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1.  Honoring our helpers 
This special issue of the Journal of Radiology Case Reports honors the reviewers who donated their time and expertise throughout the year 2009 to the high quality and success of this journal.
doi:10.3941/jrcr.v4i1.404
PMCID: PMC3303340  PMID: 22470688
2.  Honoring our helpers 
This special issue of the Journal of Radiology Case Reports honors the reviewers who donated their time and expertise throughout the year 2011 to the high quality and success of this journal.
doi:10.3941/jrcr.v5i12.994
PMCID: PMC3303426
3.  Honoring our helpers 
This special issue of the Journal of Radiology Case Reports honors the reviewers who donated their time and expertise throughout the year 2012 to the high quality and success of this journal.
doi:10.3941/jrcr.v6i12.1504
PMCID: PMC3557126
4.  Honoring our helpers 
This special issue of the Journal of Radiology Case Reports honors the reviewers who donated their time and expertise throughout the year 2013 to the high quality and success of this journal.
doi:10.3941/jrcr.v8i1.2119
PMCID: PMC4037246  PMID: 24967015
5.  Honoring our helpers 
This special issue of the Journal of Radiology Case Reports honors the reviewers who donated their time and expertise to the high quality and success of this journal.
doi:10.3941/jrcr.v2i6.125
PMCID: PMC3303260  PMID: 22470609
6.  The Relationship of Previous Training and Experience of Journal Peer Reviewers to Subsequent Review Quality 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(1):e40.
Background
Peer review is considered crucial to the selection and publication of quality science, but very little is known about the previous experiences and training that might identify high-quality peer reviewers. The reviewer selection processes of most journals, and thus the qualifications of their reviewers, are ill defined. More objective selection of peer reviewers might improve the journal peer review process and thus the quality of published science.
Methods and Findings
306 experienced reviewers (71% of all those associated with a specialty journal) completed a survey of past training and experiences postulated to improve peer review skills. Reviewers performed 2,856 reviews of 1,484 separate manuscripts during a four-year study period, all prospectively rated on a standardized quality scale by editors. Multivariable analysis revealed that most variables, including academic rank, formal training in critical appraisal or statistics, or status as principal investigator of a grant, failed to predict performance of higher-quality reviews. The only significant predictors of quality were working in a university-operated hospital versus other teaching environment and relative youth (under ten years of experience after finishing training). Being on an editorial board and doing formal grant (study section) review were each predictors for only one of our two comparisons. However, the predictive power of all variables was weak.
Conclusions
Our study confirms that there are no easily identifiable types of formal training or experience that predict reviewer performance. Skill in scientific peer review may be as ill defined and hard to impart as is “common sense.” Without a better understanding of those skills, it seems unlikely journals and editors will be successful in systematically improving their selection of reviewers. This inability to predict performance makes it imperative that all but the smallest journals implement routine review ratings systems to routinely monitor the quality of their reviews (and thus the quality of the science they publish).
A survey of experienced reviewers, asked about training they had received in peer review, found there are no easily identifiable types of formal training and experience that predict reviewer performance.
Editors' Summary
Background.
When medical researchers have concluded their research and written it up, the next step is to get it published as an article in a journal, so that the findings can be circulated widely. These published findings help determine subsequent research and clinical use. The editors of reputable journals, including PLoS Medicine, have to decide whether the articles sent to them are of good quality and accurate and whether they will be of interest to the readers of their journal. To do this they need to obtain specialist advice, so they contact experts in the topic of the research article and ask them to write reports. This is the process of scientific peer review, and the experts who write such reports are known as “peer reviewers.” Although the editors make the final decision, the advice and criticism of these peer reviewers to the editors is essential in making decisions on publication, and usually in requiring authors to make changes to their manuscript. The contribution that peer reviewers have made to the article by the time it is finally published may, therefore, be quite considerable.
Although peer review is accepted as a key part of the process for the publishing of medical research, many people have argued that there are flaws in the system. For example, there may be an element of luck involved; one author might find their paper being reviewed by a reviewer who is biased against the approach they have adopted or who is a very critical person by nature, and another author may have the good fortune to have their work considered by someone who is much more favorably disposed toward their work. Some reviewers are more knowledgeable and thorough in their work than others. The editors of medical journals try to take in account such biases and quality factors in their choice of peer reviewers or when assessing the reviews. Some journals have run training courses for experts who review for them regularly to try to make the standard of peer review as high as possible.
Why Was This Study Done?
It is hard for journal editors to know who will make a good peer reviewer, and there is no proven system for choosing them. The authors of this study wanted to identify the previous experiences and training that make up the background of good peer reviewers and compare them with the quality of the reviews provided. This would help journal editors select good people for the task in future, and as a result will affect the quality of science they publish for readers, including other researchers.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The authors contacted all the regular reviewers from one specialist journal (Annals of Emergency Medicine). A total of 306 of these experienced reviewers (71% of all those associated with the journal) completed a survey of past training and experiences that might be expected to improve peer review skills. These reviewers had done 2,856 reviews of 1,484 separate manuscripts during a four-year study period, and during this time the quality of the reviews had been rated by the journal's editors. Surprisingly, most variables, including academic rank, formal training in critical appraisal or statistics, or status as principal investigator of a grant, failed to predict performance of higher-quality reviews. The only significant predictors of quality were working in a university-operated hospital versus other teaching environment and relative youth (under ten years of experience after finishing training), and even these were only weak predictors.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This study suggest that there are no easily identifiable types of formal training or experience that predict peer reviewer performance, although it is clear that some reviewers (and reviews) are better than others. The authors suggest that it is essential therefore that journals routinely monitor the quality of reviews submitted to them to ensure they are getting good advice (a practice that is not universal).
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040040
• WAME is an association of editors from many countries who seek to foster international cooperation among editors of peer-reviewed medical journals
• The Fifth International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication is one of a series of conferences on peer review
• The PLoS Medicine guidelines for reviewers outline what we look for in a review
• The Council of Science Editors promotes ethical scientific publishing practices
• An editorial also published in this issue of PLoS Medicine discusses the peer review process further
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040040
PMCID: PMC1796627  PMID: 17411314
7.  A guide to writing case reports for the Journal of Medical Case Reports and BioMed Central Research Notes 
Case reports are a time-honored, important, integral, and accepted part of the medical literature. Both the Journal of Medical Case Reports and the Case Report section of BioMed Central Research Notes are committed to case report publication, and each have different criteria. Journal of Medical Case Reports was the world’s first international, PubMed-listed medical journal devoted to publishing case reports from all clinical disciplines and was launched in 2007. The Case Report section of BioMed Central Research Notes was created and began publishing case reports in 2012. Between the two of them, thousands of peer-reviewed case reports have now been published with a worldwide audience. Authors now also have Cases Database, a continually updated, freely accessible database of thousands of medical case reports from multiple publishers. This informal editorial outlines the process and mechanics of how and when to write a case report, and provides a brief look into the editorial process behind each of these complementary journals along with the author’s anecdotes in the hope of inspiring all authors (both novice and experienced) to write and continue writing case reports of all specialties. Useful hyperlinks are embedded throughout for easy and quick reference to style guidelines for both journals.
doi:10.1186/1752-1947-7-239
PMCID: PMC3879062  PMID: 24283456
8.  Review of Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance 2012 
There were 90 articles published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (JCMR) in 2012, which is an 8% increase in the number of articles since 2011. The quality of the submissions continues to increase. The editors are delighted to report that the 2011 JCMR Impact Factor (which is published in June 2012) has risen to 4.44, up from 3.72 for 2010 (as published in June 2011), a 20% increase. The 2011 impact factor means that the JCMR papers that were published in 2009 and 2010 were cited on average 4.44 times in 2011. The impact factor undergoes natural variation according to citation rates of papers in the 2 years following publication, and is significantly influenced by highly cited papers such as official reports. However, the progress of the journal's impact over the last 5 years has been impressive. Our acceptance rate is approximately 25%, and has been falling as the number of articles being submitted has been increasing. In accordance with Open-Access publishing, the JCMR articles go on-line as they are accepted with no collating of the articles into sections or special thematic issues. For this reason, the Editors have felt that it is useful once per calendar year to summarize the papers for the readership into broad areas of interest or theme, so that areas of interest can be reviewed in a single article in relation to each other and other recent JCMR articles. The papers are presented in broad themes and set in context with related literature and previously published JCMR papers to guide continuity of thought in the journal. We hope that you find the open-access system increases wider reading and citation of your papers, and that you will continue to send your quality manuscripts to JCMR for publication.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-15-76
PMCID: PMC3847143  PMID: 24006874
9.  Review of Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance 2013 
There were 109 articles published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (JCMR) in 2013, which is a 21% increase on the 90 articles published in 2012. The quality of the submissions continues to increase. The editors are delighted to report that the 2012 JCMR Impact Factor (which is published in June 2013) has risen to 5.11, up from 4.44 for 2011 (as published in June 2012), a 15% increase and taking us through the 5 threshold for the first time. The 2012 impact factor means that the JCMR papers that were published in 2010 and 2011 were cited on average 5.11 times in 2012. The impact factor undergoes natural variation according to citation rates of papers in the 2 years following publication, and is significantly influenced by highly cited papers such as official reports. However, the progress of the journal's impact over the last 5 years has been impressive. Our acceptance rate is <25% and has been falling because the number of articles being submitted has been increasing. In accordance with Open-Access publishing, the JCMR articles go on-line as they are accepted with no collating of the articles into sections or special thematic issues. For this reason, the Editors have felt that it is useful once per calendar year to summarize the papers for the readership into broad areas of interest or theme, so that areas of interest can be reviewed in a single article in relation to each other and other recent JCMR articles. The papers are presented in broad themes and set in context with related literature and previously published JCMR papers to guide continuity of thought in the journal. We hope that you find the open-access system increases wider reading and citation of your papers, and that you will continue to send your quality manuscripts to JCMR for publication.
doi:10.1186/s12968-014-0100-2
PMCID: PMC4256918  PMID: 25475898
10.  Review of journal of cardiovascular magnetic resonance 2010 
There were 75 articles published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (JCMR) in 2010, which is a 34% increase in the number of articles since 2009. The quality of the submissions continues to increase, and the editors were delighted with the recent announcement of the JCMR Impact Factor of 4.33 which showed a 90% increase since last year. Our acceptance rate is approximately 30%, but has been falling as the number of articles being submitted has been increasing. In accordance with Open-Access publishing, the JCMR articles go on-line as they are accepted with no collating of the articles into sections or special thematic issues. Last year for the first time, the Editors summarized the papers for the readership into broad areas of interest or theme, which we felt would be useful to practitioners of cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) so that you could review areas of interest from the previous year in a single article in relation to each other and other recent JCMR articles [1]. This experiment proved very popular with a very high rate of downloading, and therefore we intend to continue this review annually. The papers are presented in themes and comparison is drawn with previously published JCMR papers to identify the continuity of thought and publication in the journal. We hope that you find the open-access system increases wider reading and citation of your papers, and that you will continue to send your quality manuscripts to JCMR for publication.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-13-48
PMCID: PMC3182946  PMID: 21914185
11.  Are Reports of Randomized Controlled Trials Improving over Time? A Systematic Review of 284 Articles Published in High-Impact General and Specialized Medical Journals 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e84779.
Background
Inadequate reporting undermines findings of randomized controlled trials (RCTs). This study assessed and compared articles published in high-impact general medical and specialized journals.
Methods
Reports of RCTs published in high-impact general and specialized medical journals were identified through a search of MEDLINE from January to March of 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2010. Articles that provided original data on adult patients diagnosed with chronic conditions were included in the study. Data on trial characteristics, reporting of allocation concealment, quality score, and the presence of a trial flow diagram were extracted independently by two reviewers, and discrepancies were resolved by consensus or independent adjudication. Descriptive statistics were used for quantitative variables. Comparisons between general medical and specialized journals, and trends over time were performed using Chi-square tests.
Results
Reports of 284 trials were analyzed. There was a significantly higher proportion of RCTs published with adequate reporting of allocation concealment (p = 0.003), presentation of a trial flow diagram (p<0.0001) and high quality scores (p = 0.038) over time. Trials published in general medical journals had higher quality scores than those in specialized journals (p = 0.001), reported adequate allocation concealment more often (p = 0.013), and presented a trial flow diagram more often (p<0.001).
Interpretation
We found significant improvements in reporting quality of RCTs published in high-impact factor journals over the last fifteen years. These improvements are likely attributed to concerted international efforts to improve reporting quality such as CONSORT. There is still much room for improvement, especially among specialized journals.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084779
PMCID: PMC3877340  PMID: 24391973
12.  Review of Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance 2011 
There were 83 articles published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (JCMR) in 2011, which is an 11% increase in the number of articles since 2010. The quality of the submissions continues to increase. The editors had been delighted with the 2010 JCMR Impact Factor of 4.33, although this fell modestly to 3.72 for 2011. The impact factor undergoes natural variation according to citation rates of papers in the 2 years following publication, and is significantly influenced by highly cited papers such as official reports. However, we remain very pleased with the progress of the journal's impact over the last 5 years. Our acceptance rate is approximately 25%, and has been falling as the number of articles being submitted has been increasing. In accordance with Open-Access publishing, the JCMR articles go on-line as they are accepted with no collating of the articles into sections or special thematic issues. For this reason, the Editors feel it is useful to summarize the papers for the readership into broad areas of interest or theme, which we feel would be useful, so that areas of interest from the previous year can be reviewed in a single article in relation to each other and other recent JCMR articles [1]. The papers are presented in broad themes and set in context with related literature and previously published JCMR papers to guide continuity of thought in the journal. We hope that you find the open-access system increases wider reading and citation of your papers, and that you will continue to send your quality manuscripts to JCMR for publication.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-14-78
PMCID: PMC3519784  PMID: 23158097
13.  Perceived Role of the Journal Clubs in Teaching Critical Appraisal Skills: A Survey of Surgical Trainees in Nigeria 
Background:
Critical appraisal skills allow surgeons to evaluate the literature in an objective and structured manner, with emphasis on the validity of the evidence. The development of skills in critical acquisition and appraisal of the literature is crucial to delivering quality surgical care. It is also widely accepted that journal clubs are a time-honored educational paradigm for teaching and development of critical appraisal skills. The aim of this study is to determine the perceived role of journal clubs in teaching critical appraisal skills amongst the surgical trainees in Nigeria.
Materials and Methods:
The West African College of Surgeons and the National Postgraduate College of Nigeria have mandated that all residency programs teach and assess the ability to develop critical appraisal skills when reviewing the scientific literature. Residents at the revision course of the West African College of Surgeons in September 2012 evaluated the role of journal clubs in teaching critical appraisal skills using a 17-item questionnaire. The questionnaire addressed four areas: Format, teaching and development of critical appraisal s kills, and evaluation.
Results:
Most of the journal clubs meet weekly [39 (59%)] or monthly [25 (38%)]. Thirty-nine residents (59%) perceived the teaching model employed in the development of critical appraisal skills in their institutions was best characterized by “iscussion/summary by consultants” and “emphasis on formal suggestion for improvement in research.” Rating the importance of development of critical appraisal skills to the objectives of the residency program and practice of evidence-based medicine, majority of the residents [65 (98%)] felt it was “very important.” The commonest form of feedback was verbal from the consultants and residents [50 (76%)].
Conclusion:
The perceived importance of journal clubs to the development of critical appraisal skills was rated as very important by the residents. However, residents indicated a need for a formal evaluation of the journal clubs. It is our hope that the results of this survey will encourage postgraduate coordinators to evaluate the quality of their journal clubs in the development of skills in critical appraisal of the literature.
doi:10.4103/1117-6806.137292
PMCID: PMC4141447  PMID: 25191095
Critical appraisal skills; evaluation; journal club; literature; research; surgical trainees
14.  Reviewing Manuscripts for Biomedical Journals 
The Permanente journal  2010;14(1):32-40.
Writing for publication is a complex task. For many professionals, producing a well-executed manuscript conveying one's research, ideas, or educational wisdom is challenging. Authors have varying emotions related to the process of writing for scientific publication. Although not studied, a relationship between an author's enjoyment of the writing process and the product's outcome is highly likely. As with any skill, practice generally results in improvements. Literature focused on preparing manuscripts for publication and the art of reviewing submissions exists. Most journals guard their reviewers' anonymity with respect to the manuscript review process. This is meant to protect them from direct or indirect author demands, which may occur during the review process or in the future. It is generally accepted that author identities are masked in the peer-review process. However, the concept of anonymity for reviewers has been debated recently; many editors consider it problematic that reviewers are not held accountable to the public for their decisions. The review process is often arduous and underappreciated, one reason why biomedical journals acknowledge editors and frequently recognize reviewers who donate their time and expertise in the name of science. This article describes essential elements of a submitted manuscript, with the hopes of improving scientific writing. It also discusses the review process within the biomedical literature, the importance of reviewers to the scientific process, responsibilities of reviewers, and qualities of a good review and reviewer. In addition, it includes useful insights to individuals who read and interpret the medical literature.
PMCID: PMC2912703  PMID: 20740129
15.  Factors Affecting Journal Quality Indicator in Scopus (SCImago Journal Rank) in Obstetrics and Gynecology Journals: a Longitudinal Study (1999-2013) 
Acta Informatica Medica  2014;22(6):385-388.
Introduction:
Awareness of the latest scientific research and publishing articles in top journals is one of the major concerns of health researchers. In this study, we first introduced top journals of obstetrics and gynecology field based on their Impact Factor (IF), Eigenfactor Score (ES) and SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) indicator indexed in Scopus databases and then the scientometric features of longitudinal changes of SJR in this field were presented.
Method and material:
In our analytical and bibiliometric study, we included all the journals of obstetrics and gynecology field which were indexed by Scopus from 1999 to 2013. The scientometric features in Scopus were derived from SCImago Institute and IF and ES were obtained from Journal Citation Report through the Institute for Scientific Information. Generalized Estimating Equation was used to assess the scientometric features affecting SJR.
Result:
From 256 journals reviewed, 54.2% and 41.8% were indexed in the Pubmed and the Web of Sciences, respectively. Human Reproduction Update based on the IF (5.924±2.542) and SJR (2.682±1.185), and American Journal of obstetrics and gynecology based on the ES (0.05685±0.00633) obtained the first rank among the other journals. Time, Index in Pubmed, H_index, Citable per Document, Cites per Document, and IF affected changes of SJR in the period of study.
Discussion:
Our study showed a significant association between SJR and scientometric features in obstetrics and gynecology journals. According to this relationship, SJR may be an appropriate index for assessing journal quality.
doi:10.5455/aim.2014.22.385-388
PMCID: PMC4315645
Journal quality; obstetrics and gynecology; Impact Factor; Eigenfactor Score; SCImago Journal Rank
16.  A new generation of journals is born 
The 21st century has provided new technical and educational opportunities as well as challenges which have not been approached and exploited sufficiently by traditional scientific journals. Furthermore, case reports are usually “neglected” by traditional journals for a variety of reasons, including limited space in the hardcopy version of the journal issue and priority over original research and review articles. The Journal of Radiology Case Reports is a new generation of journals, which is dedicated to provide open-access, high-quality, peer-reviewed and interactive Radiology case reports.
doi:10.3941/jrcr.v2i1.26
PMCID: PMC3303230  PMID: 22470580
17.  Place and Cause of Death in Centenarians: A Population-Based Observational Study in England, 2001 to 2010 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(6):e1001653.
Catherine J. Evans and colleagues studied how many and where centenarians in England die, their causes of death, and how these measures have changed from 2001 to 2010.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Centenarians are a rapidly growing demographic group worldwide, yet their health and social care needs are seldom considered. This study aims to examine trends in place of death and associations for centenarians in England over 10 years to consider policy implications of extreme longevity.
Methods and Findings
This is a population-based observational study using death registration data linked with area-level indices of multiple deprivations for people aged ≥100 years who died 2001 to 2010 in England, compared with those dying at ages 80-99. We used linear regression to examine the time trends in number of deaths and place of death, and Poisson regression to evaluate factors associated with centenarians’ place of death. The cohort totalled 35,867 people with a median age at death of 101 years (range: 100–115 years). Centenarian deaths increased 56% (95% CI 53.8%–57.4%) in 10 years. Most died in a care home with (26.7%, 95% CI 26.3%–27.2%) or without nursing (34.5%, 95% CI 34.0%–35.0%) or in hospital (27.2%, 95% CI 26.7%–27.6%). The proportion of deaths in nursing homes decreased over 10 years (−0.36% annually, 95% CI −0.63% to −0.09%, p = 0.014), while hospital deaths changed little (0.25% annually, 95% CI −0.06% to 0.57%, p = 0.09). Dying with frailty was common with “old age” stated in 75.6% of death certifications. Centenarians were more likely to die of pneumonia (e.g., 17.7% [95% CI 17.3%–18.1%] versus 6.0% [5.9%–6.0%] for those aged 80–84 years) and old age/frailty (28.1% [27.6%–28.5%] versus 0.9% [0.9%–0.9%] for those aged 80–84 years) and less likely to die of cancer (4.4% [4.2%–4.6%] versus 24.5% [24.6%–25.4%] for those aged 80–84 years) and ischemic heart disease (8.6% [8.3%–8.9%] versus 19.0% [18.9%–19.0%] for those aged 80–84 years) than were younger elderly patients. More care home beds available per 1,000 population were associated with fewer deaths in hospital (PR 0.98, 95% CI 0.98–0.99, p<0.001).
Conclusions
Centenarians are more likely to have causes of death certified as pneumonia and frailty and less likely to have causes of death of cancer or ischemic heart disease, compared with younger elderly patients. To reduce reliance on hospital care at the end of life requires recognition of centenarians’ increased likelihood to “acute” decline, notably from pneumonia, and wider provision of anticipatory care to enable people to remain in their usual residence, and increasing care home bed capacity.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors’ Summary
Background
People who live to be more than 100 years old—centenarians—are congratulated and honored in many countries. In the UK, for example, the Queen sends a personal greeting to individuals on their 100th birthday. The number of UK residents who reach this notable milestone is increasing steadily, roughly doubling every 10 years. The latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures indicate that 13,350 centenarians were living in the UK in 2012 (20 centenarians per 100,000 people in the population) compared to only 7,740 in 2002. If current trends continue, by 2066 there may be more than half a million centenarians living in the UK. And similar increases in the numbers of centenarians are being seen in many other countries. The exact number of centenarians living worldwide is uncertain but is thought to be around 317,000 and is projected to rise to about 18 million by the end of this century.
Why Was This Study Done?
Traditional blessings often include the wish that the blessing’s recipient lives to be at least 100 years old. However, extreme longevity is associated with increasing frailty—declining physical function, increasing disability, and increasing vulnerability to a poor clinical outcome following, for example, an infection. Consequently, many centenarians require 24-hour per day care in a nursing home or a residential care home. Moreover, although elderly people, including centenarians, generally prefer to die in a home environment rather than a clinical environment, many centenarians end up dying in a hospital. To ensure that centenarians get their preferred end-of-life care, policy makers and clinicians need to know as much as possible about the health and social needs of this specific and unique group of elderly people. In this population-based observational study, the researchers examine trends in the place of death and factors associated with the place of death among centenarians in England over a 10-year period.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers extracted information about the place and cause of death of centenarians in England between 2001 and 2010 from the ONS death registration database, linked these data with area level information on deprivation and care-home bed capacity, and analyzed the data statistically. Over the 10-year study period, 35,867 centenarians (mainly women, average age 101 years) died in England. The annual number of centenarian deaths increased from 2,823 in 2001 to 4,393 in 2010. Overall, three-quarters of centenarian death certificates stated “old age” as the cause of death. About a quarter of centenarians died in the hospital, a quarter died in a nursing home, and a third died in a care home without nursing; only one in ten centenarians died at home. The proportion of deaths in a nursing home increased slightly over the study period but there was little change in the number of hospital deaths. Compared with younger age groups (80–84 year olds), centenarians were more likely to die from pneumonia and “old age” and less likely to die from cancer and heart disease. Among centenarians, dying in the hospital was more likely to be reported to be associated with pneumonia or heart disease than with dementia; death in the hospital was also associated with having four or more contributing causes of death and with living in a deprived area. Finally, living in an area with a higher care-home bed capacity was associated with a lower risk of dying in the hospital.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that many centenarians have outlived death from the chronic diseases that are the common causes of death among younger groups of elderly people and that dying in the hospital is often associated with pneumonia. Overall, these findings suggest that centenarians are a group of people living with a risk of death from increasing frailty that is exacerbated by acute lung infection. The accuracy of these findings is likely to be affected by the quality of UK death certification data. Although this is generally high, the strength of some of the reported associations may be affected, for example, by the tendency of clinicians to record the cause of death in the very elderly as “old age” to provide some comfort to surviving relatives. Importantly, however, these findings suggest that care-home capacity and the provision of anticipatory care should be increased in England (and possibly in other countries) to ensure that more of the growing number of centenarians can end their long lives outside hospital.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001653.
The US National Institute on Aging provides information about healthy aging, including information on longevity (in English and Spanish)
The National End of Life Care Intelligence Network, England is a government organization that gathers data on care provided to adults approaching the end of life to improve service quality and productivity
The Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance promotes universal access to affordable palliative care through the support of regional and national palliative care organizations
The non-for-profit organization AgeUK provides information about all aspects of aging
Wikipedia has a page on centenarians (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
The International Longevity Centre-UK is an independent, non-partisan think tank dedicated to addressing issues of longevity, ageing and population; its “Living Beyond 100” report examines the research base on centenarians and calls for policy to reflect the ongoing UK increase in extreme longevity
This study is part of GUIDE_Care, a project initiated by the Cicely Saunders Institute to investigate patterns in place of death and the factors that affect these patterns
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001653
PMCID: PMC4043499  PMID: 24892645
18.  ARE HONORS RECEIVED DURING SURGERY CLERKSHIPS USEFUL IN THE SELECTION OF INCOMING ORTHOPAEDIC RESIDENTS? 
The purpose of this study was to review institutional statistics provided in dean's letters and determine the percentage of honors awarded by institution and clerkship specialty.
Institutional and clerkship aggregate data were compiled from a review of dean's letters from 80 United States medical schools. The percentage of honors awarded during 3rd year clerkships during 2005 were collected for analysis. Across clerkship specialties, there were no statistically significant differences between the mean percentage of honors given by the medical schools examined with Internal Medicine (27.6%) the low and Psychiatry (33.5%) the high. However, inter-institutional variability observed within each clerkship was high, with surgery clerkship percentage of honors ranging from 2% to 75% of the students. This suggests some schools may be more lenient and other more stringent in awarding honors to their students. This inter-institutional variability makes it difficult to compare honors received by students from different medical schools and weakens the receipt of honors as a primary tool for evaluating potential incoming residents.
PMCID: PMC2723699  PMID: 19742092
19.  Conflict of Interest Reporting by Authors Involved in Promotion of Off-Label Drug Use: An Analysis of Journal Disclosures 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(8):e1001280.
Aaron Kesselheim and colleagues investigate conflict of interest disclosures in articles authored by physicians and scientists identified in whistleblower complaints alleging illegal off-label marketing by pharmaceutical companies.
Background
Litigation documents reveal that pharmaceutical companies have paid physicians to promote off-label uses of their products through a number of different avenues. It is unknown whether physicians and scientists who have such conflicts of interest adequately disclose such relationships in the scientific publications they author.
Methods and Findings
We collected whistleblower complaints alleging illegal off-label marketing from the US Department of Justice and other publicly available sources (date range: 1996–2010). We identified physicians and scientists described in the complaints as having financial relationships with defendant manufacturers, then searched Medline for articles they authored in the subsequent three years. We assessed disclosures made in articles related to the off-label use in question, determined the frequency of adequate disclosure statements, and analyzed characteristics of the authors (specialty, author position) and articles (type, connection to off-label use, journal impact factor, citation count/year). We identified 39 conflicted individuals in whistleblower complaints. They published 404 articles related to the drugs at issue in the whistleblower complaints, only 62 (15%) of which contained an adequate disclosure statement. Most articles had no disclosure (43%) or did not mention the pharmaceutical company (40%). Adequate disclosure rates varied significantly by article type, with commentaries less likely to have adequate disclosure compared to articles reporting original studies or trials (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 0.10, 95%CI = 0.02–0.67, p = 0.02). Over half of the authors (22/39, 56%) made no adequate disclosures in their articles. However, four of six authors with ≥25 articles disclosed in about one-third of articles (range: 10/36–8/25 [28%–32%]).
Conclusions
One in seven authors identified in whistleblower complaints as involved in off-label marketing activities adequately disclosed their conflict of interest in subsequent journal publications. This is a much lower rate of adequate disclosure than has been identified in previous studies. The non-disclosure patterns suggest shortcomings with authors and the rigor of journal practices.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editor's Summary
Background
Off-label use of pharmaceuticals is the practice of prescribing a drug for a condition or age group, or in a dose or form of administration, that has not been specifically approved by a formal regulatory body, such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Off-label prescribing is common all over the world. In the US, although it is legal for doctors to prescribe drugs off-label and discuss such clinical uses with colleagues, it is illegal for pharmaceutical companies to directly promote off-label uses of any of their products. Revenue from off-label uses can be lucrative for drug companies and even surpass the income from approved uses. Therefore, many pharmaceutical companies have paid physicians and scientists to promote off-label use of their products as part of their marketing programs.
Why Was This Study Done?
Recently, a number of pharmaceutical companies have been investigated in the US for illegal marketing programs that promote off-label uses of their products and have had to pay billions of dollars in court settlements. As part of these investigations, doctors and scientists were identified who were paid by the companies to deliver lectures and conduct other activities to support off-label uses. When the same physicians and scientists also wrote articles about these drugs for medical journals, their financial relationships would have constituted clear conflicts of interest that should have been declared alongside the journal articles. So, in this study, the researchers identified such authors, examined their publications, and assessed the adequacy of conflict of interest disclosures made in these publications.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used disclosed information from the US Department of Justice, media reports, and data from a non-governmental organization that tracks federal fraud actions, to find whistleblower complaints alleging illegal off-label promotion. Then they identified the doctors and scientists described in the complaints as having financial relationships with the defendant drug companies and searched Medline for articles authored by these experts in the subsequent three years. Using a four step approach, the researchers assessed the adequacy of conflict of interest disclosures made in articles relating to the off-label uses in question.
Using these methods, the researchers examined 26 complaints alleging illegal off-label promotion and identified the 91 doctors and scientists recorded as being involved in this practice. The researchers found 39 (43%) of these 91 experts had authored 404 related publications. In the complaints, these 39 experts were alleged to have engaged in 42 relationships with the relevant drug company: the most common activity was acting as a paid speaker (n = 26, 62%) but also writing reviews or articles on behalf of the company (n = 7), acting as consultants or advisory board members (n = 3), and receiving gifts/honoraria (n = 3), research support funds (n = 2), and educational support funds (n = 1). However, the researchers found that only 62 (15%) of the 404 related articles had adequate disclosures—43% (148) had no disclosure at all, 4% had statements denying any conflicts of interest, 40% had disclosures that did not mention the drug manufacturer, and 13% had disclosures that mentioned the manufacturer but inadequately conveyed the nature of the relationship between author and drug manufacturer reported in the complaint. The researchers also found that adequate disclosure rates varied significantly by article type, with commentaries significantly less likely to have adequate disclosure compared to articles reporting studies or trials.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show the substantial deficiencies in the adequacy of conflict-of-interest disclosures made by authors who had been paid by pharmaceutical manufacturers as part of off-label marketing activities: only one in seven authors fully disclosed their conflict of interest in their published articles. This low figure is troubling and suggests that approaches to controlling the effects of conflicts of interest that rely on author candidness are inadequate and furthermore, journal practices are not robust enough and need to be improved. In the meantime, readers have no option but to interpret conflict of interest disclosures, particularly in relation to off-label uses, with caution.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001280.
The US FDA provides a guide on the use of off-label drugs
The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality offers a patient guide to off-label drugs
ProPublica offers a web-based tool to identify physicians who have financial relationships with certain pharmaceutical companies
Wikipedia has a good description of off-label drug use (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
The Institute for Medicine as a Profession maintains a list of policies regulating physicians' financial relationships that are in place at US-based academic medical centers
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001280
PMCID: PMC3413710  PMID: 22899894
20.  Assessment of adherence to the CONSORT statement for quality of reports on randomized controlled trial abstracts from four high-impact general medical journals 
Trials  2012;13:77.
Background
The extended Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) Statement for Abstracts was developed to improve the quality of reports of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) because readers often base their assessment of a trial solely on the abstract. To date, few data exist regarding whether it has achieved this goal. We evaluated the extent of adherence to the CONSORT for Abstract statement for quality of reports on RCT abstracts by four high-impact general medical journals.
Methods
A descriptive analysis of published RCT abstracts in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), The Lancet, The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), and the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in the year 2010 was conducted by two reviewers, independently extracting data from a MEDLINE/PubMed search.
Results
We identified 271 potential RCT abstracts meeting our inclusion criteria. More than half of the abstracts identified the study as randomized in the title (58.7%; 159/271), reported the specific objective/hypothesis (72.7%; 197/271), described participant eligibility criteria with settings for data collection (60.9%; 165/271), detailed the interventions for both groups (90.8%; 246/271), and clearly defined the primary outcome (94.8%; 257/271). However, the methodological quality domains were inadequately reported: allocation concealment (11.8%; 32/271) and details of blinding (21.0%; 57/271). Reporting the primary outcome results for each group was done in 84.1% (228/271). Almost all of the abstracts reported trial registration (99.3%; 269/271), whereas reports of funding and of harm or side effects from the interventions were found in only 47.6% (129/271) and 42.8% (116/271) of the abstracts, respectively.
Conclusions
These findings show inconsistencies and non-adherence to the CONSORT for abstract guidelines, especially in the methodological quality domains. Improvements in the quality of RCT reports can be expected by adhering to existing standards and guidelines as expressed by the CONSORT group.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-13-77
PMCID: PMC3469340  PMID: 22676267
Randomized controlled trials; CONSORT for abstracts; Quality of reports; General medical journals
21.  Review of Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance 2009 
There were 56 articles published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance in 2009. The editors were impressed with the high quality of the submissions, of which our acceptance rate was about 40%. In accordance with open-access publishing, the articles go on-line as they are accepted with no collating of the articles into sections or special thematic issues. We have therefore chosen to briefly summarise the papers in this article for quick reference for our readers in broad areas of interest, which we feel will be useful to practitioners of cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR). In some cases where it is considered useful, the articles are also put into the wider context with a short narrative and recent CMR references. It has been a privilege to serve as the Editor of the JCMR this past year. I hope that you find the open-access system increases wider reading and citation of your papers, and that you will continue to send your quality manuscripts to JCMR for publication.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-12-15
PMCID: PMC2847562  PMID: 20302618
22.  Thank you to Virology Journal's peer reviewers in 2013 
Virology Journal  2014;11:4.
The editors of Virology Journal would like to thank all our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 10 (2013). The success of any scientific journal depends on an effective and strict peer review process and Virology Journal could not operate without your contribution. We are grateful to the large number of reviewers (1026 to be exact!), who have done a great job in not only lifting the quality of the journal’s scientific peer reviewing process, but also helped us to achieve our goal of a median time to first decision of just 35 days.
Our record time from submission to online, open access, publication in 2013 was 22 days for a Research Article [1] and 28 days for a Review [2]. This is a great achievement by any standard. We look forward to your continuous support of Virology Journal either as an invited reviewer or a contributing author in the years to come.
doi:10.1186/1743-422X-11-4
PMCID: PMC3898089
23.  Randomized trials published in some Chinese journals: how many are randomized? 
Trials  2009;10:46.
Background
The approximately 1100 medical journals now active in China are publishing a rapidly increasing number of research reports, including many studies identified by their authors as randomized controlled trials. It has been noticed that these reports mostly present positive results, and their quality and authenticity have consequently been called into question. We investigated the adequacy of randomization of clinical trials published in recent years in China to determine how many of them met acceptable standards for allocating participants to treatment groups.
Methods
The China National Knowledge Infrastructure electronic database was searched for reports of randomized controlled trials on 20 common diseases published from January 1994 to June 2005. From this sample, a subset of trials that appeared to have used randomization methods was selected. Twenty-one investigators trained in the relevant knowledge, communication skills and quality control issues interviewed the original authors of these trials about the participant randomization methods and related quality-control features of their trials.
Results
From an initial sample of 37,313 articles identified in the China National Knowledge Infrastructure database, we found 3137 apparent randomized controlled trials. Of these, 1452 were studies of conventional medicine (published in 411 journals) and 1685 were studies of traditional Chinese medicine (published in 352 journals). Interviews with the authors of 2235 of these reports revealed that only 207 studies adhered to accepted methodology for randomization and could on those grounds be deemed authentic randomized controlled trials (6.8%, 95% confidence interval 5.9–7.7). There was no statistically significant difference in the rate of authenticity between randomized controlled trials of traditional interventions and those of conventional interventions. Randomized controlled trials conducted at hospitals affiliated to medical universities were more likely to be authentic than trials conducted at level 3 and level 2 hospitals (relative risk 1.58, 95% confidence interval 1.18–2.13, and relative risk 14.42, 95% confidence interval 9.40–22.10, respectively). The likelihood of authenticity was higher in level 3 hospitals than in level 2 hospitals (relative risk 9.32, 95% confidence interval 5.83–14.89). All randomized controlled trials of pre-market drug clinical trial were authentic by our criteria. Of the trials conducted at university-affiliated hospitals, 56.3% were authentic (95% confidence interval 32.0–81.0).
Conclusion
Most reports of randomized controlled trials published in some Chinese journals lacked an adequate description of randomization. Similarly, most so called 'randomized controlled trials' were not real randomized controlled trials owing toa lack of adequate understanding on the part of the authors of rigorous clinical trial design. All randomized controlled trials of pre-market drug clinical trial included in this research were authentic. Randomized controlled trials conducted by authors in high level hospitals, especially in hospitals affiliated to medical universities had a higher rate of authenticity. That so many non-randomized controlled trials were published as randomized controlled trials reflected the fact that peer review needs to be improved and a good practice guide for peer review including how to identify the authenticity of the study urgently needs to be developed.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-10-46
PMCID: PMC2716312  PMID: 19573242
24.  Effects of Print Publication Lag in Dual Format Journals on Scientometric Indicators 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e59877.
Background
Publication lag between manuscript submission and its final publication is considered as an important factor affecting the decision to submit, the timeliness of presented data, and the scientometric measures of the particular journal. Dual-format peer-reviewed journals (publishing both print and online editions of their content) adopted a broadly accepted strategy to shorten the publication lag: to publish the accepted manuscripts online ahead of their print editions, which may follow days, but also years later. Effects of this widespread habit on the immediacy index (average number of times an article is cited in the year it is published) calculation were never analyzed.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Scopus database (which contains nearly up-to-date documents in press, but does not reveal citations by these documents until they are finalized) was searched for the journals with the highest total counts of articles in press, or highest counts of articles in press appearing online in 2010–2011. Number of citations received by the articles in press available online was found to be nearly equal to citations received within the year when the document was assigned to a journal issue. Thus, online publication of in press articles affects severely the calculation of immediacy index of their source titles, and disadvantages online-only and print-only journals when evaluating them according to the immediacy index and probably also according to the impact factor and similar measures.
Conclusions/Significance
Caution should be taken when evaluating dual-format journals supporting long publication lag. Further research should answer the question, on whether the immediacy index should be replaced by an indicator based on the date of first publication (online or in print, whichever comes first) to eliminate the problems analyzed in this report. Information value of immediacy index is further questioned by very high ratio of authors’ self-citations among the citation window used for its calculation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059877
PMCID: PMC3616011  PMID: 23573216
25.  What's so special about Osler? 
Sir William Osler was an outstanding figure in American and British Medicine during the early years of this century. Over fifty years after his death, his name is still remembered and honored, whereas other leaders who were equally important in the eyes of their contemporaries have been relegated to the realm of history. This brief review attempts to discover what special qualities have kept Osler's memory vivid. No single characteristic of his skill, science, or personality seems in itself to explain his continuing reputation. Rather, a combination of his eminence in several different medical schools, his presence at a time of revolution in medical teaching and thought, his authorship of one of the most successful medical textbooks, and an enthusiastic claque of ex-students and colleagues seem to have combined to maintain his memory as a leader of medicine.
PMCID: PMC2595874  PMID: 6996343

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