This year we will begin our sixth year of publishing PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, the first open-access journal for the community of biomedical and social scientists, public health experts, and health care providers committed to studying the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Jumpstarted with seed funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, together with an editorial staff and a PLOS board of directors dedicated to editorial and journal capacity building in the world’s low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), PLOS NTDs began in 2007 with an editorial entitled A New Voice for the Poor. From the outset, PLOS NTDs worked to create a unique vision for publishing tropical medicine papers that was different from other journals in the field. By maintaining our dedication to the concept of open access, we hoped that PLOS NTDs would be read by a wide community of NTD experts while simultaneously attracting new people to the field.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases is an important new ally for global efforts to control and eliminate the world’s most burdensome NTDs. We believe that our new journal, dedicated to publishing research that can help reduce disease and despair, is a modest yet important contribution to relieving suffering and building research and disease control capacity in developing countries. With unprecedented representation from women and developing countries on our Editorial Board, together with a magazine section devoted to policy, analysis, and debate, we hope that PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases will promote a collective voice for the world’s poorest people. And by adopting an open-access model—all articles are freely available worldwide and can be copied, distributed, translated, and built upon provided authors are credited and the source is cited—we hope to reach an audience of 6 billion.