Do we have to understand every sentence?

A new editorial from Richard Smith, Editor-in-Chief of Cases Journal, explains the journal’s position on the thorny issue of standards of English in published case reports.

All articles in Journal of Medical Case Reports, Cases Journal’s more selective sister publication, are copyedited before they appear on the journal website. The journal also has a rigorous peer review process that ensures that the accepted articles are in the best possible shape. JMCR’s case reports are of broad interest across medicine and need to be unambiguously understood.

However, Cases Journal has a bias to publish, accepting case reports on any patient, provided that the case is authentic, ethical, includes all essential information, and is understandable. Dr Smith’s editorial elaborates to explain how a case report needs only to be 90% understandable to be accepted. Authors are encouraged to clarify any ambiguities by posting a comment on the published article.

Cases Journal aims to be inclusive. Having English as a second or third language shouldn’t be a barrier to publication. We ask authors to get their article into as good a shape as possible before peer review, but if the reviewer deems the case report to be understandable (and it meets our other criteria) it will be published.

We encourage you as readers to post a comment on any article that you think has ambiguities, or simply if you would like to know more – we hope that publication becomes the start of a dialogue between readers and authors.


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