Giving Back Through Journal Editing

Giving Back Through Journal Editing

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Since completing her two shoulder and elbow fellowships, Dr. Betsy Nolan has been editing and reviewing submissions for medical journals. The editing and review process is a way to support the profession overall and ensure quality information is shared with other orthopaedic surgeons. It’s also a way to stay informed of the latest developments and new research.

For most journals, the process involves one volunteer editor and two volunteer reviewers for each submission to determine if it fits that specific journal’s topic and audience, if the study design is appropriate for the question, and if the findings significantly add to the existing body of knowledge on that topic. An author who submits an article must include the level of evidence they believe their study represents, but the editors or reviewers may change the level of evidence rating. Most journals have a statistical reviewer, too, that focuses on the statistical analysis of the data rather than the clinical relevance of the research.

On the clinical side, Dr. Nolan values the opportunity to know what new approaches are being explored for treating shoulder and elbow concerns. From a research side, the process often sparks new questions about other areas to be studied or new technologies and techniques to incorporate into a future research study. It also helps her ensure that her own research is designed to meet the rigorous standards required for being published in a medical journal.

Dr. Nolan currently serves as Associate Editor for Continuing Medical Education for the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Assistant Editor for the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Arthroplasty, and a reviewer for the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery and for Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. In addition to reviewing shoulder and elbow articles, she also reviews continuing medical education questions and papers that fall in the education category related to training the next generation of orthopaedic surgeons for some of these journals.

Dr. Nolan sees editing and reviewing journal articles as an important opportunity to give back to the orthopaedic surgery community and ensure that quality medical information is published in each of these journals. As with other volunteer editors and reviewers, she sets aside the necessary time to edit or review journal articles and contribute to the sharing of knowledge among the orthopaedic surgery community.