Cureus Conversations: Q&A With Editor in Chief Dr. John Adler

Cureus Conversations: Q&A With Editor in Chief Dr. John Adler

Dr. John Adler is the Editor in Chief of the Cureus Journal of Medical Science and Dorothy and Thye King Chan Professor in Neurosurgery Emeritus at Stanford University.

In your opinion, what is wrong with the current system of medical publishing? 

So much of publishing is presently geared towards a small elite community of academic physicians who understand the rules of the process and have the most time to engage in the publishing “game”. This means that the ideas from these academics, many of whom are not necessarily accomplished clinicians in the real world, are most widely circulated. Of course much of this process is intended to support the academic tenure process, which needs to create at least the illusion that certain ideas are innovative as opposed to merely being the product of an observant physician. Part of this stems from an excessive reliance on statistics.

Why are some slow to embrace the Open Access philosophy?

For the above reasons, academic physicians who have dominated journals for generations are loath to see publishing democratized. Democratization threatens their exclusivity/power in communicating medical science to the world.

What motivated you to start the Cureus Journal of Medical Science?

Having spent a lifetime in academia I could see that many truly clever, experienced and innovative physicians living in the trenches of medicine had no voice within the broader world of healthcare.

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How do you measure success at Cureus?

The number, quality and reach of the articles we publish, as well as how engaged readers are with the content within.

Why should doctors and researchers publish in Cureus?

Cureus’ makes it easier and cheaper to publish a peer reviewed article than was ever possible before.

What makes a strong approval editor? What do the Cureus editors look for when critiquing medical science?

Ultimately Cureus’ most important duty is to our readers. It is somewhat ironic that Cureus’ responsibility to readers transcends that of our physician “customers”, with whom our editorial team primarily interacts. With this understanding in mind, I like it when an approval editor understand this hierarchy of accountability, approaching an article first and foremost from the reader’s perspective. Their job is not to kill/reject articles but to make sure that by reading carefully they suss out any “BS”, so that the reader has less work to do. Having said that every article, every time, by every reader should be approached with some measure of skepticism. There are no absolute truths in science. This is why our mantra is to publish “credible” science allowing the best science to “pass the test of time”.

Are you currently working on any research?

As a matter of fact, I just co-authored the following article published in Cureus: Neuromodulation via Focal Radiation: Radiomodulation Update

Cureus Peer Review Just Got a Heck of a Lot Easier

We’re pleased to announce the launch of our brand new, built-from-the-ground-up peer review tool! Any article submission started today will utilize the new system while in peer review.

Previously, we had used a third-party software tool called Crocodoc for article peer review. Our team has been hard at work creating our own proprietary system that makes reviewing an easier, more intuitive experience.

Similar to Google Docs or Microsoft Word, this new system enables reviewers to highlight text and leave comments. Each reviewer’s comments will be displayed via a unique highlighted color, while also allowing for overlapping comments.

Adding a comment
Adding a comment

Only articles created and submitted after the release will utilize this new system. All articles created before the release will still use our original peer review system. As such, please don’t be alarmed if your review experience changes from article to article!

Viewing a comment
Viewing a comment

Between the peer review and submission systems, we have now overhauled the entire publishing process in the past five months. We’re confident that submitting and reviewing articles with Cureus is easier than it has ever been, but we won’t stop working to make your experience better. Stay tuned for more exciting updates as we continue to tweak and enhance the Cureus Journal of Medical Science. Thanks for your support!

– The Cureus Team

Questions about the new peer review system? Drop us a note at support@cureus.com and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

Blinded vs Open Peer Review: What’s it Gonna Be?

The goal of any change in peer review is to improve the quality of review. Whether your journal conducts single-blinded, double-blinded or open peer review, it’s never a bad idea to take a step back and assess the review process. Are your reviewers productive and efficient? Notice any articles getting stuck in the review process? Authors eagerly (and perhaps impatiently) awaiting approval for publication?

So which should it be? Let’s take a brief look at the review types most often seen:

  • Single-blinded review – reviewers know the identity of the author, but reviewers remain anonymous
  • Double-blinded review – both reviewers and authors remain anonymous
  • Open review – both reviewers and authors are known to one another

We currently offer single-blinded review at Cureus, but we’re open to whatever results in the best possible process. What are the pros and cons of blinded and open review? Well, single-blinded reviewers don’t have to hold back when it comes to criticism.

We recently polled the Cureus community, looking for insight into the review process. Roughly 60% of respondents indicated they’d be less likely to levy harsh criticisms if participating in open peer review. OK, so then the answer must be blinded review, right? Well, not so fast – there’s also the question of review motivation. Now this problem is nothing new – indeed, most every journal has difficulty getting their reviewers to, well, review. Making the review process public could serve as a way to recognize reviewers for their contributions, while also bolstering their profiles with publicly recorded reviews.

Peer-Review-Cartoon2

So which is the right style for your journal? Unfortunately, there is no clearly defined right answer. How about giving reviewers the option? Would you choose blinded or open if given the chance?