Cureus Team Building: Crawfishing in Pescadero Creek


9S2A5710Our team has been hard at work creating the best possible experience for the Cureus community, and while hard work is its own reward, we were lucky enough to escape the office recently for a day of good old-fashioned team building. How did the fine folks at Cureus elect to spend the day? Hunting for crayfish (aka crawfish aka crawdads) of course!


The gang packed up nets, bacon (for bait!) and picnic lunches before heading down the coast to Pescadero, California. Home to the appropriately-named Pescadero Creek, Pescadero is a wonderfully secluded and picturesque town just a few short miles from the Pacific coast. It was here, along the muddy banks of the Pescadero Creek, that the Cureus team went to work, baiting and trapping crawfish with the same verve and zeal normally reserved for design, development and customer support.

IMG_7151Utilizing skilled techniques passed down through generations of Barrettos (Chris Barretto, Cureus VP of Engineering), we set bait with mouthwatering raw bacon and proceeded to wait, and wait, and wait and finally poke and prod the delightfully plentiful crawfish into our awaiting nets. It was messy business, and there were more than a few cuts, spills and even one unfortunate crawfish attack, resulting in a well-deserved wound to the finger. But just as with web design and editorial duties, these trials eventually gave way to well-earned rewards. The final tally? 55 crawfish, 8 dirty but happy Cureus team members and 1 very nice dinner

IMG_7150The team made it back to work the next day, all in one piece and now the march continues as we work to bring you the very best medical journal on the web. We’re very excited about our recent channels and competition, and we’ll be ready to announce new features very soon. Thanks again for your continued support. Don’t forget to contact us with suggestions, criticism and the like!

The Cureus Team toasts to a job well done before sitting down to enjoy the day’s catch.

Cureus Channels: A Window into Your Organization

It’s a new age for medicine, and for medical journals, too. The advent of many exciting, cutting-edge medical techniques is mirrored by the rise in popularity of online journals. While the traditional print journals are led by stalwarts such as New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA and Nature, the recent explosion of online journals makes it more difficult than ever to stick out from the crowd.

Perhaps you’re a physician or researcher who’s looking to publish your work; as anyone who’s published before knows, there are a multitude of factors that influence such a decision. What can the hundreds of different online journals do to convince you that they’re the right place to publish?

Cureus channels offer a wholly unique opportunity to medical schools, departments and professional societies that have opted not to produce a journal of their own. Creating a journal is an expensive and complicated endeavor; however, there are myriad benefits to having your group’s members published in the same place, perhaps covering the same general topic area.

Some groups will create their own journals, and for those societies with ample cash and an extensive queue of articles ready to be published, perhaps that’s the right choice. But what about everyone else? Maybe your school doesn’t have a few million dollars to spare, or maybe your society is a small, but growing group with a steadily increasing stream of articles.

SMISS Channel
The SMISS Channel

A Cureus channel could be the answer. Offering the chance to gather all of your school or society’s clinical and research activities in one place, a Cureus channel is a unique branded page that increases your visibility by assisting in clinical research publication and promotion to broad professional and patient communities. Cureus is currently hosting channels for the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology, the International Pediatric Simulation Society, the Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery, and ZEISS.

Each organization appoints a channel editor to oversee submissions and encourage fellow members to contribute, but the foundational editorial work is all handled by Cureus. Think of a channel as a window into your organization, a place to see what your colleagues or fellow students are up to, all while exchanging valuable research and information in your field of expertise. We’ve launched four channels so far, with several more on the way. Get in touch with us today if you’d like to explore whether or not a channel is right for you.

Our Intraoperative Fluorescence Research Publishing Competition is Now Live!

We’re thrilled to announce that the Intraoperative Fluorescence Research Publishing Competition sponsored by ZEISS is now live! (And yes, we know the title is a mouthful.) A part of our first article publishing competition, we’ve partnered with the good folks over at ZEISS to create an outlet for all the latest research concerning microscope-integrated intraoperative fluorescence.

Intraoperative Fluorescence

The competition will remain open through July 28th, 2014 so you’ve still got plenty of time to gather your research and submit your work. We’ve already spent time elsewhere going over the competition details (check out the competition page if you don’t believe me), so instead of rehashing all the boring details, I’ll use this opportunity to focus on the truly good stuff, the stuff that should be getting you excited to enter our competition.

And what’s that, you ask? Two things:

  1. Our outstanding collection of reviewers hand-picked specifically for this competition. Led by Dr. Robert Spetzler, our reviewer pool features 9 highly accomplished professionals in the world of neuroscience. This is a rare opportunity to have your research reviewed by an esteemed group of physicians offering constructive feedback that could help you throughout your research career.
  2. Cold hard cash prizes. The author of the article with the highest SIQ score will be awarded the Grand Prize for Scientific Acclaim along with a cool $3,000. And that’s not all – two additional “Educator” Awards will be handed out (along with $1,000 each) to the authors of the articles with the most views and audience engagement, respectively.

And just as a reminder, publishing with Cureus is always 100% free. No strings attached. So what do you have to lose? Take a look at the competition details and enter your research today!

Not sure if this competition is right for you? Leave a comment on this post (or email us at and we’ll get right back to you with all the information you need.

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.



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!

Reviewers Need Love Too!

Far too often, peer reviewers are left on the sidelines when it comes time to award credit for an article’s publication. Yes, peer review is oftentimes a blind process (and in the case of Cureus, always a blind process), but let’s not forget that without reviewers that article wouldn’t be published in the first place. We’ve all been a part of peer review at some point in the past, whether it was years ago in school or more recently in the academic or medical worlds – it can be a thankless task, we know. That’s why Cureus wants to recognize the efforts of our peer reviewers. Over the coming months, we’ll be using this space to recognize the invaluable contributions of our wide array of reviewers. You might also eventually see us recognize our reviewers across our website, so stay tuned and keep an eye out for more reviewer recognition in the future!

While we utilize a blind review process, that doesn’t mean we can’t call attention to our reviewers without tying them directly to the articles they’ve reviewed, and lo and behold, that’s exactly what we’re going to do. The reviewers highlighted below are just a few in the Cureus community – click the names to find out more about some of the folks who make publication with Cureus possible!

Click here to join the Cureus community – you can publish, review, rate and discuss articles and it’s absolutely free!

Congratulations – you’ve published! Now what?

The medical science community, indeed all scientific research communities, are often so wrapped up in the seemingly insurmountable task of getting published that it has become increasingly rare to stop and think about what comes next.

At Cureus, we’re working hard to ensure that your journey doesn’t end at publication. That’s why we greatly value post-publication review in the form of SIQ (Scholarly Impact Quotient). The review process should never stop when it comes to ensuring the best possible science is available to the publScreen Shot 2014-02-26 at 3.18.08 PMic. Why limit the review period to a few weeks prior to publication? Doesn’t it make sense to allow for further evaluation as more eyes see an article? Of course we value the efforts of our reviewers, but the huge jump in sample size from half a dozen reviewers to a thousand interested readers shouldn’t be ignored. With our SIQ system in place, any reader can quickly and easily rate an article across five different categories. Will this result in the occasional uninformed review? Perhaps, but we feel strongly that, over time, the wisdom of many will outweigh the errors of a few readers, resulting in a dynamic evaluation of every article within the Cureus journal.

We want readers to engage with your research through assigning SIQ scores and entering into discussions, and we’re more than happy to promote your article across social media in the days and weeks following publication. With Cureus, you don’t need to worry about your article being buried and forgotten as soon as it’s published. Publication is just the beginning of the journey here at Cureus. Remember – publishing and reviewing articles at Cureus is entirely free, so stop by today and have a look around. Cureus could be the place for you to launch your research into the social stratosphere!

Open Access Doesn’t Mean Inaccurate

Does important scientific writing mandate the close supervision of professional editors and other high priests of science? Or is it possible that an interested community can curate scientific writing equally well?  The conventional wisdom (and 200 years of history) strongly sides with the need for experts, but this conviction is increasingly at odds with the interaction and communication made possible by the internet.

One of the great challenges that Cureus faces is the assumption that because we’re an open access journal, the science we publish is not reaching the highest realms of scientific quality. “Open access” is still a scary term for many people, with many worried that the process compromises the quality of peer review and ultimately the scientific quality of published papers. At Cureus, we are fighting back against this misperception by publishing powerful and accurate science. Open access medical journals are still a new concept, but you don’t have to look far for what is perhaps the ultimate example of open access on the internet today. Yes, I’m referring to Wikipedia, the seemingly omnipresent internet resource. Featuring articles on everything from Ghostbusters to spinal stenosis, Wikipedia is a shining example of the power of open access.

A recently published study by Rayagopalan, et al. tested the accuracy of medical data provided in Wikipedia compared with that provided in the National Cancer Institute’s Physician Data Query (PDQ) website. The researchers, hailing from an assortment of universities and medical centers, sought to test their hypothesis that Wikipedia would suffer from a lack of complete and accurate content.

Their conclusion? That Wikipedia had similar accuracy and depth when compared with the professionally peer-reviewed PDQ. Granted, this is not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison. Cureus, although an open access journal in every sense of the word, still relies on a group of expert editors to ensure the accuracy and quality of all published articles.

Open access is a viable method for quickly gathering and publishing valuable information. It’s 2014 and more and more of the world is connected – there should be no excuse when it comes to delivering and sharing potentially life-saving medical science for free.

We’re Enhancing the Cureus Journal

We’re a young journal – that’s no secret. As with any growing organization, we are constantly iterating our product in order to produce the best possible journal and provide the very best experience to our users. Working to improve the user experience of our journal is a job that never ends. And with that in mind, we embrace this climate of change and improvement.

The bottom line? We’re always working on new features and refining existing ones to make your experience with Cureus, whether as an author, reviewer or regular user, both efficient, easy and maybe even fun! To that end, we’ve released some new features in recent months designed to make the Cureus experience even better.

sort and filter

We’ve added a powerful Sort and Filter feature – would you like to quickly find those articles with the highest SIQ score? No problem. How about articles related to Neurological Surgery or Internal Medicine? Easy – just check the desired boxes and let us do the rest.

Did you know that Cureus member profiles have high visibility in the most popular search engines (like Google)? When performing a search for physicians by name, Cureus member profiles are returned more than 60% of the time on the first page of results, with 50% of those appearing in the top 3. Our new member profiles have been redesigned so that readers can more quickly find pertinent information about you. If you’re already a user, take a minute to update your member profile and start taking advantage of these new features.