CSE Statement on Science Journals, Poverty, and Human Development

(version 5; December 20, 2006)

Background At the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000, a set of measurable and achievable targets was established to help meet the needs of the world’s poorest people by 2015 (http://www.un.org/millennium/declaration/ares552e.htm). Nearly 190 countries have agreed on these eight targets, called the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs; http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/index.html), which are as follows:

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. Achieve universal primary education
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women
  4. Reduce child mortality
  5. Improve maternal health
  6. Combat HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  7. Ensure environmental sustainability
  8. Develop a global partnership for development

Although many of the MDGs are focused on health and disease, application of scientific knowledge from all scientific disciplines and journals will play a crucial role in achieving these goals. The Council of Science Editors recognizes that its diverse members have a responsibility to ensure that journals help, in what might be a small but significant way, in the attainment of the MDGs.

The CSE Statement on Science Journals, Poverty, and Human Development

Scientific, technical, and medical (STM) journals should aid in achieving the MDGs through the following.

Making content globally relevant

  • Editors should consider publishing articles that discuss the MDGs. For example, they should consider publishing:
    • Editorials and opinion pieces to explain how the goals affect readers’ work and practice,
    • Editorials and opinion pieces advocating for the importance of the MDGs and critiquing progress,
    • Review articles that include information relevant to people working in resource-poor settings,
    • Theme issues that contain articles about the MDGs.

Fostering cooperation between journals from developed and developing countries

  • Universal access to STM information should be a goal for editors and publishers, who should work with their stakeholders to investigate realistic methods of achieving and advocating for this.
  • Editors and publishers should foster collaboration among journals to increase the visibility of research from low- and middle-income countries.

Overcoming the global publishing gap

  • Editors should investigate ways of assisting authors who may have difficulty writing a paper in the journal’s language, for example, by offering to provide help (in-house or externally) with editing of articles prior to submission to the journal.
  • Editors should investigate ways of providing language assistance to ensure that author and reviewer guidelines can be clearly understood.
  • Editors should strive to make articles in their journals understandable by those not proficient in the journal’s language.
  • Editors should investigate ways to inform authors about their editorial conventions and policies.

Diversifying editorial board, reviewer, and author communities

  • Journals should seek well-qualified editors, reviewers, and authors, regardless of where they live and work.
  • Editorial boards should reflect the global community of journal authors and readers.