In 2018 I attended the 5ththe International One Health Congress, hosted by the One Health Platform. For me it was an eye opener regarding the scope of the ‘One Health’ concept and the challenges and obstacles to really putting the ‘One Health’ approach into practice. The one health approach could offer long-term solutions to planetary health problems, but the necessary interdisciplinary collaboration is not easy. Here I am discussing some of the ways magazines can encourage collaboration.

One Health is a comprehensive concept and there are different definitions of what One Health is all about. The US CDC describes it as:

“One Health is an approach that recognizes that human health is closely related to animal health and our common environment… Successful public health interventions require collaboration between partners for human, animal and environmental health. ”.

The One Health Commission defines it as:

“A collaborative, multisectoral and transdisciplinary approach – working at local, regional, national and global levels – to achieve optimal health and wellbeing outcomes by recognizing the connections between humans, animals, plants and their shared environment.”

Although definitions can vary, the topics of collaboration and collaboration are central to all versions of the concept. In this day and age, internet communication means we have the opportunity to work with groups around the world, but how do you find people to work with on One Health-related studies, especially if they are not in the same discipline as you? This is especially difficult if your prospect is not a researcher. I have been with magazine publishing for over a decade and I see the potential role magazines can play in promoting collaboration.

A scientific journal is not just a repository for published articles (which may be read a few times), but can be a platform to compile articles on common topics (through collections and special editions) and make your work “findable” through various publications Models and offers paths that are available in addition to the “traditional magazine”.

Michael Schloter (Helmholtz Center for Environmental Health) is co-editor of an ambitious special edition of the transformative journal Microbial ecology called Emerging Pathogens, Food Security and One Health, invites contributions from all disciplines and promotes interdisciplinary cooperation (current and future) in order to find solutions to global health problems.

Michael says about the one health concept:

The “One Health” concept describes the interactions between the environment and human health. It is based on the observation that many common diseases can be traced back to negative influences from disturbed environments. These include allergies, infectious diseases, but also cancer and diabetes. The interaction of the environmental and human microbiome plays a key role in this concept, with the focus initially on antibiotic-resistant and pathogenic microbiota, but nowadays recognizing the importance of a highly diverse environmental microbiome as a trigger for our immune system.

The one health concept has also led to a rethink in medicine and introduced a more systemic view of disease development. In addition to the development of new therapies for sick people, the prevention of diseases is therefore becoming an increasingly important topic. This includes measures for environmental protection and the restoration of locations with negative human footing such as urban or industrial areas.

As can be seen from the last sentence, the emphasis is on thinking beyond traditional health sciences and working with social scientists, people who are involved in environmental remediation and driving them forward, promoting public services … and this is just one example .

Michael’s Special Edition is currently inviting new submissions, but even if your new article has already been published, it’s not too late to collect it (at no additional cost). Publishers create collections (many are cross-magazine) on hot or emerging topics. So watch out for it in marketing emails or on magazine websites. One such collaborative collection that I have personally created is Contribution of Climate Change to the Spread of Infectious Diseases, bringing together previously published open access articles from sixteen journals. These collections then draw the readers’ attention to papers from completely different magazines.

Another way magazines can play an important role in promoting collaboration is by making them easier to find. Of course, the open access formulation of your research is an important way to achieve this, as many interested and potential contributors may not have access to journals. Publishing records and making them openly available is a less obvious, but still useful, approach to promoting discoverability (records can be published alone or with a research paper) and promoting collaboration by allowing others to access the to build up information that is already available – the Missing Maps project works on this basis. Ruth Timme and her colleagues explain how genome data can be optimized and shared to support one-health approaches.

Scientific papers are not exactly easy to read and digest. They follow a prescribed language format and are not accessible to people outside this academic discipline. Blogs are a relaxed and informal way of communicating complex scientific concepts – BugBitten is a great example of this. What you may not know is that publishers often host free blog platforms – and most importantly, they want you to use them to talk about your work. BugBitten receives between 20 and 30,000 visitors (academic and non-academic) per month, which makes it a great way to promote your work to potential employees. BugBitten is part of the broader BMC blog network and the Nature portfolio is home to community sites – all of these blogs are also available to authors. Simply contact the editor or publisher of your magazine to learn how to use their blogs.

There are many ways to encourage collaboration, and magazines offer a few ways to do this. I hope this article encourages you to try some of them out.


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