Dr. Kunal Aneja, Department of Orthopaedics, Naveda Healthcare Centre, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi, India. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Journal of Orthopaedic Case Reports (JOCR) has a rich history of 12 years in publication and has proven to be a leading choice for publishing orthopedic case reports, being registered with major Indexing and Abstracting partners. I have been associated with the journal for more than 7 years as a regular reviewer of the case reports and have recently been handed the responsibility of serving as an Associate Editor of the journal. I would like to congratulate the entire Indian Orthopaedic Research Group for its success and for promoting orthopedic research in India for the past decade.
With diversity in its Editorial Board section editors, this journal considers case reports of all orthopedic subspecialties with a relevant clinical message.
Being easy to write and comparatively less time consuming, case reports are the stepping stone for any clinician’s research journey.
The Numerous Types of Case Reports Can be Subdivided into the Following Categories [1, 2]
• Describing a new or rare disease entity
• A rare cause of a disease or unusual injury pattern
• Uncommon presentation or observation of a disease
• New diagnostic method or investigating tool
• Diagnostic challenge.
• A new surgical technique or therapeutic intervention: It even can be a variation of an established technique
• Unexpected outcomes or complications of standard treatment
• Therapeutic challenge.
Usually, when a novice researcher encounters a novel clinical case scenario, they are compelled to publish it to disseminate the learning, only to be frequently faced with rejection from journals.
Case reports have one of the highest rates of rejection which can be attributed to the following modifiable, non-modifiable, and other inherent reasons :
• Inadequate formatting of the case report and deficiency in manuscript writing: If not done as per the submitting Journal guidelines. For JOCR, it is well stated on the webpage and the authors are urged to act as the “foremost reviewer” of their submissions by editing them as per the stated requirements.
• Plagiarism: It is best to keep it in check to avoid disrepute and rejection.
• Manipulation of data: Fudging of the clinical data results in misleading outcomes and is best steered clear of.
• The clinical case submitted for publication is a common one: Even if the manuscript is well written and follows the journal guidelines, it has fewer chances of being published due to the nature of the case.
• If it does not add anything new to the existing body of literature: For diagnosing or treating the condition stated, rejection is a high possibility.
Other inherent reasons for rejection of case reports
• Low level of evidence of a case report in the hierarchy of literature.
• A high number of case reports received by a journal and comparatively lesser publishing space.
• Being rarely cited, case reports contribute less to improving a journal’s impact factor, especially those journals which are not exclusively focused on case reports. JOCR hence provides an excellent opportunity to researchers to publish their cases for a wider readership.
How to Avoid Facing Rejection?
• “Rule of Cs” should be followed: Case report should be crisp, concise, coherent, and must convey a clear message being well-focused on the subject [4, 5, 6].
• The case report should have a clear learning outcome which has the potential to change or improve clinical practice.
• An adequate recent review of the literature should be performed.
• Not essential for the clinical case to be rare to be accepted for publication.
• Can also be accepted if it triggers new questions and further potential research in the field.
• Focus on the educational value of the case report more than the novelty of the case.
• The authors should refrain from making bold, standard management changing statements in the conclusions based on the findings of a singular case.
Importance of Publishing Case Reports
Classically, case reports have been easy to write and easier to read. Being quite relevant for day-to-day clinical practice and disseminating medical education, the importance of such literature lies in laying the foundation for further higher quality research by posing a research question. Being the oldest type of any publication, case reports help in initiating a new hypothesis rather than proving or disproving one .
Any editorial on case reports would be deemed incomplete if Sir William Osler is not quoted
“Always record and note the unusual… When you have made and recorded the unusual or original observation.. Publish it. Place it on a permanent record as a short, concise note. Such communications are always of value.”
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