Thursday, June 21, 2007

OpenAccess, AIDS and Interactive Review

Phew! evaluations are finally over and... I survived!

So to all: PLoS ONE is a new peer-reviewed OpenAccess online publication innovating in the post-review process... meaning that:

1) y' get it for FREE
2) information and data is public
3) y' can actually participate in reviewing the paper!!!

more information 'bout PLoS ONE in its website PLoS ONE (obviously), 'bout open access here defined and in PLoS' OpenAccess website and which I can republish here under Creative Commons License, and in Jonathan Eisen's (the OpenAccess Cruzader) blog:

An Open Access Publication[1] is one that meets the following two conditions:

  1. The author(s) and copyright holder(s) grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship,[2] as well as the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use.
  2. A complete version of the work and all supplemental materials, including a copy of the permission as stated above, in a suitable standard electronic format is deposited immediately upon initial publication in at least one online repository that is supported by an academic institution, scholarly society, government agency, or other well-established organization that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, interoperability, and long-term archiving (for the biomedical sciences, PubMed Central is such a repository).

[1] Open access is a property of individual works, not necessarily journals or publishers.

[2] Community standards, rather than copyright law, will continue to provide the mechanism for enforcement of proper attribution and responsible use of the published work, as they do now.

Hence, PLoS ONE is like a Peer-Reviewed Journal with all the benefits of OpenAccess PLUS a Blog-Like post-publication Interactive Review Process. So, everyone with a background on whatever-each-paper-is-about should check in and contribute to the post-publication review. All y'need is to visit PLoS ONE homepage, register (y'only need to identify yourself nonambiguously and your email account) and write!

Here, just to tease you, I leave this just-published paper published by John R. Talbott from Africans Against Aids which might generate the need of opinion in many of you:


Size Matters: The Number of Prostitutes and the Global HIV/AIDS Pandemic

John R. Talbott*

Africans Against Aids, Inc., New York, New York, United States of America


HIV/AIDS prevalence rates across countries of the world vary more than 500-fold from .06% in Hungary to 33.4% in Swaziland. One of the most cited research papers in the field, utilizing cross country regression analysis to analyze other correlates with this HIV prevalence data, is flawed in that it weights each country's results by the country's population.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Based on cross-country linear and multiple regressions using newly gathered data from UNAIDS, the number of female commercial sex workers as a percentage of the female adult population is robustly positively correlated with countrywide HIV/AIDS prevalence levels. Confirming earlier studies, female illiteracy levels, gender illiteracy differences and income inequality within countries are also significantly positively correlated with HIV/AIDS levels. Muslims as a percentage of the population, itself highly correlated with country circumcision rates and previously found to be negatively correlated with HIV/AIDS prevalence, is insignificant when the percentage of commercial sex workers in a population is included in the analysis.


This paper provides strong evidence that when conducted properly, cross country regression data does not support the theory that male circumcision is the key to slowing the AIDS epidemic. Rather, it is the number of infected prostitutes in a country that is highly significant and robust in explaining HIV prevalence levels across countries. An explanation is offered for why Africa has been hit the hardest by the AIDS pandemic and why there appears to be very little correlation between HIV/AIDS infection rates and country wealth.