Friday, August 22, 2008
Tuberculosis (TB) continues to cause increasing deaths globally and last year alone about 1.7 million lives were lost (The World Health Organization, 2006). The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic has worsened the situation as the incidence rates dramatically jumped in recent times (http://www.globalhealthfacts.org). Most countries that are crippled by the menace of TB have negligible flow of international funding for research and new fruits of post genomic discovery are yet to percolate to these zones. Library budgets are seriously dwindling and the researchers, clinicians and higher degree students have no access to TB research that has been traditionally published in ‘closed access’ journals. I recall my days (1997) at the National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal (India), where, I had to run on almost weekly basis to the National Medical Library in Delhi (100 Kilometers) or to the library of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Research (PGI) at Chandigarh (~100 Kilometers) to refer to some of the 'print only' journals for my dissertation work on TB. The situation has not improved much even today. Thankfully, Open Access publishing has arrived as the new ray of hope for many who hold dear to their hearts the cause of poverty alleviation through epidemic control. PLoS ONE has been seriously partnering this cause since its inception in 2006 and has since then published about 73 landmark articles addressing the broad areas of TB control, mycobacterial biology and medicine. We at PLoS ONE are overwhelmed with this response of the TB and mycobacteria community and thank the authors who opted for the journal to showcase their research and to widen access to those who desperately need it - the developing world. In particular, it is quite pleasing for me to put on record the patronage extended by the mycobacterial research community from India by publishing highest number of papers on the topic from a high burden country.