Category Archives: Science Tools

Goodbye 2011 and Hello New Science Year 2012: JIDC Postcards 2011- a Wrap-up

Good Bye 2011.  Hello New Science Year! Its 2012!  I hope everyone had a fabulous 2011 and rang in 2012 with a (big) bang!

There is so much a new year brings, especially in science. A new year with many possibilities. New conferences to attend (yeah!). Papers to publish. Exciting projects to start.  And new posts to write for the JIDC Blog!

To move forward in a guided direction I often feel we need to review the past.  What conferences were attended?  Were they beneficial? What papers were we able to publish last year? Were they well received? What are the stages of the current projects? Are they close to a publication? Are they close to completion?

And here at the JIDC Blog, what were the posts on the Blog over the last year?  Were they helpful to readers and authors? Did they promote scientific discussion? Were the Blog and the Blog Posts a good resource for research information? – This was my main goal when starting the JIDC Blog.  My hope was that the Blog would be useful to JIDC readers and authors alike as an information resource as well as a point for discussions.  I also hoped that it would be a valuable tool for non-JIDC members and help educate new people about JIDC.

So shall we review?

There is a blog tradition that I have only just learned about.  The tradition is that the first post of the New Year should be a listing of all the first sentences from the first post of every month from the previous year.

Below is a listing of all of the first Posts of every month in 2011 and the first sentences from each.  I have also added my personal notes from each post.

Here we go…

June 2011 — JIDC Postcards: The JIDC Blog

Hi, and welcome to JIDC’s blog. 

I was sooo excited…and nervous to introduce the Blog to the JIDC community and the world.  Would anyone read it? Would anyone like it?  Would it be a Blog that we could be proud of? Only you can answer these questions for me. 


July 2011 – Olga:  From Mozambique to Brazil

A Challenge!! An Opportunity!!

My name is Olga André Chichava, and I’m a young biologist fromMozambique!

I absolutely loved this post from Olga. Her story gave an incredible view into the life of a research student who is also a mother.  I was inspired to see her courage to move to a foreign country and her drive to build her masters project.   She shared her passion for research as well as life with us. This post was featured on the headlines of Microbiology Daily, I was so proud. Also, this post is the most popular post on the Blog.


August 2011 – Milliedes in Kashmir,India

Insects have been found in Marrhama, a village in Blok Trehgam in the District of Kupwara Jammu and Kashmir, India. The main water source used for drinking purposes is badly affected by the insects.

This post from Dr. Kadri highlighted problems that affect regional areas which can easily go unnoticed to the rest of the world.  I am so glad that he shared this experience so that more people can be aware of such difficulties that face communities. This is the second most popular post of all time on the Blog and I am happy that it has reached so many people!


September 2011 – The First Annual Conference on Drug Therapy in TB Infection

The Africa Health Research Organization, AHRO, presents the International Conference on Drug Therapy in TB Infection

What: First International Conference on Drug Therapy in TB Infection
When: 6-7 January 2012
Where: Edinburgh Scotland
Who: Presented by AHRO,Africa Health Research Organization

It was great to post about this conference.  Since the conference was just completed, I hope that everything went well and it was a successful event.  Also, I would love to hear a roundup of the conference by anyone who attended.  Please contact me if you are interested in writing a Blog Post describing this meeting.


October 2011 – And the winner is…! JIDC Open Access Week#4

And the winner is….I just couldn’t help it.  I have enjoyed Open Access Week and the JIDC T-shirt give-away that I could not just draw only 1 name.  So I picked 6!

Ooooo this was an exciting one.  I was incredibly happy to share JIDC and the JIDC T-shirts with readers and authors! If you are a winner and you haven’t contacted me and would still like at T-shirt, please let me know.


November 2011 – Publishing a Scientific Article in JIDC

How do I publish a scientific paper?…This question is asked by all young scientists. 

How do you write a scientific paper? There are so many directions one can take when putting their research together. I hope this helped authors organize themselves when preparing manuscripts for JIDC.  In addition to this Post, if you have other specific questions about writing a paper or you have a particular writing topic you would like to see a post about, please don’t hesitate to let me know.  I am currently preparing a post how I write a scientific paper to share with you.


December 2011 – ReR – MedToday!

Memento te hominem esse. – Remember that you are human.

What an important point that is! Remember you are human. We are all vulnerable and delicate aren’t we? I am so happy to have posted the special work of ReR-MedToday! The importance of support during times of ill health can’t be overstated. I am sure the families touched by this organization are forever grateful.


Thats a Wrap! 

So that’s the JIDC Blog for 2011.  I hope 2012 brings just as fabulous Posts and discussions as 2011 did.

I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the Posts and Discussion of the 2011 JIDC Blog!  In no particular order, BIG THANKS to:

IRIN and Jane Summ

Olga Andre Chichava

Prof. Jorg Heukelbach

Anna Carolina Ritter

Laboratory of Food Microbiology of the ICTA/UFRGS

Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul

Dr. Vinod Singh


David Dorherty

Joanne Wong

Dr. S.M. Kadri

Open Access and Open Access Week



Donna Okubo

Dr. Amber Farooqui

Jain et al., JIDC 2011

Dr. Abubaker Yaro

Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health

1st International Conference on Drug Therapy in TB Infection

The Grandest Challenge

Dr. Abdallah S. Daar

Dr. Peter A. Singer

Sun et al., JIDC 2011

Amedei et al., JIDC 2011

Elios et al., JIDC 2011

Jeff Coombs

Tracy Zao

Ashish Chandra Shrestha

Sara Norris

Christopher Logue

Sunita Pareek

Marie Anne Chattaway

Chimwemwe Mandalasi

Jane-Francis Akoachere

University of Buea, Cameroon

Nikki Kelvin

Tribaldos et al., JIDC 2011

Dr. Lorelei Silverman

Dr. Rosalind Silverman

Models of Human Diseases


University Hospital of Hue, Vietnam

University of Sassari

Dr. Le Van An

Dr. Tran

Prof. Piero Cappuccinelli

Remi Eryk Raitza



Drake Current

Current Family

Dr. Myo Nyein Aung

School of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok

And a spceial thanks to Prof. Salvatore Rubino for his support of the Blog!

Reflecting on the 2011 Blog has shown me I have lots more science to cover! It has also spiked my curiosity.  What was your favorite Post of 2011?  What about your Favorite JIDC Postcard? Was there a topic that you enjoyed reading about or a Postcard that you could identify with? Let me know. I love to hear from you!



Filed under Amber, Countries, Editor's Pick, Environmental Issues, JIDC News, Open Access, People, Postcards, Science Thoughts, Science Tools, Scientific Writing, Wrap-Up

Publishing a Scientific Article in JIDC

Hi everyone!  This post comes from JIDC’s Technical Editor Nikki Kelvin and focuses on Academic Scientific Writing and Scientific Writing for publishing your research in JIDC.  Originally written for Open Access Week, this post is a great guide to Scientific Writing!   Please leave any questions on publishing that you would like answered.


Publishing a Scientific Article in JIDC: How does the editing process work, and what can I do to expedite the process?

How do I publish a scientific paper?

This question is asked by all young scientists. For those living and working in developing countries the question is at times frightening, but at JIDC we see many young scientists eagerly launch into the task.

It is well-known that scientists from developing countries face barriers that are not problematic for scientists in developed countries in getting their research published. As noted on the JIDC web site, these barriers may include issues such as lack of interest by some international journals in regional problems, the inexperience of authors from developing nations in presenting their research in international forums, and language barriers.

Previous posts have discussed the philosophy behind JIDC’s mentoring system and how it helps our authors not only improve their experimental design and analysis and presentation of data, but how to discuss the results within the boundaries of reasonable argument and make them interesting to a wider audience in addition to their national colleagues. Here we would like to talk about how JIDC’s technical and scientific editors contribute to the mentoring system. We will also present some tips on what authors can do to ensure that the editorial process moves efficiently.

Language is one of the greatest barriers faced by scientists from developing countries whose first language is not English.  Many editors will immediately reject papers if the English is poor even though the articles may have scientific merit. At JIDC, we believe that the dissemination of scientific studies should not be impeded by language barriers; therefore, after articles have been reviewed and accepted for publication by a section editor, they are submitted to a double-editing process.

After being accepted for publication, articles are first sent to a technical editor for language editing. The editor will look for errors in sentence structure, subject-verb agreement, diction (i.e., correct choice and use of words), and punctuation and make the appropriate revisions. Occasionally, an author’s meaning will not be clear to the editor. In such cases, the editors will revise the sentence as they believe it should be written (and add a comment asking the author to verify the change) or ask the author to rewrite the sentence to make it clearer.

The technical editor also ensures that JIDC style is followed by checking that titles and abstracts do not exceed the required maximum length, that appropriate key words are present, and that abstracts and body text contain the appropriate section headings. Finally, the technical editors check that the references are set according to JIDC style.

When the technical editing has been completed, the article is sent to a scientific editor. Although this double-editing process takes time, it is an essential step to ensure that the scientific meaning was not altered in any way during the technical editing process. The scientific editor also checks the paper for scientific accuracy, ensures that terms are correctly italicized, checks that tables and figures match the text, and verifies equations and formulae.

While all the technical and scientific editors at JIDC take pride in helping our authors produce the best papers possible for publication, the process moves along more quickly and efficiently for articles that need few revisions. If possible, ask a colleague or friend who has good English skills to edit your paper for you before you submit it.

Here are some other tips to help move your article through the editorial process efficiently.

1. Write clearly and simply. This means that you should

  • write short sentences and use simple words
    • avoid using unnecessarily long sentences
    • avoid using uncommon words (for example, more people would understand the word “confuse” than “obfuscate” so “confuse” is a better word choice)
    • use fewer words (for example, “conducted” or “performed” are better choices than “carried out”,  and “per” and “whether” are less wordy than “as per” or “whether or not”)
    • use the spelling checker on your computer,
      • be aware that spelling checkers may not identify words that are incorrectly used even when they are spelled correctly
      • for example, a spelling checker will not alert you when you have written “might” when you mean “mite” or “for” when you mean “four” or “fore”

2. Review the following check list to ensure that your article follows the guidelines for authors as shown on the JIDC web site:

  • Both the title and the running title are the correct length
  • The abstract is the correct length and it contains the appropriate sections
    • It can take a long time for an editor to shorten a 390 word abstract to 250 words, and you may disagree with the editor on which information should be eliminated, so it is better to ensure that the abstract adheres to the requirements before it is submitted
    • The article text contains all the appropriate sections
    • The article mentions all tables and figures in the text, and that the number of tables and figures mentioned matches the number of tables and figures submitted with the publication
      • The editing process is slowed down considerably when the editors have to double-check whether an article should have four or five tables because the article mentions only four tables but five have been uploaded to the JIDC site
      • The tables and figures are submitted and formatted as instructed on the JIDC web site
        • The publication of many papers has been delayed because the figures and tables do not adhere to the proper specifications
        • The references are in numerical order and set in square brackets (e.g., [1] ) in the text
        • The reference list at the end of the article follows JIDC style as shown on the web site, paying attention to punctuation and spacing as well as the accuracy of the authors’ names, dates, and page numbers

While at JIDC we do all that we can to mentor our authors and help them produce the best papers possible, we must work with the raw material that is sent to us.  It is the responsibility of all authors to ensure that they send us their best work. Working together, we can have a positive and successful publishing experience.

Nikki Kelvin

Nikki in her OA T!


JIDC Technical Editor


1 Comment

Filed under Open Access, Open Access Week, Science Tools, Scientific Writing, Uncategorized

Open Access Week Members and Open Access T-shirts!

A couple of weeks ago, I posted on the JIDC Blog that JIDC has joined Open Access week (OA week).   We have a group page on the OA week website and hope that JIDC members and non-members will join us in OA week and our OA week group.

As participants of OA week, JIDC members have received OA week T-shirts!  I love these T-shirts.  And to share the excitement with JIDC OA group members, we are giving away OA week T-shirts as well as T-shirts for JIDC!  The JIDC T-shirts will be revealed soon!  For now you can see the design for the OA week T-shirt at the left.

JIDC OA group members will be randomly chosen the first week of October 2011 to receive free OA and JIDC T-shirts.   The winners will be announced Friday October 7th!  The number of shirts to be given away will depend on the number of members in the group.  More members, more T-shirts!    

To become a member of the OA week JIDC group:

  1. Go to the Open Access week website
  2. Sign Up for Open Access week
  3. Go to Groups
  4. Find the JIDC group page
  5. Click on Join Open Access JIDC

Being a part of OA week is important to JIDC, as we are an Open Access journal.  We are proud to have Open Access status and agree with the philosophy of Free Knowledge.  I especially like the quote on the OA week T-shirt, “Everybody’s knowledge, nobody’s property”.

In my Open Access Week T-shirt

Here you can see me wearing my OA T-shirt.  In the near future, I will also be posting other JIDC Editors and JIDC members wearing their T-shirts.  You can purchase an OA T-shirt from the Zazzle online store here.  And if you have a picture of yourself in an Open Access T-shirt, we would love to see it! 

Also, if you are interested in the JIDC T-shirts or have ideas you would like to see on the JIDC Ts, please contact me at or Jeff Coombs at  Jeff is the graphic artist for JIDC and designs the cover art for the monthly issues.

To read more on our interest in Open Access and Open Access week, please see our previous JIDC OA Blog post.  As well, Donna Okubo from PLoS (Public Library of Science) and SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) has been incredibly helpful with the organization of JIDC in OA week.  In fact I would call her the SPARC in our OA work….hehe. 

If you have questions about OA week for Donna she would be happy to help.  Her email is  I can’t thank her enough! Thanks Donna!

 Also, if you have ideas for JIDC events during OA week, I would like to hear them.  So far, our planned events include the topics: The JIDC Mentoring Program, Scientific Writing, and the Importance of Open Access Publishing.  Let me know what you think.



Filed under JIDC News, Open Access, Open Access Week, Science Tools, Uncategorized

mHealth! Mobiles for Improving Healthcare

In place of a JIDC Postcard this week, the fabulous Derek Ng has written a piece on mHealth.  The potential of mobile phones to deliver health advice and/or information is exciting.   I already see many people using this technology here in Canada.  For instance, many of my pregnant friends receive weekly up-dates on the progression of their pregnancies on their mobile phones.  Although powerful, challenges for implementing these technologies do exist.  In this Blog Post Derek has reviewed the compelling advances in mHealth as well as discussing the challenges. 

What are your thoughts on mHealth and how well do you think it will be accepted in your area?  Are you using mHealth technologies in your area?  Or are you trying to implement a new mHealth technology?  If you have comments or would like to share your experiences in mHealth we would like to hear from you.  Particularly I am interested in the use of mobile devices to track infectious disease outbreaks.  


The advent of mobile phones has made it considerably easier for people to communicate regardless of where they were in the world. By the mid-2000s, these phones were becoming increasingly powerful with miniaturized computer chip technology that made it possible for users to complete more complex tasks. The mobile phone has evolved from a device that was essentially a phone that individuals could use away from home to something more resembling a handheld computer – an aptly named “smartphone.” Today, users can perform tasks beyond that of simply calling and texting, such as e-mailing, surfing, video recording, word processing and more. The integration of computer-like capabilities to the phone has also resulted in the development of applications that can be designed to perform specialized tasks. One interesting twist in the mobile world is that of mobile health (mHealth).

What is mHealth?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mHealth as “the use of mobile and wireless technologies to support the achievement of health objectives,” where the WHO has published a write-up on mHealth.  The concept of mHealth has already caught on with cell phone applications that assist health-care providers by providing up-to-date lists of drugs, information on diseases and so forth. This has already aided physicians in supplementing their point-of-care service. It is also available on the outpatient or receiving end of health care by providing patients with schedules for medications or how to eat or exercise better. The possibilities appear to be even more promising as mobile technologies are still rapidly advancing. Although we can see real applications and benefits for this technology in industrialized countries, the same remains to be seen for developing countries as well.

How have mobile phones changed the developing world?

Cell phone usage in developing countries has skyrocketed in the past and continues to do so in areas such as South America, Africa and Asia [1]. The technology has helped countries without infrastructure to bypass the need to construct landlines which were previously required for telephony to occur. By constructing modern radio towers instead, these countries can leapfrog the older and more expensive telephone technology, which has resulted in countries that possess a well-established mobile network despite lacking paved roads, electricity or landline internet connections [1]. This situation has allowed for an unprecedented number of individuals who are now connected to each other, as well as the internet. One key aspect about this far-reaching technology is that it has been made very affordable in these areas. For example, China and India have over 800 million cell phone subscribers each, whereas in contrast, Canada has 24 million active cell phone accounts [1]. When I visited China, I spent about 20 Canadian dollars on a prepaid plan that offered me more minutes and data usage than I could use in a month. In Canada, my cell phone plan is often over 50 dollars a month.

Why mHealth?

An advantage of mHealth is that it can be utilized to allow a broad base of users (many of which are already subscribed to a cell phone plan) to be instantly informed on wide range of issues. These topics could range from outbreak detection and notification, drug or therapy adherence (such as that seen in TB treatment), HIV awareness, and so forth. For example, Grand Challenges Canada is promoting innovative ways in which to solve global health issues [2]. Furthermore, the use of mHealth to improve healthcare has been reported in countries such as Kenya and Cameroon [3–8]: some articles of which are Open Access, Implementing medical information systems in developing countries, what works and what doesn’t by Fraser 2010, The Cameroon mobile phone SMS (CAMPS) trial: a protocol for a randomized controlled trial of mobile phone text messaging versus usual care for improving adherence to highly active anti-retroviral therapy by Mbuagbaw et al., 2011, and Global Networking of Cancer and NCD Professionals Using Internet Technologies: The Supercourse and mHealth Applications by Linkov et al., 2010.

Two interesting proposals of the Canadian Rising Stars in Global Health from Grand Challenges Canada we recently came across here at the JIDC were ‘using mobile phone text messaging to reduce maternal and infant death in rural areas in China’[8] and ‘mHealth for Maternal and Newborn Health: Clinical decision support for community health workers in Western Kenya’[9]. The first idea, proposed by Ri-Hua Xie from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and University of Ottawa, is to deliver educational material from the World Health Organization to expecting mothers who might not have received the information otherwise. Her proposal aims to reduce both maternal and infant deaths, by connecting healthcare providers to expecting and new mothers in rural areas.  You can watch a video describing her idea here.

The latter proposal by Astrid Christoffersen-Deb at the University of Toronto is in collaboration with Moi University Schoolof medicine inKenya. She would like to provide citizens with a unique barcode and identifying health card, which can be scanned by a community health worker. This provides the workers access to electronic medical records for sending and receiving information to and from medical facilities.  You can watch a video describing Astrid’s idea here.

Thus far about 80% of all WHO member states offer at least one mHealth service – the majority of which are in higher-income countries[1]. The highest reported rate of mHealth use was in countries inEurope, whereas Africa was least active. The majority or about two-thirds of projects in mHealth are still in a pilot stage, which poses some problems in its widespread implementation.

The challenges in implementing mHealth

However, not everyone is as optimistic about the impact of mobile phones in these countries. In fact, mHealth faces several barriers, despite the many promising ideas outlined earlier. Some issues include the lack of convincing studies that outline a positive benefit for the cost of implementing mHealth. The studies also need to show more evidence that mHealth can improve health outcomes. In countries where funding is already limited, the governments may decide to fund other important health care programs whose outcomes are better established. There is also a lack of standardization because some of the studies have been launched to tackle one specific problem in that one region. The WHO is currently developing a tool kit that may offer a standardized set of guidelines for using mHealth in the future.

The future of mHealth and summary

mHealth offers a promising way to deliver different health care programs and services to the individuals who have traditionally had difficulty accessing such resources. With the increasing capabilities of mobile technology and its penetration into remote and rural areas, we can look forward to emerging fields within mHealth. Ideally such applications (some of which previously mentioned) would benefit both health-care providers and patients alike. Health-care providers may see advanced telehealth technologies for communicating with experts for assistance in complex or difficult procedures outside of sophisticated care facilities, such as in remote or underserviced areas. An extension of this is that it could also allow physicians to more easily follow-up and monitor their patients. Yet another application branching from this is education of citizens for public health purposes.

With any new emerging technology, it is important to assess its benefits and risks. Studies must be made to produce a standardized set of guidelines – an undertaking which is already in progress through the WHO. Following such guidelines, it would also be useful to validate the technology according to the needs of an individual country and its citizens, since disease burdens and health-care services would vary.

While the verification of the benefits of mHealth and whether it is a valuable investment over other health services in countries where resources are already limited are important considerations, there appears to be a potential for mHealth to make a significant impact on health care in the future

Derek Ng

What are your thoughts on mHealth?

Please feel free to leave a comment.

Derek is from Toronto, Canada and is now a second year medical student at the University of Western Ontario.  Comments or questions contact Derek: or myself: 

Derek on Left


Reference List


      1.   World Health Organization W (2011) mHealth New horizons for health through mobile technologies.

      2.   2011 July) Grand Challenges Canada.

      3.   Chang LW, Kagaayi J, Arem H, Nakigozi G, Ssempijja V, Serwadda D, Quinn TC, Gray RH, Bollinger RC, Reynolds SJ (2011) Impact of a mHealth Intervention for Peer Health Workers on AIDS Care in Rural Uganda: A Mixed Methods Evaluation of a Cluster-Randomized Trial. AIDS Behav . 10.1007/s10461-011-9995-x [doi].

      4.   Tamrat T, Kachnowski S (2011) Special Delivery: An Analysis of mHealth in Maternal and Newborn Health Programs and Their Outcomes Around the World. Matern Child Health J . 10.1007/s10995-011-0836-3 [doi].

      5.   Mbuagbaw L, Thabane L, Ongolo-Zogo P, Lester RT, Mills E, Volmink J, Yondo D, Essi MJ, Bonono-Momnougui RC, Mba R, Ndongo JS, Nkoa FC, Ondoa HA (2011) The Cameroon mobile phone SMS (CAMPS) trial: a protocol for a randomized controlled trial of mobile phone text messaging versus usual care for improving adherence to highly active anti-retroviral therapy. Trials 12: 5. 1745-6215-12-5 [pii];10.1186/1745-6215-12-5 [doi].

      6.   Lester RT, Ritvo P, Mills EJ, Kariri A, Karanja S, Chung MH, Jack W, Habyarimana J, Sadatsafavi M, Najafzadeh M, Marra CA, Estambale B, Ngugi E, Ball TB, Thabane L, Gelmon LJ, Kimani J, Ackers M, Plummer FA (2010) Effects of a mobile phone short message service on antiretroviral treatment adherence in Kenya (WelTel Kenya1): a randomised trial. Lancet 376: 1838-1845. S0140-6736(10)61997-6 [pii];10.1016/S0140-6736(10)61997-6 [doi].

      7.   Fraser HS, Blaya J (2010) Implementing medical information systems in developing countries, what works and what doesn’t. AMIA Annu Symp Proc 2010: 232-236.

      8.   Linkov F, Padilla N, Shubnikov E, Laporte R (2010) Global Networking of Cancer and NCD professionals using internet technologies: the Supercourse and mHealth applications. J Prev Med Public Health 43: 472-478. 201011472 [pii];10.3961/jpmph.2010.43.6.472 [doi].




Filed under Kenya, mHealth, News, Science Tools

Connotea, free online reference tool


Today the JIDC Blog entry JIDC, Open Access and Open Access Week was listed on the Connetea website. 

Connotea is a free, online tool to organize science and medical references.  The site is helpful for maintaining and communicating references and even has a Blog authored by Marta Rolak.

Worth a peek!


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Filed under JIDC News, Open Access, Science Tools, Uncategorized