On behalf of the Editorial Board, I would like to thank Dr Sehmer for his letter. He obviously cares deeply about the BCMJ, as we do, and we take his concerns seriously. In fact, we agree with everything he says, except for a few facts that need correction:
• The Editorial Board has not changed its policies or practices on letters to the editor.
• The Personal View (letters) section has appeared in every issue in the past year, with the exception of June 2011. In the last 10 issues, we have had an average of six letters per issue. However, the number of letters published in each issue reflects the number we receive.
• We publish letters regardless of politics—assuming they are not libelous—whenever we receive them, if we think they will be of interest to our readership. Recent examples are “BCMA: Term limits and more?” (BCMJ 2012;54:121) and “Biased information in BCMA voting package” (BCMJ 2012;54:230).
Dr Sehmer has the perception that we do not publish enough critical letters, but the bald fact is that we cannot print letters we do not receive. The BCMJ Editorial Board operates at arm’s length from the BCMA Board precisely for this purpose: so that the Journal can be a free and open forum for debate on any topic of interest to BC physicians, including criticism of the BCMA. In fact the BCMA Board deserves credit for steadfastly keeping out of BCMJ operations while continuing to approve its budget year after year.
The BCMJ Editorial Board, composed of specialists and family physicians, works on behalf of all BC physicians. Month after month when reviewing possible articles and letters, we ask, “Will they read this? Is it important? Is it relevant? Will they care?” It’s a job we do with both pleasure and deadly seriousness.
So BC physicians, please, if you have something critical to say, send it in. If it’s fair, honest, and relevant to your colleagues, we would love to publish it.
—David R. Richardson, MD
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