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At the 12th International Congress of Dermatology in Buenos Aires, Dr. Stephen Katz, in his keynote lecture “Molecular Dermatology: Progress and promise”, shared the leading advancements in dermatology. He revealed prospects for gene, protein and stem cell therapy for Recessive Epidermolysis Bullosa, the discovery of BRAF inhibitors that prolong the life of patients with melanoma, and new findings in autoinflammatory diseases and Pharmacogenomics. Ten to fifteen years ago, these major breakthroughs in genetics, molecular biology and targeted therapies would be unimaginable. Their discovery has since significantly impacted the scientific community.

Major developments in the field of dermatology are not discovered overnight; rather they are products of years of diligent research. These findings are also supported by robust data; presented and published in high impact journals such as Science, Nature and the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. The vast majority of these molecular studies and clinical trials are conducted in the US, Europe and in affluent Asian countries like China and Japan, where government support for research is substantial. Within the next 10 years, we expect promising discoveries in biologic and small molecules for the long-term control of psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, new approaches to the treatment of genodermatoses, and a greater understanding of  pathways involved in itch  and anti-ageing.



Not all the developments in dermatology publications have been positive. Concerns have been raised on what has been termed “predatory publishing”, wherein scholars from developing countries in Africa and Asia are particularly at risk of being victimized. Some of our PDS colleagues who recently contributed work to international publications have received numerous email invitations to publish and become a member of the editorial board of previously unknown journals. Some clues to detect predatory open-access publishing include expeditious acceptance of articles for publications without peer review, and subsidiary author publication fees that range from 200 to 1000 US dollars. Unfortunately, articles cannot be withdrawn once they have been accepted for publication.  Moreover, predatory journals have increased their publications to almost 400,000 in over 4000 journals – a significant proportion of these articles are related to dermatology.


Notably, editorials and commentaries in established scientific journals recently have expressed disdain for these groups that are involved in   “predatory publishing”. On the other hand, these alleged “predatory publishers” have retaliated by mounting lawsuits and claiming that their endeavors are legal. Alternatively, they consider themselves as victims of discrimination by the “elitists” in the field of scientific publications.  At present, a cold war   exists within the scientific community between what is recognized as “credible publishers” versus what is now being labelled as “predatory.”  We at JPDS do not recommend article submission to international journals that are not currently accredited by Pub Med until this controversy has been resolved.

The future of JPDS

Despite the current issues in publications and the marginal support of the government on research, some of our colleagues manage to contribute considerably to the international scientific community. Dr. Mara Evangelista’s winning the Everett Fox Award for outstanding clinical research in the American Academy of Dermatology’s Annual Meeting at Denver, Colorado in 2015 has given promise to research done at our dermatology training institutions.  Published research by colleagues in Dermatopathology are also noted to be gaining citations from foreign authors. Dr. Lilian Villafuerte’s case report on contact dermatitis to turmeric oil and Dr. Vermen Verallo-Rowell’s review on virgin coconut oil has recently been published recently in the journals Contact Dermatitis and Current Allergy and Asthma Reports, respectively. My collaborative work with Dr. Bryan Guevara that focused primarily on marine dermatology has resulted to three articles in   Clinical and Experimental Dermatology. A formidable retrospective review done by Dr Sheena Sy and colleagues (UP-PGH), on the dermatological manifestations of Arsenic poisoning in the Philippines has recently been published in the International Journal of Dermatology. One of the “landmark” publications this year, the book “Melasma and Vitiligo in Brown Skin” published by Springer, is the collaborative work of Dr. Vangee Handog and Juliet Macarayo as  editors, and other PDS consultants and residents as contributing author.


As the new Editor-in-chief, I was tasked to make the JPDS accessible online, which will be initiated in November 2017. This endeavor is expected to increase readership and citation of the articles in the JPDS that can be monitored and documented online via reference manager applications.   Online access to JPDS, however, entails a huge amount of work and responsibility from the editorial board, peer reviewers and submitting authors. We need to responsibly come up with the best quality research, case reports and commentaries.


In the coming months, we encourage more manuscript submissions to the JPDS, more participation of all authors during the writing and editing of manuscripts, more rigorous peer reviews from our expert colleagues and more aggressive screening for plagiarism. The new section “Tropical Grove” has been assigned to feature: “neglected tropical diseases”, parasitic infestations, and bites and stings.  I envision these aspects to be the cardinal strength of the journal and an advantage over Western publications. Another new section, “What lies beneath”, will feature pearls in dermatopathology and dermoscopy, and is expected to showcase exchange of ideas between clinicians and dermatopathologists.  We also hope to continually receive manuscripts on clinical trials, observational studies and systematic reviews.


A special recognition to everyone that helped and contributed in creating this midyear issue of the JPDS. Our next issue will be released in November and will focus on the theme “Skin of color”.  We will present articles on disorders of pigmentation and sun protection.   Non-inferiority clinical trials on herbal medications, observational studies on leprosy, and case reports on rare tropical diseases will likewise be featured.  We strongly encourage all PDS members and residents from training institutions to contribute in this endeavor.

Johannes F. Dayrit, MD, FPDS
Journal of the Philippine Dermatological Society

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