Banished From Cureus: Introducing a New Cureus Editorial Policy

Founded with the belief that far too many credible physician and allied medical specialists are disenfranchised by a publishing system driven largely by money and academic promotion, Cureus has, from its inception, bent over backwards to remove barriers to medical publication. Whenever possible, we have always tried to give each author the benefit of doubt throughout the entire review and publishing cycle. In the process of being so liberally minded, however, Cureus has attracted a handful of prospective authors that seek to take advantage of our generosity. In particular this group of authors has either failed to read closely Cureus’ author instructions or chosen to not follow its unambiguous dictates. This is especially apparent in the areas of copy editing and formatting, for even the simplest little requirements, such as bracketing reference citations.

Why is this handful of authors so sloppy? Maybe having been schooled in the practices of other journals they assume some faceless (yet compensated) copy editing team will clean up their carelessness? Of course other journals will clean up your articles, but it’s going to cost you; for such copy editing services an author must give up either all copyrights or pay many hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for open access. One might think the generosity of Cureus’ follow-the-rules “self-serve” model for publishing, which on average requires about 30 minutes of extra work, would be appropriately valued by all authors. Sadly this is not always the case.

Therefore, Cureus has hereby implemented a new policy of banning (“blocking”) an article from any chance of being published, regardless of the quality of science, if an author fails (for whatever reason) to twice submit a manuscript that complies with our clearly published author guidelines. Moreover any author that submits two unique articles that fall short in this way will be forever banished from Cureus. There are plenty of other journals that are happy to copyedit sloppy work. Authors who produce such manuscripts are invited to send their articles to those publishers.

In Cureus’ community of trust and mutual respect, there is no room for users who fail to follow the rules. But if you are among the vast majority of users who comply with our guidelines, I promise that you will be amply rewarded for your consideration and cooperation. Thank you.

Cureus has been accepted for indexing in PubMed Central!

We are pleased to announce that Cureus has been accepted for indexing in PubMed Central® (PMC) and PubMed. PMC is a free full-text archive of biomedical and life science journal literature operated by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).

We know how much our authors value PMC and PubMed indexing. Knowing your published article has been indexed should result in relief and validation that your work will be available for the medical community to discover, read, discuss and cite.

Cureus indexed in PMC

Since the start of the year, we’ve published nearly 50 peer-reviewed articles documenting clinical experience and medical research from around the world. All of these articles can now be found in PMC and PubMed, and we’re looking forward to the continued expansion of the Cureus library of peer-reviewed literature. Going forward, all articles published in Cureus will be indexed in PMC and PubMed within one month of publication.

Thank you for your continued support of Cureus. This is a big step for our journal and we’re looking forward to more articles and more readers in the coming months. Please contact us at info@cureus.com with any questions.

Announcing a New Editorial Policy Regarding Submission Quality

Cureus operates a free, merit-based publication system, in which we publish all articles that satisfy our requirements and contain no fraudulent or dangerous science. It is therefore the responsibility of the submitting author to meet us halfway by submitting an article draft that meets all listed requirements. Over the past several months, we’ve noticed an influx of submissions containing sloppy and careless work, much of it concerning figures and references. We’re a small team with limited editorial resources and, in exchange for offering free publication, we expect our authors to submit work that meets our requirements. (Requirements that are still quite streamlined compared to other journals, such as PeerJ.)

That is why, effective immediately, authors will have only two chances to submit a draft meeting all Cureus publishing requirements (as detailed below). Submitting an unacceptable draft will result in an editor-issued deferral. Once deferred, the author will be tasked with revising the article based on editor instructions before resubmitting.

If a second deferral follows (due to the author failing to follow editor instructions), the article draft will no longer be eligible for peer review (and publication within Cureus). This only applies to deferrals before peer review. Post peer review deferrals will not be counted against the author.

Additionally, if a submitting author has two drafts ruled permanently ineligible, as described above, he or she will no longer be permitted to publish in Cureus.

We pledge to work closely with all of our submitting authors to avoid such a scenario, but unfortunately we’ve reached a point where we must institute stricter submission enforcement due to the many poorly formatted and incomplete drafts we are receiving.

If you have concerns or questions regarding this change, please reach out to us at info@cureus.com and a Cureus team member will get back to you ASAP.

Optimizing for Mobile Users: Cureus Rolls Out Responsive Design

Roughly 25% of our community accesses Cureus via a mobile or tablet device. We’re not in the business of ignoring our users, which is why we’re happy to announce our new responsive design rollout. What is responsive design? To put it in plain terms, a responsive webpage will look great no matter how large or small your screen. When viewed on a phone (or even just a small browser window on your laptop), the page design will rearrange itself to give you, the reader, the best viewing experience. (For a more detailed response, check out this great piece by John Polacek.)

Desktop view (left) vs. Mobile view (right)

Desktop view (left) vs. Mobile view (right)

Since submitting an article draft doesn’t translate well to mobile (and really, who wants to do all of that on their phone?), this will remain a non-responsive process, designed to be completed on a desktop or laptop computer. Reading and scoring articles, posters and abstracts, however, is a perfect fit for our mobile and tablet users – and it just became easier than ever with our newly released page designs.

Quickly hop into an article on your phone with no need to resize the page or struggle with small buttons or text. Now you can read, score and share whenever you have a moment. We know how busy you are – perhaps your evening train commute is the best time for you to be active in the Cureus community. Or maybe you prefer to check out the latest published articles while relaxing in your yard. Whatever the case may be, you’ll be able to do it on your phone or tablet.

We’ll be making more pages responsive just as soon as we can – so stay tuned for more updates! Questions or comments? Shoot us an email at info@cureus.com.

Calling All Academic Departments: It’s Time to Share Your Hard Work With the World

Close your eyes and picture the following (it probably won’t be difficult):

Your academic department is full of hard-working researchers and practicing physicians. Cutting edge research and innovative clinical experiences are everywhere. Trusted veteran physicians and up-and-coming stars are working together. All of your department’s faculty and residents know that their collective work is making a difference. Worthy of praise, funding and patient referrals.

But does anyone else know?

By partnering with Cureus you can ensure that fellow physicians around the world are updated on the latest and greatest from your department. All Cureus channel partners receive their very own branded, quarterly email digests that are managed and sent by Cureus.

Featuring hand-picked, recently published articles from your department as well as author head shots, a Cureus quarterly digest is an excellent way to raise awareness surrounding your department, boost the profile of up-and-coming faculty and even gain patient referrals.

We invite each of our channel partners to customize their quarterly’s messaging to fit their department’s unique goals. With thousands of recipients and sky-high open and click rates, we’re confident that a Cureus quarterly digest is the best value for your department’s marketing budget. Take a look at the examples below, and contact us at info@cureus.com to learn how your department can reach physicians and researchers around the world.

Note: partial view of quarterly digest.

Note: partial view of quarterly digest.

Note: partial view of quarterly digest.

Note: partial view of quarterly digest.

The Value of “Small Science”

“Let me tell you about an interesting case.”

“I’m having trouble with a patient, can I get some advice?”

“Help, my patient is dying on me and I cannot for the life of me figure out what’s wrong.”

“While caring for this patient, I learned something kind of cool last week.”

Have you or a colleague uttered such things in the past few days, weeks or months? Throughout my own clinical practice in an academic setting these types of utterances happened on a daily basis, if not many times a day, albeit sometimes merely under my own breath.

It is a fact that we physicians, even the smartest among us, still have a lot to learn, and vice versa, have a lot to teach through such experiences. Our clinical practices are sometimes influenced (usually for the better) by prominent, well-funded, randomized clinical trials, but more often it is the humble practical knowledge learned from one another that separates the satisfactory from the great physician. In my chosen specialty of neurosurgery, I have observed that there is not two or three bits of knowledge that make for a great operation. Instead the best surgeons have a grab bag of literally thousands of largely undocumented tricks (patient selection, choice of instrument, anatomical insights, manual skills, techniques, etc.), which make for their success. Much of this knowledge continues to get acquired the old fashion way – via trial and error in the trenches of medicine. Amazingly, in a world of more than 5,000 medical journals we all too often find ourselves repeating one another’s mistakes and relearning lessons previously learned by others. Why is this?

I believe that the above situation stems in part from a medicine-wide failure to formally acknowledge the true value of practical knowledge, or what we at Cureus like to refer to as “small science.” In many ways this is illustrated by how most medical journals see their mission, especially those with a coveted high impact factor. For example, the Instructions for Authors section in JAMA is almost half the length (in words) of Joseph Conrad’s the Heart of Darkness. Filled with complex guidelines for statistical processes and data reporting, the focus is on academic researchers who themselves are focused on climbing the ranks of academia as much as they are the knowledge at stake. The complexity of such processes, and even the associated financial costs in open access journals, intimidates too many of the busiest practicing physicians who have amazing clinical experience and insights but lack the time and arcane knowledge of contemporary journal publishing processes. As an Editor-in-Chief of Cureus this strikes me as a tragedy; some of the most knowledgeable clinicians have no forum for passing on their hard-won insights.

Our mission at Cureus is to use technology and a new philosophy of post-publication peer review to strike a better balance between process and the more efficient reporting of valuable clinical science. Our goal is to make it easier than ever for busy physicians in the trenches of medical practice to document the important things they learn on a near continual basis. Ultimately if some clinical observation is important enough for an overworked physician to invest time in writing up, we at Cureus are delighted to help with the task.

Enhance Your Published Article by Adding a Patient Reported Outcome

Have you published an original article or case report featuring a patient who would want to share his or her story? Contact your featured patients and tell them about this exciting opportunity to describe their experience in a way that fellow and future patients can understand.

Let’s be frank, journal articles aren’t the most accessible reading outside of the medical community. Adding a Patient Reported Outcome (PRO) is a fantastic way to highlight clinical experience from the perspective that matters most – the patient’s. Preparing for treatment can be a stressful, frightening time. Hearing from someone who’s already experienced it – all in their own words – can make a world of difference when deciding who to entrust with one’s health.

Here’s how it works, and remember that publishing a PRO alongside your article is free!

We ask that you reach out to your patient first. Once the patient has agreed to participate, we’ll take over from there – it’s that easy! When the patient has submitted his or her PRO, we’ll edit for spelling and grammatical errors; their words will otherwise be published as is, with no interference from the article authors or Cureus staff. PRO authors can also include supplemental images.

Here’s a few examples:Transient Tumor Volume Increase in Vestibular Schwannomas after Radiotherapy and CyberKnife Ablation for Intramedullary Spinal Cord Arteriovenous Malformations (AVMs): A Promising New Therapeutic Approach

Take advantage of this unique feature to make your published article something special. Reach out to your featured patients and contact graham.parker@cureus.com to learn more!