Task Force on Science Journals, Poverty, and Human Development

In January 2005, CSE appointed a Task Force to engage science journals of all disciplines in the effort to combat worldwide poverty and disease, and to establish sustainable paths for human development.

The science community has much to offer to anti-poverty strategies, such as resources, training, advocacy, information access, and other means of building research capacity (fostering a research culture) and supporting sustainable development. The Task Force was organized by Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet. In February 2007, the CSE Board issued a statement acknowledging the work of the Task Force and supporting the major themes of the Statement on Science Journals, Poverty, and Human Development. The Board recommends that editors address the role that science journals can play in reducing poverty and improving human development by thinking globally and acting locally. CSE will follow the ideas put forth by the Task Force in the statement by incorporating these principles into the work of the organization and of its committees. The term of duty for the Task Force has come to an end and Task Force members are strongly encouraged to join CSE committees to ensure that the goals and principles of the Task Force are carried forth in the broad range of CSE activities.

The Board also decided to establish a Task Force on AuthorAID to continue and focus the work that the Task Force has begun on this important initiative to bridge the global publishing gap.

From the original proposal to create the Task Force on Science Journals, Poverty, and Human Development

Purpose

The greatest threat to human health and development world wide is poverty. The science community has much to offer anti-poverty strategies, such as resources, training, advocacy, information access, and other means of building research capacity (fostering a research culture) and supporting sustainable development. Science journals have a part to play in this process (1), but their role has only recently begun to be defined – and certainly no planned program to address poverty reduction has been set out. An important recent step forward was the development of a WHO-sponsored program for the free provision of research publications (2), following a call for wider global information access (3). Several journals have developed this initiative (4-6).

  1. Horton R. North and South: bridging the information gap. Lancet 2000; 355: 2231- 36.
  2. Horton R. Publishers make their information free. Lancet 2001; 358: 134.
  3. Godlee F. Horton R, Smith R. Global information flow. Lancet 2000; 356: 1129-30.
  4. Smith R. Williamson A. BMJ journals free to the developing world. BMJ 2002; 324: 380.
  5. Editorial. Welcome SciDev.Net. Nature 2001; 414: 567.
  6. Editorial. Nature and the developing world. Nature 2002; 417: 365.