The most important attribute of a journal editor is enthusiasm and experience in their subject, and Dennis Douroumis has both of those things in spades.
Douroumis has just been appointed as editor-in-chief of a new pharmacy journal, RPS Pharmacy and Pharmacology Reports, which is the first open-access journal to be published by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.
It is an exciting development that looks set to expand the evidence base for pharmacology and pharmaceutics in the UK and internationally, and Douroumis is particularly keen to provide opportunities for young researchers to publish their work.
“There are young researchers who may have difficulties, for different reasons, to get their work accepted and we are going to apply a fair system for these people in the review process,” he explains.
Douroumis himself started with a BSc in chemistry, followed by a PhD in pharmaceutical technology at the Department of Pharmacy at Patras University, Greece, in 2000 that specialised in pharmaceutical nanotechnology.
He then joined the Greek Army for two years of military service, before continuing his postdoctorate career in Germany on a project funded by Novartis. Here, he worked for two years trying to make ‘nano dispersions’ for anti-epileptic drugs.
More recently, Douroumis has worked in industry and academia in the UK. Since 2007, he has been based at the University of Greenwich, looking at 3D printing of pharmaceuticals, among other things.
“We have made a lot of progress, and if everything goes fine, sometime in December 2022 we’ll have a clinical trial with some hospitals,” he explains. “People have different needs: for example, children often don’t adhere to the medication, and for that reason we developed fancy designs that look like Haribo.”
It is this experience that Douroumis brings to his new role; to find out more about his plans, The Pharmaceutical Journal interviewed him over Zoom.
RPS Pharmacy and Pharmacology Reports is a new journal: can you tell me a bit about it? What is different about this journal?
It’s a multidisciplinary journal and it’s not very easy to find this type of journal. We cover pharmacology and pharmaceutics. Pharmaceutics is a very broad area, it covers drug delivery systems, clinical pharmacology, pharmacognosy, analytical technologies, analytical pharmacy: so there’s a broad range of areas. There’s a trend now for academics to publish online journals because it’s easier to disseminate their research and also they attract citations. So this is a good approach for academics.
We are only focused on research that is novel and innovative, and that has substantial evidence. If people provide the right evidence of their original work, we are happy to publish. There is a sister journal, Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology (JPP), but the idea was to have a system for open access. The JPP does it at some point, but we wanted a pure journal for open access.
What is the difference between the two journals?
We will overlap in some areas, but JPP now has a bit more focus on clinical applications. We won’t look at clinical applications that much; we will look for proof of concept. If somebody has clinical data that’s fine — we’d be very happy with that, but it will not be a prerequisite to submit in the journal.
Who should consider submitting their research to this journal?
As a new journal, we don’t have an impact factor yet, but I would say that people from across the globe are welcome to apply. There are young researchers who may have difficulties, for different reasons, to get their work accepted and we are going to apply a fair system for these people in the review process.
We have also speeded up the publication time, so you won’t have to wait for ages to see your work published: because this is what happens quite often, even if your work is top. Everybody is welcome to apply, but especially fairly young researchers who wants to communicate their work fast.
Could you tell us about the fees involved?
There’s a processing fee of around £2,000 for developed countries, but we also have a system in place where under-developed countries get publication free of charge and there are significant discounts for some other countries, where they are not fully developed. We have things in place to try to make it fair.
We have a few other ideas: for example, if somebody wishes to organise a special issue, then they can get, for every ten articles, two articles for free.
How did you select the editorial board?
We wanted it to be diverse, with a balance between men and women, because women are underrepresented in not only in other journal boards, but also in universities. We also looked across different universities around the world and have people on the editorial board from China, the United States, Australia and Europe.
We also have a mix of experience on the board: some are experienced and well known in the research field, but we have also some young people — or ‘rising stars’, as I call them — who were well known but there’s still a way to for them to go. I think sometime in September 2022 we’ll start expanding the editorial board again.
When will the first issue be published?
We have already started commissioning and we have invited colleagues to submit from a lot of different backgrounds. Recently, we got some submissions that came out of the blue, so it seems that the journal is being noticed, which is really good. We hope that the first issue will be released at the end of August 2022, with around 10 to 16 articles, which is a very good number.
In a year’s time, we are planning to get around 30 articles in total in each issue, before we start going to Scopus and PubMed and the other databases.
Is there anything else that you would like people to know about?
We promise to academics that the editorial board and myself will work hard to make this a success. There is a good team behind the journal; that it will make it flourish and become well known. This is our personal commitment.