John M Fitzpatrick Aw Transcript


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This is the transcript from the Author Workshop on 23rd June 2009 for John M Fitzpatrick. It explains how to get your paper published in BJUI and what Editors look out for in a good paper.

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John M Fitzpatrick Aw Transcript

  1. 1. ,Transcript – BJUI Podcast John Fitzpatrick Well, welcome everybody and this is a course, which is an author workshop. It says how to get your paper published in the BJUI and that‟s because we hope that that‟s the only place that you would ever consider sending your papers, but this will do for other journals as well by the way, so other ones that you may consider sending your papers to, but we hope that the results of all this would be for you to send your papers to us. Anyway as I said, you‟re very welcome. This is a course; it‟s not just a series of lectures and a course implies that there is information going two ways. So you will have information coming from this podium, but I want to get you fully involved in what I hope will be a truly interactive session. Let me introduce the speakers first of all. That‟s I‟m, me, Fitzpatrick and I‟m going to be just talking about a few bits and pieces before we actually -- just so that I can set the scene for you. Kilian Mellon will be the second speaker. He is the professor of Urology in Leicester and his remit will be about getting your manuscript prepared, also from the academic background and from the clinical background as well. We‟re all going to crisscross. Professor Roger Kirby is also from London is also going to talk about how to write an ethical paper because, believe me, as I will tell you, there are many transgressions of this, particularly in the present age and so that‟s going to be a very important part of it. Marcus Drake is consultant urologist in Southmead in Bristol and he is in-charge of our web site, he is the Associate Editor or one of the Associate Editors, but really adopting a major role in preparing the BJUI web site and he‟s going to give you some of his insights into that, but before that Hashim Hashim is going to talk about getting your subjects together and getting your paper started. He of course is an SpR and so it‟s important that he will speak with perhaps with your views in mind. So just if we can get started. Each of us is going to talk for a little while, but then what we‟re going to do is stop and I will go around with a microphone and later on Roger Kirby will as well. The issue about editing a journal means that you get a lot of papers and a lot of papers, thank goodness are sent in to us. At the moment we‟re getting about 10 papers a day sent to us. So this is a huge number and obviously if you get that, it means that the bar is being raised all the time and so you have to raise that bar even higher, in terms of rejecting and accepting papers. So our rejection rate at the moment is in the region of 80%. In the Investigational Urology section, at the end of the scientific papers at the end of the journal, there it is said that the rejection rate can be even higher up to about 95% in some of the cases. So these are pretty testing figures and I appreciate that they may seem to some to be a little intimidating, but actually they need not be because if your paper is of a high quality, then it has a very good chance obviously of being accepted. When a paper comes to me, and most of the papers like most journals now, are of an oncology bent, so they come and I then send it, I assign it to one or other of the Associate Editors or I may choose to pick the reviewers myself. We pick two reviewers; other journals pick seven. Seven reviewers to me are completely…. Well, I won‟t say ridiculous, but difficult because, of course, you‟re getting seven different views, which may be contradictory and so this can be very confusing for the person who is actually writing the paper. So, what happens is these two reviews come back and then I make the editorial decision as to whether the paper is accepted or rejected or sent back for further corrections or whatever we do with it. Now one of the things that I look at of course is the subject matter. So is it a good subject? Is it interesting? Is it something that‟s appeared before? I like to see papers that are innovative and absolutely of major interest and perhaps field breaking. So that‟s the first thing. So the paper comes in and we have a look at it there and we will be dealing with how you should present it. How can you get a topic? Well, the way you can get a topic is by discussing it with somebody else, preferably somebody with more experience than you. So let‟s say, suddenly you‟ve got an idea. Any of you went to Paul Lange‟s talk yesterday, you remember the word he used was „curiosity‟; so curiosity, I believe, is a fantastic starting point. Suddenly you say, “I guess, this is the subject I‟m interested in, you go to your boss and you say, what do you think about that? So that‟s the way to get your topic. Now of course, if you‟re doing laboratory research, it‟s even more important that you have an idea, your part of research drive, you go to talk to your boss in the laboratory and they‟re scientists, so they will have very high criteria and certainly will not allow any rather poor topic to go to the journal. The other thing too is that often what‟s a good idea is to start with a review paper. Now, as you
  2. 2. know, I don‟t accept review papers off the bat and indeed most journals don‟t, but you can write to the editor and say, this is a paper that I‟ve written, do you think it would be appropriate, would you send it for review etc. There are ways around that system. If it‟s a good enough review, then that‟s fine. It‟s very dangerous in this situation that plagiarism can sometimes step in and Roger is going to talk about that, but it‟s inadvertent plagiarism. See what you do is, you go to the paper and with the online and everything like that at the moment, It‟s terribly easy to do and you see a paragraph and you say, right I‟ll put that in but I‟ll change it later, but there it is and you forgot to, but now what you‟ve done is you got a paragraph of somebody else‟s paper. If you‟re guilty of plagiarism that is I‟m afraid, a serious flaw because you‟re not allowed to publish in any of the four major journals for a specific period of time, decided upon by the editors, dependent on how great the crime. So, you understand that if you‟re found out then that‟s not the way to do it. But that‟s the negative side, the positive side then is that you go to the instructions in the journal, and you find out what are these instructions, how can I actually prepare my paper. If you transgress these again, its less likely for the paper to be accepted and so unfortunately, what that means is that you wasted your time, you wasted everybody‟s time and you get a slightly bad name for it because then, when the next time you send in a paper, everybody says, oh my gosh! I know that this person will not be sticking to the rules. So you got to make sure that you do that and that‟s the way it‟s done. Now let me just say a couple of words here before I‟m going to ask, if anybody has any specific questions in just a second. One of the worst things that can happen to somebody is to get a paper rejected, but it actually happens regularly and I just want you to know that you may think that because I‟m Editor all of my papers are accepted. I‟ve had three papers, which I sent in to BJUI rejected straight off by the reviewers and I just sat back and I said, that’s life, that’s the way it is. I don’t mind, but I do my mind but I have to accept it. So you mind it and what it means is that the next time, you do even better. It‟s that, in other words, a reject is not a slap in the face saying go away and never bother me again. It means, come back and keep trying and really try and get things going. So, what I‟m going to do is I‟m just going to see at this stage, if anybody has any questions that they‟d like to ask and then we‟ll get onto the other speakers and we‟ll have plenty of time for asking questions. Now as I said, I‟m going to, in fact, go up to people and ask them to ask a question and I see my first questioner. Dinesh Panicker My name is Dinesh Panicker and I have a question about papers that get rejected and sometimes we don‟t know what to do with the paper and the idea of the paper then goes to some of the reviewers or the doctors and then they end up giving another paper which is similar on grounds with that. Is there any certain in-built mechanism to protect against that, I mean, sort of copying of idea by some reviewers. We have a paper that‟s been submitted to a journal and for some reason it‟s been rejected and we are not getting anywhere with the paper, but then the idea is out by us and we have certain reviewers who know the idea and somebody might be interested in that idea and they will end up in doing another paper with similar work and on a couple occasions I found that ideas that were once in the review paper have come in another papers. John Fitzpatrick Well, that of course is a very good question and I‟m not absolutely sure, how we could protect against that. Kilian, do you have any ideas as to how that could, I mean, it‟s unfortunate, it can happen and you‟re absolutely right.
  3. 3. Kilian Mellon I guess, it‟s very, very difficult to copy something which is completely novel, but you could well have something which is, you know, earth shattering but you know, whenever you have done a very large study and you‟re struggling to get the final manuscript ready for submission, you know, the most devastating thing to happen is to see it published in the BJU International a month before you‟ve had a chance to put it in the post or submit it online and you know, I think it‟s very difficult to have a novel idea and to be a world figure John Fitzpatrick So the question was and you know about ideas being stolen and particularly by reviewers, which we feel is a potential, but not real, in terms of, I don‟t think it would happen that often. The difficulties of course, as Kilian has said, in relation to generating, a new idea that‟s also very, very difficult, as I said. Joe Philip I‟m Professor Joe Philip from Leighton Hospital in Crewe, on the topic of rejection. Essentially a couple of questions, one never happened with BJU, but some journals have this habit of having Assistant Editors, sort of vet the papers and occasionally you get an e-mail saying, oh! It doesn’t meet the journal’s requirements. And sometimes really cheeses you off because it‟s taken a few months and you get no feedback, that‟s the first question. Do you think there should be a system whereby we should have an access to ask for an opinion at least of the paper? Secondly, the covering letter with regards to the, like you said, for review articles if you have a system where we write to you and ask and if you think it‟s suitable, you ask us to submit for reviews, that‟s what I was wondering, whether you know you could advise on that about these two scenarios. Thanks. John Fitzpatrick Thank you. Thanks very much indeed and I obviously recognize your name from sending us stuff in, so thanks very much. Yeah, I mean, they‟re good questions. Let me say about the first thing. I‟m afraid that every journal has to do that increasingly now. In relation to reviews, yeah, most journals will not actually have, you know, the editor will decide what the reviews are. For example, let me just tell you, that in the BJUI, you know we have this mini-review section. In fact, we‟re changing that partially now. We‟re going to continue with the mini reviews, but now we‟re going to have a dedicated review section, where we‟ll be following a, sort of a, syllabus and so this is being organized by Alan Partin who is one is Associate Editors and he‟s got a team of people also and we will be generating a whole thing, not only for prostate cancer for us, he‟s interested in, but absolutely everything. There will be one review every month which will be a full-length review, state-of-the-art, different colour pages, different colours, everything. So that‟s that, but as far as the mini-reviews are concerned, I would “drop me a line” and often it helps if you send in. I think, when somebody says, I’m thinking of preparing a paper on such and such, do you think well, what do I think? I mean, I think life is great, but you know, I‟m not going to write about it. So don‟t do that, but if you‟ve written the paper and it‟s a review and I think it‟s okay, yeah, that‟s the way to do it.