|FROM THE EDITORíS DESK
|Year : 2021 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 3-4
Every story worth telling should be told
Sharmila Banerjee Mukherjee
Department of Pediatrics, Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, India
|Date of Submission||11-Oct-2020|
|Date of Decision||26-Nov-2020|
|Date of Acceptance||29-Nov-2020|
|Date of Web Publication||27-Feb-2021|
Dr. Sharmila Banerjee Mukherjee
Department of Pediatrics, Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Mukherjee SB. Every story worth telling should be told. Indian Pediatr Case Rep 2021;1:3-4
Do you remember the first time you authored a case report and got published in a reputed medical journal? Mine was in Indian Pediatrics when I was a senior resident. The diagnosis and management of the patient and motivation to get me to write up a case I had presented in an academic activity can be credited to the consultant under whom I was working. I went to the library and studied the format of case reports that had been published in earlier issues. This was the first step of my journey in scientific writing, getting the lay of the land. I wrote a series of drafts and my senior author corrected each one patiently. With each cycle of revision, I learned a different lesson; how to write in a logical sequence of paragraphs, how to use different typing and formatting options, such as designing tables and typing subscript/superscript fonts, and much more. I can still recall the sense of pride I felt when I saw my name in print for the first time and the “real time” congratulations of my peers. That started the ball rolling. Once I realized that getting an article published in a medical journal was not impossible, it triggered my desire to finally sit down and write my thesis paper. Needless to say, that was something my supervisor had been telling me to do for quite some time. Since then, I have published many more papers, but the joy and sense of achievement I felt then, 20 years ago, never diminishes.
When I was selected as the Editor of IPCaRes, I felt privileged but also overwhelmed. Although I had been working in Indian Pediatrics for several years, the prospect of being at the helm was daunting. Till now, I had been working semi-independently, safely cocooned by others with more experience. A senior colleague, himself a stalwart in the field of medical journalism, told me to view it as a challenge and that is what it has certainly been. Selection of like-minded colleagues sharing the same level of passion, commitment, and ownership to form a team was challenging. Those of you who have worked in this field know how much blood and sweat goes into the editorial process. I can draw a parallel to the way a craftsman polishes a crude diamond into a gem brilliant enough to be set in jewelry that the artisan will never wear. Academicians who are willing to invest their intellectual effort and writing skills in improving another person's work with the same amount of dedication that they use in their own are a rare breed, especially if you consider that they are neither paid nor does their labor get recognized immediately. However, the delayed gratification that does come ultimately on some meaningful academic platform is extremely rewarding and long lasting.
The next step was putting all the pieces together so that all the people involved would work in coordination, and within a strictly nonnegotiable time frame. Since we were still in the midst of negotiations with the publishing house, the contents of the first issue had to be ready to hand over to them, the moment the dotted line was signed. Hence, we went back to the dark ages and operated without editorial management software. From drafting our “Instructions to authors” and formatting multiple e-mails to fit the various steps of the editorial process, to this day of release, it has been a series of Herculean tasks.
In the beginning, we were naïve enough to be confident that we would be flooded with submissions. After all, we were an off-shoot of Indian Pediatrics, we were not charging any processing fee like most other journals publishing only case reports do. Obviously, authors would jump at the chance of getting themselves published, especially when it was almost impossible to get case reports published in medical journals in which the primary focus was research. Despite an editorial announcing the advent of our journal, and advertisements in Indian Pediatrics, we barely broke ground. The world was in the midst of the COVID pandemic. There was no postal delivery. An advertisement can catch a reader's eye while one is browsing through a journal, but hardly anyone voluntarily clicks on addendums in a soft copy. You can't flash reminders during breaks in virtual conferences the way you can during live events so that only left social media.
The first question that was promptly raised in a WhatsApp group was whether this was an indexed journal or not. I rather hesitantly replied that “indexing” would be applied for as soon as the first issue was released and that it usually took some time for that status to be conferred. I was also aghast to hear from a younger colleague that he had stopped writing case reports because he felt it did not help in promotion and was thus not worth the effort. I do not agree. In the end, it is better to get published than not be published at all. Even though case reports are low in the hierarchy of evidence, they can have a significant impact. If the authors of the case report of multiple sarcomas in homosexual males had not been published in the eighties, the discovery of HIV/AIDS might have occurred much later. Retrospectively, many of you might realize that some of your own personal research might have stemmed from some unusual case report that piqued your scientific curiosity. I know that mine has.
The Last but not the least issue, was the quality of the submissions that were sent to us. At the first glance, most of the initial drafts did not seem promising at all. Either the cases did not fit our eligibility criteria or did not follow the prescribed format. Even when the content was unique, the style of writing left a lot to be desired. The articles seemed to be the sole labor of junior and publication-naïve team members. After multiple pendular movements between authors and editorial team members that involved extensive comments and suggestions, hand-holding, and motivating senior authors to add their inputs, we bring to you the end product. The case reports/images published in this issue are about one-third of the total submissions.
The key themes of IPCaReS are academic (Case reports, Radiology rounds, Dr. Watson's clinical mystery, Neoquiz, Forensic files, News Excerpts, and IP Chronicles), humanities (Grin and bear it, Close encounters, Clinical crossword, and Book review), and social pediatrics (Children from the hinterlands). We will introduce “Letters to the Editor” in the next issue. It will be for reader's comments and critical appraisals of an issue's contents, as well as any suggestions that will help us improve the quality of the journal. In addition, the names and pictures of the first ten readers who send us the correct answers to the quiz and the crossword will be displayed on the journal's website. This will also include the “Instructions for authors” with will detail the procedure and format for submitting articles to IPCaRes.
Finally, we look forward to receiving many more well written unique case reports that have been framed according to our guidelines. The editorial team of IPCaRes firmly believes that every story worth telling should be told and that the medical world benefits from each narration.
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Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.