About 25 years ago I received a phone call from a member of the BCMA Board of Directors asking if I would be interested in becoming a member of the BCMJ Editorial Board. My initial thought at the time was to graciously decline as my three hyperactive, time-eating kids and a harried “what do you mean, you’re on call this weekend again” wife were about all the extra-to-the-office commitments my 251/2 hour day would allow.
I replied, “Well, I don’t think so,” but promised to think about it over the weekend. Strangely, I did think about it—a lot—and the prospect of doing some critical scientific reading coupled with an ability to rant on paper started to gain traction. When I mentioned all this to my wife, the only response was a heavenward glance and some mumbled words that sounded something like, “I don’t freaking believe it.”
At the time of the call I was about 10 years into practice and was starting to feel pretty stagnant. I was not reading much, not feeling like much of a medical scientist as most of my medical information at that point was coming from drug detail people, collegial conversations in the OR change room, and an occasional weekend conference.
On Monday morning, throwing caution to the wind, I called and asked about the next meeting. That decision turned out to be one of the three good ones I’ve made (the first being my decision to marry my high school sweetheart and the third, my recent decision to re-mortgage the ranch and buy the new square-head, FTi Callaway driver).
On reflection, my experiences over the past 27 years as a member of the BCMJ Editorial Board (the last 16 as the editor) have been almost universally satisfying and gratifying for me, both professionally and personally. Having this other professional persona has forced me not only to read a lot but to read critically.
It has made me think about the pertinence of scientific publication, the role of print media, the hierarchy of evidence, the definition of evidence (if there is any), and what scholarly readers want to read in addition to their ongoing professional maintenance reading needs.
In addition, the professional and social interactive times with the editorial staff and the members of the Editorial Board are by far the most important parts of the decision to keep doing this job many years more than I had ever intended. To have been asked to be part of the ongoing story of this important part of BC’s medical history has been a great honor for me personally.
However, I’ve often wondered (quietly to myself in a very dark room) why no one has ever suggested that I should quit. I’ve also wondered if I may have stayed a tad too long, and although I will miss the action and the people at the BCMJ, I’m making the call before someone else does. It’s time to go.
I think all this was nicely crystallized for me when I recently received a Gold Card from MSP and my wife suggested I should put it in my wallet before I forgot where I had put the darn thing (5 minutes ago). About a nanosecond later I decided to start spending my RRSPs before my will does and full retirement is something that has a beginning date in the near future with a plan that has it happening before my name shows up in a (hopefully) well-written obituary.
The new editor is my good friend Dr Dave Richardson, a well-rounded, highly energetic, very intelligent, committed physician who combines his impressive skill as a writer with his unique brand of humor. It is gratifying to see how Dave has grown into a skilled editor since joining the Editorial Board, and I am fully confident that he will continue to ensure that this classy little publication continues to be the favorite read of virtually every doctor in BC.
I know there will be no disagreement when I say that I join the past and current editors, Editorial Board members, and editorial staff, in stating that for all of us who have had anything to do with this publication, it has always been, and will continue to be, a labor of love.
Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee
of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally
accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
About the ICMJE and citation styles
The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.
An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.
BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:
- Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
- There is no period after the journal name.
- Page numbers are not abbreviated.
For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org