A model theme issue

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 45, No. 6, July August 2003, Page 244 Editorials

Every so often I end up doing something I said I would never do. Generally the philosophical compromise is a few Hail Marys short of a cardinal sin, and usually involves paying way too much for something I didn’t need. For the most part these moral/ethical/philosophical hiccups are more about servicing desperate wants, and as expected, once the initial warmth of possession has waned, the replacement emotion is more angst than ebullience.

In this instance, however, I have decided to write an editorial about the theme of this month’s BCMJ, something I said I would never do (if the truth be known I think I actually did this at least one other time). In fact, several editorials ago I wrote that the BCMJ’s cadre of editorialists are never thematically challenged to the point where they need to resort to hanging an editorial on one of the journal’s core articles. It seems that this stentorian pontification is about to bite me, but I am so impressed with this month’s theme issue on rectal carcinoma that I will throw editorial caution to the wind and once again allow compromise to exaggerate the blur of what were once razor-sharp editorial boundaries.

This month’s theme issue, guest edited by Dr Terry Phang, is an excellent example of what a theme issue should provide for a sophisticated readership. Dr Phang and colleagues have delivered a well-written set of articles that very nicely document the current recommendations concerning preoperative investigations, possible preoperative cancer modification treatment, current surgical technique recommendations (total mesorectal excision, or TME), the pathological grading of the surgical specimen, and postoperative chemoradiation recommendations.

I like theme issues for a number of reasons, but basically they should provide all of us with current knowledge, current recommendations, identify “areas of concern” in our current management paradigm, and, if possible, provide scientifically validated solutions for areas of recognized deficiency. Dr Phang and his coauthors have successfully covered all of these bases with this erudite rendering of the current approach to a malignancy that until now has had an abysmally poor track record of recurrence and rapid decline. I hope that this theme issue—because of the length, breadth, and quality of the information provided—will have virtually universal appeal to all physicians, regardless of professional persuasion. I also hope that as a result, docs in BC will ensure that the necessary changes in the management of rectal carcinoma will be quickly incorporated and properly funded throughout the province.


James A. Wilson, MD. A model theme issue. BCMJ, Vol. 45, No. 6, July, August, 2003, Page(s) 244 - 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