Good people, good work

You may remember that some years ago there was talk of submerging BCMJ into the BCMA News to make a kind of BCMA Medical Post. Many of us, especially those on the BCMJ Editorial Board, were appalled, and said so in the loudest and bluntest tones possible. The proposition went away, and we like to think that we speeded up the process. I am glad that this regrettable idea has stayed away, because I have always felt that the BCMJ is a classy little reminder that we are good people doing good work.

This, as I’m sure you know, is the 50th year of publication of the BCMJ. For it to reach such a milestone is reason enough to be glad that the idea of shutting it down was put aside. Compared with much of Canada, British Columbia is full of new stuff; in fact, the only real history we have belongs to Mother Nature and to the First Nations, and the rest of us shamelessly appropriate much of this history to give ourselves a sense of depth and self-respect. So for any organism in this part of the country to reach a milestone such as a 50th anniversary is reason for celebration. 

I have been a member of the BCMJ Editorial Board since 1993 (or so). The monthly meetings of the Board have always been the only committee meetings I have ever attended that I actually look forward to. Despite changes in the Board’s makeup over the years, the meetings have always been full of wit, laughter, and a real sense of purpose. 

The BCMJ editors I have known in that time, Alan Dodd and Jim Wilson, always seemed to be extraordinarily wise in the way they saw the issues of the day and commented upon them. Because of Alan and Jim, I have rekindled, but resisted, the idea of growing a beard. Some things should remain the editor’s prerogative. 

Through exchanges with the members of the Editorial Board and with the contributors to BCMJ, I have had insight into just about every aspect of medical practice in this province and have been greatly reassured by such insight. These are indeed good people doing good work.

In my academic life I am acutely aware of the politics of medical publication. To maintain or advance academic standing, it is critical to publish regularly in scholarly publications. The prestige of the journal in which one’s work appears reflects prestige on the author, and the 8% of authors who have their work accepted for publication in the New England Journal of Medicine make sure that everyone knows about it. 

Publication in the BCMJ has a different motivation; although there is pleasure in seeing something you have written appear in print, publication in the BCMJ does not guarantee fame and fortune. What it does do, however, is connect you with your colleagues. And there is a warmth and sense of fellowship in doing so that is unbeatable. 

The BCMJ’s theme issues provide valuable state-of-the-art summaries of areas of practice that are targeted at the physicians of British Columbia in particular, something that national and international publications are unlikely to do. And since the BCMJ is a journal produced by the doctors of BC for the doctors of BC, the lighter side of practice is reflected in whimsical Back Page articles and Good Guy tributes. Jerry Wong’s cover art is always suitable for framing. 

These characteristics all help make BCMJ unique.

I am proud to have been associated with this journal. Happy 50th anniversary, BCMJ—and don’t forget your mammogram and colonoscopy. 

Timothy C. Rowe, MBBS, FRCSC, FRCOG. Good people, good work. BCMJ, Vol. 50, No. 3, April, 2008, Page(s) 120 - Editorials.

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

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

Leave a Reply