Keep on blogging

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 59, No. 2, March 2017, Pages 82-84 Letters

A recent survey of BCMJ readers indicated that “only about 9% of readers use as their primary reading medium.” The research results presented do not specify what percentage of doctors read the BCMJ blogs—and why or why not.

Much of our recorded history of medicine in British Columbia comes from the diaries and journals handwritten in the past. Since 1994 such commentaries on daily events morphed into the modern online web logs. These logs then expanded beyond the traditional diary or journal and offered brief historical mementoes, social comments, responses to daily print publications, and other topics. When combined with links on the web, the web log appellation was abbreviated to blog.

The BCMJ has included blogs in its online presence since 2011. The potential value of blogs in the context of the BCMJ’s objectives is that thought-promoting, discussion-stimulating, medically related, historical human issues can be highlighted for the reader in a very short presentation. In my mind a good blog is an elaborate mixture of a haiku and a limerick—something that entertains for the moment and leaves an idea, concept, recurrent thought, or new perspective in the reader’s mind for a while.

I must admit to a conflict of interest when I say that I would be a sorry person if the BCMJ were to give up on the blog: something like 30 of my blog posts have been aired on the BCMJ website. But changes are necessary. Had I been one of the 3000 doctors included in the survey, and had I been asked specifically about the blogs, I would have described my views (and desire) for improvements in four areas to popularize the blog site. First, use the print version of the journal to acknowledge and promote interest in the blog. Second, encourage reader habits toward repeat visits to the blog by offering two or more blogs per week. Third, exclude announcements, and fourth, take advantage of emerging and easily usable electronic platforms for blog presentations (which I believe is already under consideration for wider digital presentation of the BCMJ).
—George Szasz, CM, MD

George Szasz, CM, MD. Keep on blogging. BCMJ, Vol. 59, No. 2, March, 2017, Page(s) 82-84 - Letters.

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