Bart GJ Knols
Bart Knols works as a medical entomologist at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria. He spent eleven years in Eastern and Southern Africa before his current assignment, where he focused on studying the behavioral ecology of insects of medical and veterinary importance, particularly malaria mosquitoes and tsetse flies. He is currently involved in the development of genetic control strategies for African malaria mosquitoes, particularly the use of the Sterile Insect Technique. This work is being undertaken jointly with colleagues in Sudan and other African countries.
What prompted you to submit a manuscript to one of BioMed Central's journals?
The importance of having access to the latest and most up-to-date scientific information was most significant whilst being based in some of the remotest parts of Africa. In rural Zambia a 'bush' radio was all we had. In Tanzania, during the mid-nineties, we experimented with email. In 2001, on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya, we had our own satellite station and full-time access to email and the Web: Vast improvements in communication, all within a decade. However, for many scientists working in Africa and other remote parts of the planet, libraries are not just round the corner, and subscription fees for journals are often considered too high. As a result, many suffer from being 'cut-off' in spite of increased IT opportunities. BioMed Central has filled this gap: An Internet cafe in the desert (they exist!) is all you need to read about the latest in science. I have now (co-) authored seven papers in Malaria Journal and two are in progress. I keep on going back to the journal because of the ease of publishing, and the large number of accesses to the published work.
What was your assessment of the electronic submission and peer review process?
For all papers submitted, reviewed and published to date, interaction with BioMed Central has been excellent. Editorial response time has been minimal and reviews have been fair and returned in a timely fashion. The step-wise process used for submission is simple and efficient. The ability to preview figures and tables and the option to submit additional files is welcome. I must also mention here that corrections at proof stage have been far fewer than any of my papers published in hard-copy journals before.
What do you think you gained from publishing in an open access journal?
I gained exposure of research efforts that reach beyond the classical publication circuits. Online publishing brings you just what you want after tireless research efforts: broad exposure of your findings.