New journal Rapid Reviews\Infectious Diseases fights against health disinformation

The MIT Press and UC Berkeley School of Public Health proudly announce the launch of Rapid Reviews\Infectious Diseases (RR\ID). Building on the accomplishments of Rapid Reviews\COVID-19 (RR\C19), the Rapid Reviews editorial team is now setting their sights even higher. 

RR\C19 launched at a critical moment in global history and we are incredibly proud of the impact the journal has had so far,” said Stefano Bertozzi, editor-in-chief of RR\ID and professor of Health Policy and Management at Berkeley Public Health. 

“But when monkeypox started to spread in 2022, we saw an immediate need for authoritative peer review of emerging medical and public health topics. We built RR\C19 to be authoritative, fast, and flexible, and now RR\ID will adapt our open ‘curate, review, publish’ model for the advancement of infectious disease research throughout the world. We are grateful for the support from the MIT Press, Lynn Barr & Bob Campbell, and the Gates Foundation that has made this shift possible,” said Bertozzi.

With RR\ID, the editors will provide expert, professional peer review of research on a wider variety of infectious diseases and other pressing global threats. With new grant funding, they will also scale up their unique student training and mentoring model to support open science and democratize academic publishing through engagement with at least 12 academic institutions in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC).

The mission of Rapid Reviews remains the same—to prevent the dissemination of false or misleading scientific information and to accelerate the validation and diffusion of robust, impactful scientific findings through rapid peer review. To accomplish this, the editorial team of RR\ID will continue to engage with global academic communities and leverage AI to ensure a level of rigor that clinicians, researchers, journalists, policy makers, and others worldwide can rely on to make sound judgments about current crises and their amelioration.

But in order to more fully democratize public access to reliable research studies from the global scientific community, the team also plans to improve how young researchers and scientists from LMIC are included in the “closed-door” ecosystem of traditional scientific publishing. 

“In the past, academic publishing has been too expensive, too exclusive, and somewhat unbalanced, especially for our colleagues in LMICs, where inclusion has not always been equitable,” explains Hildy Fong Baker, managing director of RR\ID and executive director of the UC Berkeley Center for Global Public Health. “By introducing the next generation of researchers in LMICs to our editorial process of selecting preprints and identifying peer reviewers, we will not only welcome them to embrace open publishing initiatives and train them to conduct quality peer review, but also create a deep understanding of scientific publishing and communications.”

Launched in the early days of the pandemic, RR\C19 was the first open-access overlay journal to conduct rapid formal peer reviews of COVID-19-related research preprints. It has now completed more than 600 reviews and is currently the second largest overlay journal in existence. Recognized with the 2022 Association of American Publishers’ PROSE Award for Innovation in Journal Publishing, its efforts have been highlighted in mainstream media outlets, such as the New York Times (for its contributions in debunking the Yan Paper in 2020), the Washington Post, and the Hill.


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