THE latest global research in pharmacy – from lab-based discoveries to an analysis of the health benefits of honey and other natural products – is being freely shared online in new e-journal published by the University of Huddersfield. One goal is to spread news of important breakthroughs to developing countries where conventional scientific journals can be inaccessible or too expensive.
The new publication is named the British Journal of Pharmacy (BJPharm), and the 14 articles in the first edition include research from various UK researchers, alongside contributions from scientists in countries that include Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Italy. The Editor-in-Chief is the University of Huddersfield's Professor of Pharmacy, Barbara Conway, and Dr Hamid Merchant, Senior Lecturer in Pharmaceutics, is Managing Editor.
"It is truly an exciting time in pharmacy research, as the world is moving to embrace new technologies and push forward new frontiers of research as advances in informatics and genomics are opening new areas for investigation," state the editors in their inaugural foreword.
They explain that full open access is important in order to maximize the potential for dissemination to as wide an audience as possible, in any country, and they add that this was made possible by the University of Huddersfield's commitment to open access publishing.
Issue No 1 is available now and brings together topics across the pharmacy spectrum, including research articles evaluating probiotics in commercial products and antibiotics in dosage forms.
Articles contributed by Huddersfield researchers include a description of the use of sesamum gum for drug delivery – especially relevant to developing countries where modern medicines are often unaffordable – and a new lab experiment that helps teach the vital subject of drug metabolism to pharmacy students. The issue also contains a timely report of an Interprofessional Education workshop, involving students learning with, from and about other healthcare professions.
A research team based in Malaysia have contributed an article that appraises honey, described as "a gift from nature to health and beauty". It can be used to treat wounds – because of anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties – and can be used as an alternative sweetener for diabetic patients. There is also an article that summarises the current use of natural products and complementary medicines, while others focus on pharmaceutical formulation and analysis.
BJPharm is the first in its field because it offers open access publishing – with no article processing charges – while maintaining a high quality peer review and editorial process.
Managing Editor Dr Merchant explained the philosophy behind the new journal: "Research supported through public funds should be open access to allow those funding it to access it freely. The research councils and government have also emphasised the benefits of open access publishing and recently made it mandatory in some instances."
"We believe that open access publishing is the future of research," continued Dr Merchant.
"A fantastic piece of research can only be appreciated fully if it can be accessed and read freely across the globe. The ability to access scientific literature instantly using portable devices has made research more accessible, and open access publication can dramatically enhance this readership.
It is also important for patients in poorer countries, stated Dr Merchant.
"For example, malaria is a massive public health issue in African countries, and the top research in malaria is published in journals which are far beyond the reach of those nations. Open access publishing bridges this gap and allows anyone to access recent advances."