Towards a Cureus Data Repository

*Co-authored by John R. Adler & Achim Schweikard

Most scientific articles come with some form of data. For Cureus, our data includes medical images, graphics, drawings and tables. Access to such data enables a reader to verify the content and credibility of an article while also better understanding it. Many types of data, provided they are findable via search, can have value to readers independent of the article with which it was originally connected; medical imagery and genetic sequencing information being cases in point. For example, with modern methods of machine learning requiring large data sets for training, journals are a logical repository for such information. Therefore a peer-reviewed article that provides access to data will oftentimes prove much more valuable than that same article without data. Especially for internet-based media with access to large amounts of digital storage space, data sharing between authors and readers would and should become a standard. As an example, instead of showing data for a single representative case in an article, which is typical for traditional journals, we could make data for all cases in this article available to readers. Readers could then download such enhanced data sets directly in electronic format.

Given the above argument, it would appear highly desirable for Cureus to develop practical methods for structuring data and making it accessible via search. It goes without saying that the additional effort needed on the side of the authors should be minimal while the cost of making data available to others needs to be reasonable. With these objectives in mind, how might the Cureus community go about setting up an article-linked data repository?

Currently, most medical images in Cureus are in JPEG or PNG formats. Clearly, our repository should be open to standard medical image modalities in common formats. This includes CT, MR, x-ray, ultrasound data, and others in Dicom format.

Although all data would be available in electronic format, additional tools would be needed to enable intelligent search. Perhaps a straightforward way to address this problem would be to add label fields for images in the journal interface, which would let authors set tags for the image content in various ways. Such label fields could for example be modality, anatomy, pathology, entity, etc.

Finally, we would need a way to include the data in the peer-review process. Reviewers should be able to check whether the images submitted are adequate in terms of content, space requirements and other conditions. This is necessary, because once published, data sets must remain available without limitations.

Such a repository would require additional effort on the side of the editors and reviewers, but also on our journal’s programming team, and last but not least, on the side of the authors.

Now, if we decide to go this route, here is what we’d propose as a first step towards our new data repository:

  • We now allow for uploading full DICOM image data sets, and other types of numeric or image data.
  • DICOM image data sets are typically associated with images within the article. While the images remain in their native formats (.jpeg, .png, etc.), the DICOM image sets (3D or even 4D image sets) are made available for download behind the current images.
  • When uploading the data sets, authors must fill in tag fields, on pull-down menus. The tags provide information on image modality, anatomic site and entity.
  • If the article is a case report, we allow for uploading image data for the single case in point.
  • If the article is a study, with data for more than one patient, data for all patients can be uploaded.
  • Based on the tags provided by our authors, data sets from all papers across the entire data base are included into the journal’s internal search engine. This would allow us to report, for instance, all image data sets available within the data base for a specific anatomic site, and entity.
  • In addition, data correlations can be made available. This means that, for instance, matching image data and ECG data can be found.

We would love to know what the Cureus user community thinks about the above proposal. Leave a comment and let us know!

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Banned From Cureus: How To Avoid Hearing Those Dreaded Words

In the current political climate there is a lot of discussion these days about banning certain immigrant groups. As a point of principle, Cureus welcomes physicians of all races, nationalities, religions or gender and sexual identities to use our FREE publication platform.

Because we believe access to medical knowledge is a fundamental human right, Cureus aspires to break down all barriers to the freer dissemination of medical knowledge, especially for physician authors in developing countries. No matter who you are, if you have credible medical science you wish to publish conscientiously and in good faith, while following Cureus’ submission guidelines, our journal is committed to serving you.

However, if you are a physician for whom publishing is merely a vanity project or a tool for professional advancement, with little regard for the integrity of the process, Cureus specifically does not want your content. If you are the type of individual who chooses to take shortcuts with the truth, who sees nothing wrong with plagiarism or scientific fraud, please stay away from Cureus.

You are hereby warned that if you are caught abusing our generous spirit, we will, to the best of our abilities, ultimately ban you AND your co-authors from further access to our journal AND when appropriate, (plagiarism and academic fraud) we will aggressively pursue academic censor from the offending individual’s parent academic or clinical institution.

Please be forewarned that our editorial team does not take lightly to authors that betray the truth or Cureus’ generosity. Our team has on a few past occasions, including very recently, needed to report serious infringements of our policies to the appropriate academic authorities. So ultimately the answer is yes, one can be BANNED from Cureus. Don’t be one of those people!

Announcing the Winners of the Negative Pressure Wound Therapy Publishing Competition!

kci-acelity-npwtid-email-winners-announced

The SIQ scoring period has ended and the scores have been tabulated. We are pleased to announce the following articles as winners of the Negative Pressure Wound Therapy with Instillation publishing competition:

1st place – 8.3 SIQ ($5,000): “Negative Pressure Wound Therapy with Instillation in a Chronic Non-Healing Right Hip Trochanteric Pressure Ulcer” by Broder, Nguyen and Broder

2nd place – 8.0 SIQ ($2,000): “A Case Review Series of Christiana Care Health System’s Experience with Negative Pressure Wound Therapy Instillation” by Felte, Gallagher, Tinkoff and Cipolle

3rd place – 7.0 SIQ ($1,000): “Utilizing the VeraFlo™ Instillation Negative Pressure Wound Therapy System with Advanced Care for a Case Study” by Rita K. Driver

We’ll be reaching out to the corresponding author of each article to arrange for award delivery.

As is the case with all of our publishing competitions, please keep in mind that only scores submitted during the competition scoring period are included when determining the winners.

We’d like to extend a big thank you to the Cureus community for their efforts in reading and scoring competition articles over the past few months. Without you, this competition would not be possible.

And remember – even though the competition is over, you can still access and score all of the articles. Thanks for your support!

Optimization Strategies for Organ Donation and Utilization Competition Winners!

novartis-donate-life-email-winners-announcedThe SIQ scoring period has ended and the scores have been tabulated. We are pleased to announce the following articles as winners of the Optimization Strategies for Organ Donation and Utilization publishing competition:

Winner, Organ Utilization – 9.3 SIQ: Trends in Usage and Outcomes for Expanded Criteria Donor Kidney Transplantation in the United States Characterized by Kidney Donor Profile Index” by Rege, Irish, Castleberry et al.

Winner, Organ Donation – 5.5 SIQ: “Envisioning and Leading Organizational Transformation: One Organ Procurement Organization’s Journey” by Orlowski

As a reward for their efforts, each author group will be awarded $5,000. (We’ll be reaching out to the corresponding author of each article to arrange for award delivery.)

As is the case with all of our publishing competitions, please keep in mind that the above scores represent only those scores submitted during the competition scoring period.

We’d like to extend a big thank you to the Cureus community for their efforts in reading and scoring competition articles over the past few months. Without you, this competition would not be possible.

And remember – even though the competition is over, you can still access and score all of the articles. Thanks for your support!

Autologous Epidermal Grafting: Announcing the Competition Winner!

kci-competition-email-winners-announcedThe SIQ scoring period has ended and the scores have been tabulated. We are pleased to announce the following articles as winners of the Clinical and Economic Benefits of Autologous Epidermal Grafting publishing competition:

1st place, 9.3 SIQ: “Clinical and Economic Benefits of Autologous Epidermal Grafting” by Maderal & Kirsner

2nd place, 9.0 SIQ: “A Case Series of Complex Recalcitrant Wounds Treated with Epidermal Grafts Harvested from an Automated Device” by Cai, Gowda, Chopra et al.

3rd place, 6.0 SIQ: “Autologous Epidermal Grafting Using a Novel Negative Pressure Epidermal Harvesting System in a Case of Stable Vitiligoby” by Krishna, Thirunavukkarasu, Krishnan et al.

As you can see, the battle for first place came down to the wire with only a handful of scores separating first and second place. (Keep in mind that the above scores represent only those scores submitted during the competition scoring period.)

We’d like to extend a big thank you to the Cureus community for their efforts in reading and scoring competition articles over the past few months. Without you, this competition would not be possible.

And remember – even though the competition is over, you can still access and score all of the articles. Thanks for your support!

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.