Posts Tagged ‘Editorial Board’

Cases Network: The inside story – peer review 2

May 22, 2009

Following our look at the peer-review process for Cases Journal last week, now it’s time to see how it works in the Journal of Medical Case Reports (JMCR). Here you can find out exactly what is happening when a manuscript is under review.

When a manuscript is correctly formatted for JMCR, we will assign a suitable Associate Editor (AE) from our editorial board. Our AEs have a very important role in JMCR. We aim to invite an AE who specialises in the medical field relevant to the manuscript.  For JMCR we require two reviewer reports on a manuscript before a first decision is made. We ask the AE to suggest up to five appropriate peer-reviewers to assess each submission and they sometimes provide one of the two required reports themselves.

Reviewers are invited to complete a short online report. After logging in to our website reviewers confirm their ability to review and can download the manuscript. They are asked first to identify what the ‘type’ of case report is, for example, ‘unexpected or unusual presentations of a disease’ or ‘an unexpected event in the course of observing or treating a patient’. This helps us to check that each manuscript meets the criteria for JMCR.

There are then 10 quick yes/no questions (a few more than in Cases Journal) to answer:

Thinking1. Has the case been reported coherently?

2. Is the case report authentic?

3. Is the case report ethical?

4. Is there any missing information that you think must be added before publication?

5. Is this case worth reporting?

6. Is the case report persuasive?

7. Does the case report have explanatory value?

8. Does the case report have diagnostic value?

9. Will the case report make a difference to clinical practice?

10. Is the anonymity of the patient protected?

Reviewers can then provide additional comments for the authors. The reviewer is also asked to provide a statement declaring whether or not they have any competing interests.

After completing the review form and leaving any useful comments to the authors, the reviewer finally selects a recommendation for the next step:

1. Accept submission

2. Revisions required

3. Resubmit for review

4. Resubmit elsewhere

5. Decline submission

6. See comments

When two review reports have been completed for a manuscript, if any revisions are suggested by the peer-reviewers, their comments are sent to the corresponding author to allow them to submit a revised manuscript. Following this resubmission, the assigned AE is asked to make the first decision:

1. Accept

2. Send back to reviewers’ for re-review

3. Reject

Peer review decisions*Author tip* – Reviewers’ comments are very valuable to us when making editorial decisions. Be sure to address any issues they raise when revising a manuscript and explain any changes that you make, either using notes within your manuscript or in a separate cover letter.

Re-reviews, AE decisions and author revisions continue until the AE is either happy to accept the manuscript or unfortunately has to recommend that the manuscript is unsuitable for JMCR.

When an AE recommends accepting a manuscript, it is then forwarded to one of our five Deputy Editors (DE). We work very closely with the DEs and rely greatly on their contribution to the editorial process. The DE is responsible for providing a final decision: a) Accept and publish; b) Reject; c) Reject and transfer to Cases Journal; d) Major revisions; e) Minor revisions. With option (c), a manuscript can be transferred directly for publication in Cases Journal without the need for any further review.

Peer review decisions

*Author tip* – If your submitted manuscript is declined from JMCR, remember Cases Journal, where your case may be more appropriate for publication.

When this thorough review process is complete, manuscripts are passed on to a member of the editorial team for formatting and every manuscript is professionally copyedited.

Before being passed on to our production team, all manuscripts are viewed by the Editor-in-Chief, Professor Michael Kidd, to ensure that every publication in JMCR is over the best possible quality.

To find out about the final production stages before publication of manuscripts in Cases Journal and JMCR, keep watching our blog for the next in our ‘Inside Story’ series.

Cases network: The inside story

Lindsay Dytham and Richard Sear

Editorial Assistants – Cases Network


Cases Network: The inside story – peer review

May 14, 2009

Last time in our ‘Inside story’ blog series, we described what happens when you first submit your case report to our journals and the importance of formatting your manuscript correctly.

So what happens to your manuscript once the formatting is acceptable? This is the time when the peer-review process can begin. This process differs slightly for Cases Journal and Journal of Medical Case Reports, and this week we will concentrate on Cases Journal.

Each correctly formatted manuscript is sent to a member of our editorial board. We pair up the subject of the manuscript to the speciality of the ed board member and invite them to fill out a short online report. After logging into the website the reviewer will be asked to answer 6 simple questions about the manuscript:

1. Is the manuscript understandable?

2. Is it ethical?

3. Is there any information missing?

4. Could this be this first report of its kind?

5. Is it authentic?

6. Comments to authors:

green tick 2*Author Tip* – It is important to note that a manuscript doesn’t have to be the first of its kind in order to be published. Cases Journal will publish any report that is understandable, ethical, authentic, and includes all information essential to its interpretation.

After completing the review form and leaving any useful comments to the author and/or editor, we ask the reviewer to make a suggestion on the next step:

1. Accept submission

2. Revisions required

3. Resubmit for review

4. Decline submission

Once a manuscript is accepted it is passed on to a member of the editorial team for formatting, before being passed onto the production team…. but more about the world of production at a later date.

We’ll be posting again next week to give you the inside story on peer review for Journal of Medical Case Reports.

Christian Koch on publishing case reports and TV’s Dr House

May 1, 2009

We caught up with Professor Christian Koch, one of our Deputy Editors for Journal of Medical Case Reports, for a few insights on his work with the journal.

What would you say is the ‘best’ paper you have reviewed and why?

CK: I have handled many “good” papers, each unique in its own way. However, one of the very best ones I can remember was one that dealt with the question whether several tumors in an individual could represent a syndrome, although only a subset of “potential” candidate genes had been tested and was negative (J Med Case Reports. 2007 Mar 28;1:9).

This should remind us of the initial observations and publications of the combination of medullary thyroid cancer and pheochromocytoma in some patients (for instance, Sipple syndrome or Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2) many decades ago and the discovery of the RET proto-oncogene in 1985 and finally the implication of its role in MEN2 in 1993.

All this underscores that careful observation, a sharp mind, and sometimes an approach similar to the one of “Dr. House” (on TV) will not only help our individual patients but many others in the future.

Why do you feel it is important to publish case reports?

CK: We are in an era of “evidence-based medicine”. However, we finally begin to realize that much of the so-called evidence is derived from heterogeneous patient populations and not necessarily applicable to our individual patients we see on a daily basis. Numerous recent studies including ENHANCE, ACCORD, ADVANCE, and the VA Diabetes Outcome Trial, have shown us that heterogeneity of patients, equipment, investigators, etc. can limit our thrive for evidence on a large scale and make us think about personalized, individualized medicine…. that is, why publishing case reports is important in my mind.

Cases Network: The inside story

April 24, 2009
Cases Network: The Inside Story

Cases Network: The Inside Story

Here at Cases Network we feel it is about time that we revealed a little more about the editorial side of the submission process to Cases Journal and Journal of Medical Case Reports (JMCR). Over the next few weeks we will publish a blog series to give you an insight into the glitz, the glamour and the ins and outs of taking a manuscript from initial submission through to publication. There will be plenty of insider tips along the way to help you to become a successfully published author with Cases Network!

One of the unique aspects of Cases Network is just how quickly we aim to give authors our first decision on their manuscript; from just 3 weeks for Cases Journal and 6-8 weeks for JMCR. We are grateful to have dedicated and prestigious editorial boards who, together with ourselves the in-house editors, work very hard to quickly assign manuscripts to appropriate reviewers and give prompt and thorough feedback to our authors.

However, very occasionally things don’t run as smoothly and efficiently as we would like. One of the most common problems causing a delay to our first decision is the submission of manuscripts that are in the wrong format or with missing sections (*see our tip below*).

Our first step following submission of a manuscript is to check that it is suitable for the journal it is submitted to. We check that it fits our criteria and conforms to the journal style according to our specific guidelines, which means the inclusion of some critical sections such as ‘patient’s consent’ and a ‘declaration of competing interests’. These are explained in our Instructions for authors for Cases J and JMCR. If there are any problems, we simply ask authors to submit a revised version. Only when manuscripts are formatted correctly can we then begin the peer review process.

*Author tip* – check the format of your manuscript before submitting. Why not download our manuscript template for Cases J or JMCR as well?

Keep checking here for the next ‘Inside Story’ blog!

Lindsay and Richard

Editorial Assistants – Cases Network