SBMT and Cureus Team Up To Accelerate the Publication of Leading Edge Neuroscience

One challenge of the twenty-first century is to catalyze the development of medical advances from basic science. To help accelerate diagnostic and therapeutic discoveries, one of the leading multispecialty and multidisciplinary associations, Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics, has teamed with Cureus, an innovative online open-access medical journal, to bring together clinicians, scientists, engineers and policy makers from multiple disciplines who share this aspiration of improving patient care. The two cutting edge organizations believe their partnership is essential to bring about advances in neurosurgery, radiology, neurology, stem cell research, nanotechnology and psychiatry.

“Cureus is a free, open access, peer-reviewed journal that rapidly publishes a broad range of medical science including all types of articles, posters and meeting abstracts,” said John Adler, Professor of Neurosurgery at Stanford University and Cureus Founder.

Cureus’ browser based tools enable well written articles to be routinely peer reviewed and published in less than one week. The journal is the first and only journal employing “crowd sourcing” to ascertain the scientific quality of published peer-reviewed articles. While accepting a broad range of medical science, Cureus focuses on advanced technology and innovative medical procedures. Additionally, case reports are enthusiastically welcomed and routinely published.

“Cureus seeks to find the broadest possible audience for every paper, including curious patients, and uniquely offers a “Patient Reported Outcome” section that runs in parallel with articles reporting clinical outcomes,” stated John Adler.

Cureus also uniquely supports the solicitation of charitable gifts to an author’s not-for-profit research fund; this could be a great tool for SBMT, which is a non-profit organization that encourages scientists in areas of brain mapping, engineering, stem cells, nanotechnology, imaging, and medical devices to improve the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients with neurological disorders.

“We believe this collaboration will provide an additional tool for our colleagues and members who are thinking out of the box and taking a multidisciplinary approach to solving complex neurological disorders,” said Dr. Ramin Rak, SBMT board member and neurosurgeon at Winthrop University.

Cureus and SBMT will be exhibiting their vision at the Congress of Neurological Surgeons in Boston, MA next week from October 20-22 at booth 660 in the exhibit hall of the Boston Convention Center.

To learn more about SBMT, visit

Cureus in the Field: A Visit to Carl Zeiss Meditec

ZEISS 1 A few members of the Cureus team recently took some time out of their day to visit the folks over at Carl Zeiss Meditec in warm, sunny Dublin, California. (Weather that is, sadly, all too rare here in San Francisco.) The purpose of our visit was to provide a wrap-up of the recently concluded ZEISS/Cureus Intraoperative Fluorescence Publishing Competition.

We delivered the final competition statistics and took a look at all of the great articles submitted as part of the competition. We can’t thank ZEISS enough for taking a chance on this original and exciting marketing opportunity, an opportunity that both parties can now comfortably label a success!

Stay tuned for more information on future Cureus publishing competitions and feel free to reach out to us at if your organization is interested in learning more about this exciting opportunity!



ZEISS & Cureus Intraoperative Fluorescence Competition Results

Five months, ten published articles and countless article views later, we’ve finally arrived at the finish line. Cureus would like to thank all of the submitting authors for their excellent work, the reviewer panel for their tireless efforts and the Cureus community for pitching in to read and score the articles. By publishing ten articles on the topic of microscope-integrated intraoperative fluorescence, we’ve managed to increase the world literature on the topic by roughly 27%!

Additionally, the competition has thus far generated 19,617 article views and 377 article scorings – we’re beyond excited that our authors’ work has generated such a fevered response.

As a reminder, prizes are awarded to three articles: The Grand Prize for Scientific Acclaim ($3,000) is awarded to the article with the highest SIQ score. Educator Awards ($1,000 each) are awarded to two articles: the most viewed article and the article receiving the most audience engagement (SIQ scorings + comments).

Without further ado, we’re pleased to announce the winning articles of the ZEISS/Cureus Intraoperative Fluorescence Publishing Competition:

Grand Prize for Scientific Acclaim (7.5 SIQ): “A Bioengineered Peptide that Localizes to and Illuminates Medulloblastoma: A New Tool with Potential for Fluorescence-Guided Surgical Resection” by Ackerman, Wilson, Kahn, Kintzing, Jindal, Cheshier, Grant & Cochran

Educator Award (6,713 article views): “The Use of 5-ALA in Glioblastoma Resection: Two Cases with Long-Term Progression-Free Survival” by Awad & Sloan

Educator Award (92 audience actions): “Intraoperative Photodynamic Surgery (iPDS) with Acridine Orange for Musculoskeletal Sarcomas​” by Kusuzaki, Matsubara, Satonaka, Matsumine, Nakamura, Sudo, Murata, Hosogi & Baldini

Winning submitting authors will be contacted with additional instructions for claiming their prizes.

Complete competition statistics:

  • 19,617 article views
  • 377 SIQ scorings
  • 80 author and audience article shares
  • 670 clicks resulting from these shares
  • 8 minutes – the average engagement time per user

Thanks again to all of the competition authors, reviewers and community members for helping determine our winners. Please feel free to contact us at if you’d like to learn more about our publishing competitions.

The Wonders of the Cured U.S. Ebola Patients

I should preface this post by saying that I am not a doctor, nor am I in medical school. I’m just a guy, albeit a guy who works for Cureus and lives with a doctor, and therefore a guy who is very keen on following all the latest advancements and breakthroughs in the world of medicine.  With this morning’s news that Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol have been discharged from Emory University Hospital, a positive ray of light has pierced the seemingly ever-present storm clouds hovering over the world, whether one looks to the Russia/Ukraine border, Ferguson, Missouri or the Gaza Strip.

From the New York Times:

The two American aid workers who were the first patients ever to be treated for the Ebola virus at a hospital in the United States have been released, capping a transcontinental medical drama that stirred public debate about whether any American with the virus should have been allowed to return.

Emory University Hospital, which admitted Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol to a specialized isolation ward earlier this month, said both were discharged after at least two weeks of treatment. Dr. Brantly was released on Thursday, the hospital said, after Ms. Writebol was quietly discharged on Tuesday.

While the media would have you believe that contracting Ebola is akin to a death sentence, that is simply not the case. According to WHO statistics, Liberia and Sierra Leone are reporting death rates of 56% and 43% respectively (of those infected with the disease). With the United States now standing at a 0% death rate for those treated on U.S. soil, one has to wonder if the successful treatment of Writebol and Brantly might possibly signify the beginning of more advanced treatment of this terrible disease – treatment resulting in far lower death rates than those reported in Liberia and Sierra Leone.


The exact cause of the treatment’s success has yet to be determined; it’s entirely possible that Brantly and Writebol are just two of the lucky few, with no more to it than that. If that’s not all, though, then we must all hope that the technology, medication and treatment methods used in these cases soon find there way to Africa.

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 Good luck!

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.

How Cureus Deals with Article Retractions

Every journal deals with article retractions – it’s an ugly truth of the business. At Cureus we strive to produce a transparent publishing process and part of that is dealing with retractions. Cureus was recently issued its first retraction notice. As you can see from the formal statement below, the article was not merely retracted, but was also removed due to legal reasons. Once notified of the objections, we immediately removed the article and began work to display retractions in a way that enables readers to learn why the article was retracted and (if there are no legal restrictions) continue on and read the offending article.

After coordinating with both authors and the offended parties, we are now in a position to provide additional information as to why the article was not only retracted, but removed. Again, we recognize and appreciate the need for transparency when it comes to medical science and our new system for displaying retractions is another step towards the goal of complete transparency throughout the publishing process.

Our formal statement on the matter, which can also be seen here, where the article was originally posted, reads as follows:

It has been brought to our attention that the article, “Novel Determinants of Tumour Radiosensitivity Post Large Scale Compound Library” was published without the consent of the study’s Principal Investigator, Dr Geoffrey Higgins of Oxford University, and that the data included is commercially sensitive. Given the weight of evidence offered by the Principal Investigator and the Head of Department at the University of Oxford, where this research was carried out, the article has been withdrawn from the journal.

Related article: Retraction Watch

Cureus Authors in the News: Dr. Laura Esserman’s I-SPY TRIAL

Dr. Laura Esserman, the principal investigator for the I-SPY adaptive studies and a contributing author to Cureus, has been working with Puma Biotechnology to assess neratinib for metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer. Why is this newsworthy, you say? Well, the I-SPY TRIAL is paving the way for accelerated regulatory review of new drug combinations, enabling potentially life-saving medicine to get to market faster than ever before.

This emphasis on accelerated efficiency and quality is similar to that of Cureus. We value speed and efficiency (although never at the expense of quality) in publishing important medical science and providing free access to this knowledge all across the world.

Many in the medical community have closely watched and waited for word on the study’s results, as the spotlight afforded by this research has shone brightly on both the I-SPY TRIAL and Dr. Esserman.

As a key contributor to Cureus, we couldn’t be prouder and more encouraged by these exciting developments made possible by all the hard work of Dr. Esserman and her team. And we’re not the only ones, as there has been plenty of positive media coverage as well, including this report on NBC Nightly News.

The good folks over at OncLive recently caught up with Dr. Esserman, and she had this to say regarding recent I-SPY 2 TRIAL:

If you’d like to learn more, there’s no better place to go than directly to the source – click here to check out the original journal article, A Model for Accelerating Identification and Regulatory Approval of Effective Investigational Agents, only on Cureus.

Related articles

Luxury vs. Quality: Why Journal Prestige Doesn’t Guarantee Good Science

In an op-ed in last week’s The Guardian, this year’s Nobel Laureate in Medicine, Randy Schekman, declared that he would no longer be publishing his papers in the big prestigious “luxury” journals that have dominated scientific discourse for generations such as Science, Nature and Cell. Dr. Schekman declares that the processes required for publishing in these journals have distorted the “incentives” for creating quality science and thereby undermine humanity’s deep and abiding interest in scientific progress. In his op-ed, Schekman recounts numerous instances of big name journals publishing articles on popular “sexy” subjects at the expense of quality, efficiency, and at times, truth.

Sadly the marketing of science, even within what should be the most objective of scientific forums, i.e. peer-reviewed publication, appears to not be that different than Louis Vuitton handbags and Rolex watches. If the LV brand label is attached, the handbag is widely assumed to be high quality! Alternatively among many consumers (readers) of scientific journals, if Nature publishes an article, it is assumed to be good science. But truthfully, how many handbags are merely cheap knock-offs of what is currently fashionable? While this analogy may make many scientists recoil in horror, there is clearly an element of truth which makes it so painful.

The rewards for publishing in the big name journals can make careers for many a determined academic; in the process of academic promotion, the importance of the journal in which an article is published, as typically measured by journal impact factor, has become the primary yardstick for assessing quality and importance. But is it? Yes, the average article in a prestigious journal is very good, but not all published papers within such journals are necessarily good or important.

The converse argument is important to emphasize; through the lens of hindsight, many great peer-reviewed articles were published in less than famous journals. Despite this reality, nearly all promotion committees continue to fawn over journal brand names. Shockingly, one is left to conclude that even scholarly groups are incapable of or unwilling to, read the articles of young academics and gauge for themselves the quality of a scientist’s work.

The above reality has corrupted the truth and beauty that is supposedly at the core of scientific publication. Most troublingly, in (seemingly) rare cases unscrupulous academics will of course stop at nothing to publish in luxury journals, even if it means scientific fraud. Can the madness spawned around prestige journals, some of which are nearly two centuries old, be reversed? Fortunately yes. The move towards publishing in online open access journals is gradually shaking up the antiquated and counterproductive world of publishing. When reading open access journals, the reader is compelled to judge for themselves the quality of the science being presented. From many vantage points, but especially because of its unique crowd sourcing tool (SIQ), a measure of paper quality, almost no journal is better positioned than Cureus to fix the very broken world of scientific publishing.

Related articles