A lapse

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 43, No. 8, October 2001, Page 433 Editorials

There are occasional lapses in the smooth flow of contained, semi-organized electromagnetic pulses that for some strange reason result in sentience. These brief lapses in sentience we humans lightly refer to as “Oops, I’m sorry, I forgot.”

To an editor, a brief lapse means that someone forgot to write and submit a scheduled editorial and the editor (me) has to write something interesting, informative, riveting—or at the very least, humorous—in about 15 minutes.

In this instance one of our veteran, always reliable editorialists experienced a rather lengthy lapse almost certainly because she suddenly discovered there’s a bit more to life than scheduled creative writing.

So here I sit rapidly jotting down a completely random association of thoughts, and, as often happens, a nugget of a theme starts to build. I think it’s about time that someone wrote something nice about the editorialists who regularly provide the BC Medical Journal with extremely high-quality editorials 10 months of the year.

“Reliable” is a good description for the editorial board members, and the need for an editorial like this one is extremely rare. I’m just having some fun as it gives me an opportunity to poke fun at one of my friends but perhaps, more importantly, to congratulate them all on the quality of their work.

The members of this tightly knit group of intelligent individuals come from a wide spectrum of professional life, but they all bring a focused commitment to editorial excellence to the table. The reason this publication continues to be so widely read and appreciated is in large part due to the work of these people. Forgetting for the moment their excellent work reviewing articles, I am constantly gratified by the quality of the editorial board members’ editorials we publish in each issue. You may have noticed that most medical journals use the featured article in the issue as the hook for the editorial, and the interest meter generally hovers close to zero. In contrast, I can’t remember when one of our editorialists was thematically challenged enough to use that route. Instead our readers are treated to well-written, insightful editorials about issues important to all of us professionally, personally, and politically.

Now that I’ve managed to pump an excessive amount of air into their ego balloons, I expect even fewer lapses in the future.


James A. Wilson, MD. A lapse. BCMJ, Vol. 43, No. 8, October, 2001, Page(s) 433 - 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 www.icmje.org

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

Leave a Reply