Why Should You Care About SIQ?

If you’ve spent much time around Cureus you’ve probably (hopefully?) heard of Scholarly Impact Quotient, or SIQ. At Cureus we’re committed to reducing the barrier to publication for physicians and medical researchers and a big part of that is making it easy to assess the merit of published articles.

Backing up for a second, I think we can all agree that Impact Factor is showing its age. Long considered the be-all, end-all when it comes to measuring article quality, Impact Factor has devolved into the proverbial snake that ate its tail, with article importance determined by journal importance, when clearly it should be the other way around.

We created SIQ as a means to improve the way an article’s “impact” is deciphered. SIQ allows all registered users to assess the relative merits of a published article. Although the judgments of an individual, or even a limited number of peer reviewer(s), can be flawed, there is an innate “wisdom of the crowd” that is harnessed by SIQ. Furthermore, SIQ is grounded in statistical power; the judgment of “the many” can diminish the biased influence of “a few.” In this way, the Cureus review process results in a more accurate measure of article quality.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 4.39.04 PMSo now you’re probably thinking, “Ok, great – but how does that help me?” Well, as a published author with Cureus, it’s in your best interest to have a high SIQ score. Once you’ve published, the natural inclination is to lean back in your chair, exhale and maybe have a celebratory glass of your favorite beverage. And to that I say, “Well earned.” BUT – your work isn’t quite done yet! The hard part is definitely over, no need to worry, but by sharing your published article with your friends and colleagues (and urging them to honestly assess your article with SIQ) you will boost your article’s visibility and its perception amongst the Cureus community. So next time you publish with Cureus, take an extra 5 minutes and share your article with the world.



Who Should Publish: A Call to Arms

I come from medical academia where the well known mantra “publish or perish” dominates behavior. Unsurprisingly, my fellow academics and I lord over the universe of traditional peer-reviewed medical journals as we strive to climb the scholarly ladder. Ironically, what this has come to mean is that the cradle of all medical knowledge, i.e. that information contained within peer-reviewed journals is, in reality, merely an indirect result, an epiphenomenon, of the totally unrelated, academic rat race. For several generations this symbiotic relationship with the professorial class collectively advanced the commons of medical knowledge. However, maybe now, it’s time for change.

In the modern world there is a widely acknowledged need to establish what works and what doesn’t work in healthcare; colossal sums of money are being spent on ineffective or even dangerous drugs and procedures, while some effective drugs and procedures go unrecognized and uncompensated. Moreover the pace of technical innovation and adoption is often glacial. This situation exists for one reason: inadequate published outcome studies.

Clinical trials funded by government and NGOs, and typically organized by academic researchers, can, when well executed, provide answers to important, albeit selected, clinical questions. However, the time and expense for such endeavors is substantial, which limits scientific queries to a mere handful of clinical subjects. Meanwhile, for the thoughtful observer of the medical landscape, it is clear that, if only by virtue of their numbers, the vast majority of clinical experience, and therefore medical knowledge, rests with non-academic physicians who very seldom publish in the peer-reviewed medical literature. If our modern world expects to answer many of the big medical questions of our time, is it not long overdue that non-academics participate in scholarly clinical research? Is it finally time to engage a vast army of underutilized foot soldiers to become citizen physician scholars who can also publish within journals and take credit for the findings they unearth?

Why is the clinical experience and knowledge of non-academic physicians woefully underrepresented in the world of peer-reviewed journals? For starters, the world of scholarly publishing has become the clubby province of medical academia, the origins of which stem from the above-described quest for academic promotion. In the subjective world of “peer review” the resulting culture can become exclusionary; academic studies have demonstrated an analogous bias against the papers submitted by female and foreign scientific researchers. The stereotypic perspective is that academics aspire towards an austere life of grand purpose and the status that comes from publishing their ideas, while non-academics, motivated merely by money, must toil away devoid of any of the recognition which publication bestows. Should they even attempt to publish in journals, innate bias stacks the deck against non-academic physicians. And yes, they know it! Moreover, what incentive does a busy private practice doctor have to contribute to the medical literature when arcane procedures and statistical analysis, designed for authors who aspire to NEJM or Lancet, increasingly dominate the process? Finally in the new world of open access, a cost of $1,000 to $2,000 is not entirely chump change!

I will argue that there are good reasons for non-academic physicians to publish in peer-reviewed journals. First up, there’s duty. Without a credible commons of medical knowledge no doctor can live up to his/her responsibility to patients, and we all know that hard won experience has taught each of us important lessons which could and should be shared with others. Out of collective need, comes a collective obligation.

Publishing good work also serves as its own reward. If only out of vanity, seeing one’s ideas in print (and now online) is ego gratifying. However, from a more selfish standpoint, publishing establishes one’s professional skills and knowledge for others to see, and in doing so, judge, the quality of our expertise. Smart clinicians have always known that publishing in the peer-reviewed literature can be the single most credible tool for establishing and burnishing one’s reputation among colleagues and patients. Isn’t a well reasoned scientific paper, even if only a case report, a better (and less costly) reflection of one’s skills than a highway billboard, to which many physicians resort when marketing themselves to colleagues and the patient community at large?

Once upon a time it was necessary for non-academics to withstand the capricious slings and arrows, and oftentimes utter nonsense, of a tradition laden academic-centric, peer-reviewed publishing industry, but no more! Although still a work in progress, Cureus has greatly simplified publishing processes, and even more importantly, removed reviewer bias from the equation; all credible medical science is welcome from any physician who seeks to publish in good faith. As Co-Editor-in-Chief my dream is that some day it will be possible for any physician to contribute meaningfully to a free medical literature in a manner that is only slightly more difficult than generating a first class history and physical exam, the sort that might be presented at weekly hospital grand rounds. As Cureus reaches for this goal, I would argue that all physicians, including you, can and should join us by contributing to the commons of medical knowledge! For that matter, why not start today?

Researching Intraoperative Fluorescence? We’re Running a Competition!

You may have already heard the news – we’re running a publishing competition! Along with ZEISS and Dr. Robert Spetzler, Cureus is proud to announce the Intraoperative Fluorescence Publishing Competition (beginning May 12th, 2014).

Our goal is to unearth and report all the latest experiences with microscope-integrated intraoperative fluorescence, and we want your help.

Are you or is someone you know actively involved in this field of neurosurgery? What has your clinical experience taught you about the indications and outcome from using this groundbreaking technology?

Our reviewer pool consists of several leading neurosurgeons who have graciously volunteered to peer review every article entered into the competition. What’s better than having your work reviewed by some of the best minds in your field? We can’t think of anything! And if that’s not enough, we also have $5,000 to award to authors of the top articles.

So what are you waiting for? If you or someone you know has been working in the field of intraoperative fluorescence, now is the time to finalize that research and prepare for the official competition launch on May 12th, 2014.

A quick rundown of the competition:

  • We’re looking for the latest and greatest research concerning microscope-integrated intraoperative fluorescence.
  • Case reports, original articles, technical reports and review articles will all be accepted. (Previously published articles will not be accepted.)
  • A top prize of $3,000 will be awarded to the article with the highest SIQ score.
  • Two additional prizes of $1,000 will be awarded to the articles with the most audience engagement via shares, comments, etc.
  • The competition begins on Monday, May 12th, 2014 with the submission period closing on Monday, July 28th, 2014. Winners will be announced on Monday, August 25th, 2014.

Remember to share this with your friends and colleagues – anyone can enter (it’s free) and anyone can win! If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at support@cureus.com. Good luck!

Cureus Now Supports Video!

Do you know what’s better than describing a highly advanced medical procedure? Showing the video, of course!  We’re thrilled to announce that Cureus now supports YouTube videos! Videos can be inserted in an article wherever the author chooses.

At Cureus, we’re committed to offering a unique experience built upon our foundation as an online, open access medical journal, and that means allowing the Cureus community to share and watch videos as a way to promote good science. Imagination is a wonderful thing, and I think we can all agree it’s a huge part of reading, but when it comes to medical science, the less imagination required, the better. With videos embedded in your article, you now have the ability to show instead of tell – just one more example of how Cureus is committed to providing a cutting edge experience for authors and readers alike.

What does it look like, you might ask? Adding a video is as easy as inserting a video tag {{Video 1}} into your article and uploading the corresponding file.

adding a video

The result? An embedded video complete with title and description that can be played directly in the article or from the specific YouTube page.

Embedded Video

Enhanced Navigation and Article Displays Have Arrived!

We’re excited to debut an enhanced navigation system designed to make reading, reviewing and publishing articles a smooth and efficient experience. The next time you navigate to the Cureus homepage you’ll be greeted by an entirely new navigation bar along with a “ticker” highlighting recent Cureus activity, including new articles, comments, SIQ scores and more. We’ve also brought back the “Submit an article” button. This button strips away everything but the essentials to get you on the road to publication ASAP.

The Cureus library is now organized into two sections: peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed content (articles and posters, respectively). Clicking on “Articles” in the journal dropdown menu will take you to the same article overview page as before. (But don’t worry, it’s going to be redesigned too!) Clicking on a specific article, however, reveals our brand new article page:

New Cureus article view

Article tabs provide easy access to author and article information, as well as figures and tables. Meanwhile, the article’s SIQ score, disclosures, acknowledgements and audience discussion are all highlighted along the left side of the page. Speaking of SIQ, we’ve also revamped our Scholarly Impact Quotient system to make rating articles more straightforward:

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 12.11.27 PM

Here at Cureus, we’re a medical journal first, and with everything we do we aim to craft a better publishing experience for our growing community. That said, we’re also very cognizant of our position at the forefront of the online, open access journal movement and we’re confident that our enhanced look and feel will make the Cureus experience even better. Remember, we’ll be overhauling the rest of Cureus in the near future so stay tuned for more updates!