Revisiting the trajectory of Epidemiology and Health Services: the virtuous circle from 2011 to 2018

Elisete Duarte Leila Posenato Garcia About the authors

Epidemiology and Health Services: the Brazilian National Health System Journal (RESS) has been consolidated in recent years as one of the country’s most important publications in the area of Public Health. Revisiting the trajectory of RESS, especially in the more recent period, 2011 to 2018, attests to the virtuous circle experienced by the journal.

RESS was created in 1992 under the name Epidemiological Report (IESUS). In 2003, the Ministry of Health created its Health Surveillance Secretariat (SVS/MS), which became responsible for publishing the journal from then on. Concomitantly, the journal took on its current format and name. Its main mission is to spread epidemiological knowledge applicable to actions of prevention, surveillance and control of diseases and disorders of interest to Public Health, aiming at the improvement of services offered by the Brazilian National Health System (SUS).

In the period under analysis, RESS has achieved important victories, such as the review of its Strengthening Plan, the expansion of the Editorial Committee, the professionalization of its editors, the definition of flows and controls of the editorial process, among others (Figure 1).

Figure 1
- Trajectory of Epidemiology and Health Services: The Brazilian National Health System Journal (RESS) and main characteristics of the periods 2011-2015 and 2016-2018

Its inclusion in the most important Public Health bibliographic databases in Brazil and the world has also been a cause for commemoration. In 2014, the electronic version of RESS was accepted for inclusion in the Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO Brazil) collection; in 2015, RESS was indexed in the SciELO Public Health Collection.11. Cavalcante AL, Garcia LP. Os 25 anos da Epidemiologia e Serviços de Saúde: revista do Sistema Único de Saúde do Brasil e sua indexação na base MEDLINE®. Epidemiol Serv Saúde. 2017 jan-mar;26(1):7-8. doi: 10.5123/s1679-49742017000100001
https://doi.org/10.5123/s1679-4974201700...
As an outcome of this effort, RESS was assessed by the Public Health Commission of the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES), in relation to the period 2013-2016, and gained Qualis/CAPES grade B2 ranking. Being indexed on the SciELO base was, at the time of that evaluation, one of the criteria for classification as a B222. Garcia LP, Duarte E. Epidemiologia e Serviços de Saúde: revista do Sistema Único de Saúde do Brasil classificada como Qualis/Capes B2 na área da Saúde Coletiva. Epidemiol Serv Saúde. 2017 abr-jun;26(2):243-4. doi: 10.5123/s1679-49742017000200001
https://doi.org/10.5123/s1679-4974201700...
publication. New international indexes were achieved in the years that followed - Medline (2016), Scopus, Embase, Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI, a new Web of Science index run by Clarivate Analytics), CAB Abstracts, CABI full text and MIAR (2017), attesting to the quality achieved by RESS and ensuring greater range and international visibility for the journal.

With effect from 2014 (vol. 23, No. 3), abstracts also began to be published in Spanish, in addition to the abstracts in Portuguese and English. From 2015 onwards, the percentage of published articles fully translated into English began to increase. Finally, with effect from 2018 the electronic version of RESS has been published in both Portuguese and English.

Ever since its creation, RESS has provided open access to its entire contents, and there are no fees for submission, translation or publication of approved articles. With effect from 2014, RESS took out a Creative Commons BY-NC-type copyright license, in the same way as all other Ministry of Health publications. This license allows the reproduction, distribution and adaptation of published material, without the need to obtain prior permission from the editors, although its commercial use is not allowed and credit must be given to the authors and to the journal.

RESS has a close relationship with Public Health institutions and academic events. From 2011 to 2018 the journal has been systematically present at national scientific events, such as the National Exhibition of Successful Experiences in Epidemiology and Disease Prevention and Control (EXPOEPI), the Brazilian Congress of Epidemiology, the Congress of the Brazilian Society of Tropical Medicine and the meetings of the Forum of Postgraduate Coordinators of the Brazilian Association of Collective Health (ABRASCO), seeking to attract the attention of potential authors, reviewers and readers.

In the period from 2011 to 2018, there has been a significant increase in the number of citations. In this period, RESS had 16,050 citations in national and international journals (77.9% of all citations of the journal since 2001). In the same period, RESS published nearly 180 articles derived from Brazilian post-graduate programs (11 post-graduate specialization monographs, 123 master’s degree dissertations, 44 Ph.D. theses and 2 postdoctoral studies), reiterating its recognition as a vehicle of Brazilian academic production.

RESS is aligned with international guidelines for the reporting of studies, such as Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE), Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA); it follows guidelines on ethics and integrity in scientific research and publications; and it promotes the dissemination of these recommendations. Since 2013, RESS has published translations of important documents, such as the Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers issued by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) (available at: http://ress.iec.gov.br/ress/home/carregarPagina?lang=pt&p=orientacoesEticas&format=), the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE)33. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors; Duarte EF, tradutora. Recomendações para a elaboração, redação, edição e publicação de trabalhos acadêmicos em periódicos médicos. Epidemiol Serv Saúde. 2013 out-dez;22(4):709-32. doi: 10.5123/S1679-49742013000400018
https://doi.org/10.5123/S1679-4974201300...
,44. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors; Duarte EF , Pansani TSA, tradutoras. Recomendações para elaboração, redação, edição e publicação de trabalhos acadêmicos em periódicos médicos. Epidemiol Serv Saúde. 2015 jul-set;24(3):577-601. doi: 10.5123/S1679-49742015000300025
https://doi.org/10.5123/S1679-4974201500...
and its updates, the Montreal Declaration, adopted at the 3rd World Conference on Research Integrity,55. Cross-Boundary Research Collaborations; Duarte EF , tradutora. Declaração de Montreal sobre integridade em pesquisa e colaborações em investigações que cruzam fronteiras. Epidemiol Serv Saúde. 2014 jan-mar;23(1):185-6. doi: 10.5123/S1679-49742014000100019
https://doi.org/10.5123/S1679-4974201400...
the PRISMA Recommendation for the reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses,66. Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J, Altman DG, The PRISMA Group; Galvão TF, Pansani TSA , Harrad D, tradutores. Principais itens para relatar revisões sistemáticas e meta-análises: a recomendação PRISMA. Epidemiol Serv Saúde. 2015 abr-jun;24(2):335-42. doi: 10.5123/S1679-49742015000200017
https://doi.org/10.5123/S1679-4974201500...
the GATHER Declaration on accurate and transparent health estimate reporting,77. Stevens GA, Alkema L, Black RE, Boerma JT, Collins GS, Ezzati M, et al . Diretrizes para o relato preciso e transparente de estimativas de saúde: a declaração GATHER. Epidemiol Serv Saúde. 2017 jan-mar;26(1):215-22. doi: 10.5123/s1679-49742017000100023
https://doi.org/10.5123/s1679-4974201700...
the SAGER Guidelines and their recommended use for issues of sex and gender equity in research,88. Shirin H, Babor TF, Castro P, Tort S, Curno M. Equidade de sexo e gênero na pesquisa: fundamentação das diretrizes SAGER e uso recomendado. Epidemiol Serv Saúde. 2017 jul-set;26(3):665-76. doi: 10.5123/s1679-49742017000300025
https://doi.org/10.5123/s1679-4974201700...
as well as the article from the thematic series on economic evaluation based on the document entitled Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards (CHEERS),99. Silva EN, Silva MT, Augustovski F, Husereau D, Pereira MG. Roteiro para relato de estudos de avaliação econômica. Epidemiol Serv Saúde. 2017 out-dez;26(4):895-8. doi: 10.5123/s1679-49742017000400020
https://doi.org/10.5123/s1679-4974201700...
in addition to supporting the EQUATOR Network in disseminating these and other documents. The EQUATOR Network is an international initiative that seeks to improve the quality of scientific publication in the area of health, promoting more accurate and transparent research reports, based on the development and use of guidelines for the main types of health studies (available at: http://www.equator-network.org/).

RESS’ relationship with its sponsoring institution (SVS/MS) strengthened during this period. Ordinance No. 14, dated 13 August 20151010. Brasil. Ministério da Saúde. Portaria nº 14, de 13 de agosto de 2015. Instituir o Corpo Editorial da Epidemiologia e Serviços de Saúde - revista do Sistema Único de Saúde do Brasil (RESS). Diário Oficial da República Federativa do Brasil, Brasília (DF), 2015 ago 15; Seção 1:48. established RESS’ editorial board and defined its attributions, while Ordinance No. 14, dated 9 March 2017,1111. Brasil. Ministério da Saúde. Portaria nº 14, de 9 de março de 2017. Regulamentar as condições para o exercício das funções de editor associado e editor assistente a serem exercidas por servidores da Secretaria de Vigilância em Saúde no âmbito do processo editorial da Epidemiologia e Serviços de Saúde - revista do Sistema Único de Saúde do Brasil (RESS). Diário Oficial da República Federativa do Brasil, Brasília (DF), 2017 mar 10; Seção 1:44. established the conditions for SVS/MS staff to act as editors of the journal. The link with SVS/MS, in the period in focus, has ensured the necessary resources for publishing RESS. Notwithstanding, the autonomy of the editorial process, one of the characteristics of scientific publication, has been maintained throughout the period.

The electronic version of RESS has gradually gained more attention in comparison to the printed version. This has been found by scientific journals worldwide as a result of greater access to the internet. In the face of this reality, in 2016 the printed edition was initially reduced from 30,000 to 1,000 copies, and the printed edition has been discontinued since early 2018. On the other hand, publicizing of the journal in social media has intensified during the same period, with the creation of the RESS website, blog, and profiles on Facebook and Twitter, with more than 11,000 followers.

The editorials published from 2011 to 2018 dedicated their focus to matters concerning health-related scientific communication as well as publicizing the most important achievements of the journal itself, such as being indexed on the MEDLINE and SciELO bibliographic databases. In addition, the RESS editorials have addressed other issues of absolute importance for health surveillance in the country. The advent of Zika virus in Brazil and its severe consequences was highlighted. The article entitled Zika Virus Fever,1212. Luz KG, Santos GIV, Vieira RM. Febre pelo vírus Zika. Epidemiol Serv Saúde. 2015 out-dez;24(4):785-8. doi: 10.5123/S1679-49742015000400021
https://doi.org/10.5123/S1679-4974201500...
published at the end of 2015, when the causal relationship between infection and the microcephaly epidemic had just been recognized by the Ministry of Health, continues to be one of RESS’ three most cited articles. The first editorial in 2016 addressed the fight against the microcephaly epidemic and a further two editorials gave emphasis to the importance of research, in view of this unusual event of great severity, and the evidence produced by epidemiological surveillance, aiding in the advancement of knowledge about the epidemic caused by the virus. Other topics of relevance for health surveillance were approached by RESS in this period, such as chronic non-communicable diseases, mass events, traffic accidents, violence against women, equity in the health sector and discrimination in health services.

The journal also devoted special attention to the celebration of two important milestones for Brazilian Public Health - 40 years of the National Immunizations Program1313. Silva Junior JB. 40 anos do Programa Nacional de Imunizações: uma conquista da saúde pública brasileira. Epidemiol Serv Saúde. 2013 jan-mar;22(1):7-8. doi: 10.5123/S1679-49742013000100001
https://doi.org/10.5123/S1679-4974201300...
and 30 years of the Brazilian National Health System,1414. Duarte E, Eble LJ, Garcia LP. 30 anos do Sistema Único de Saúde. Epidemiol Serv Saúde. 2018;27(1):e00100018. doi:10.5123/s1679-49742018000100018
https://doi.org/0.5123/s1679-49742018000...
underlining how both are extremely important for the Brazilian population.

Furthermore, in 2018, RESS highlighted the holding of the 1st National Conference on Health Surveillance (ICNVS)1515. Garcia LP, Duarte E. 1a Conferência Nacional de Vigilância em Saúde: marco para a construção da Política Nacional de Vigilância em Saúde. Epidemiol Serv Saúde. 2018;27(2):e20180002. doi: 10.5123/s1679-49742018000200020
https://doi.org/10.5123/s1679-4974201800...
as a milestone for the construction of the National Health Surveillance Policy, which was also the subject of an editorial.1616. Okumoto O, Brito SMF, Garcia LP. A Política Nacional de Vigilância em Saúde. Epidemiol Serv Saúde. 2018;27(3):e2018318. doi: 10.5123/s1679-49742018000300018
https://doi.org/10.5123/s1679-4974201800...

Analyzing the trajectory of RESS over the past eight years, as stakeholders involved in building it, we inevitably feel strong emotions. We know where we started, we have respected its history and have purposefully taken on the commitment to raise it to another level of quality, without losing sight of its intention to contribute to strengthening SUS health services.

It remains for us to express our immense gratitude for all the support received on this journey. It would not be possible to thank individually by name all those who have contributed to this process: the members of the RESS Editorial Committee, the editors, the ad hoc reviewers, the text editors, translators, graphic designers, librarians, the Ministry of Health Executive Secretariat, authors who have entrusted the publication of their work to the journal and the large community of readers and supporters. The unrestricted support and dedication of all of them have been indispensable for RESS to fulfill its mission, providing readers with epidemiological knowledge useful for SUS services and for improvement of health surveillance actions in Brazil.

We are convinced that the conditions for implementing the RESS Editorial Development Plan for the next triennium 2019-2021 will be ensured. Long life to RESS, and we are certain that the next editors will continue with the same responsibility and determination with which we will continue to defend the Brazilian National Health System.

References

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    Cross-Boundary Research Collaborations; Duarte EF , tradutora. Declaração de Montreal sobre integridade em pesquisa e colaborações em investigações que cruzam fronteiras. Epidemiol Serv Saúde. 2014 jan-mar;23(1):185-6. doi: 10.5123/S1679-49742014000100019
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  • 6
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    » https://doi.org/10.5123/S1679-49742015000200017
  • 7
    Stevens GA, Alkema L, Black RE, Boerma JT, Collins GS, Ezzati M, et al . Diretrizes para o relato preciso e transparente de estimativas de saúde: a declaração GATHER. Epidemiol Serv Saúde. 2017 jan-mar;26(1):215-22. doi: 10.5123/s1679-49742017000100023
    » https://doi.org/10.5123/s1679-49742017000100023
  • 8
    Shirin H, Babor TF, Castro P, Tort S, Curno M. Equidade de sexo e gênero na pesquisa: fundamentação das diretrizes SAGER e uso recomendado. Epidemiol Serv Saúde. 2017 jul-set;26(3):665-76. doi: 10.5123/s1679-49742017000300025
    » https://doi.org/10.5123/s1679-49742017000300025
  • 9
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    » https://doi.org/10.5123/S1679-49742015000400021
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    » https://doi.org/10.5123/S1679-49742013000100001
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    Duarte E, Eble LJ, Garcia LP. 30 anos do Sistema Único de Saúde. Epidemiol Serv Saúde. 2018;27(1):e00100018. doi:10.5123/s1679-49742018000100018
    » https://doi.org/0.5123/s1679-49742018000100018
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    » https://doi.org/10.5123/s1679-49742018000200020
  • 16
    Okumoto O, Brito SMF, Garcia LP. A Política Nacional de Vigilância em Saúde. Epidemiol Serv Saúde. 2018;27(3):e2018318. doi: 10.5123/s1679-49742018000300018
    » https://doi.org/10.5123/s1679-49742018000300018
Secretaria de Vigilância em Saúde - Ministério da Saúde do Brasil Brasília - Distrito Federal - Brazil
E-mail: leilapgarcia@gmail.com