness of environmental change interventions.“

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