BMJ Case Reports: Publishing, Sharing, and Learning Through Experience

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  • This article was downloaded by: [Tufts University]On: 08 October 2014, At: 14:20Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

    Journal of Electronic Resources inMedical LibrariesPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/werm20

    BMJ Case Reports: Publishing, Sharing,and Learning Through ExperienceChristee King aa The University of New Mexico , Albuquerque, New Mexico, USAPublished online: 02 Apr 2010.

    To cite this article: Christee King (2010) BMJ Case Reports: Publishing, Sharing, and LearningThrough Experience, Journal of Electronic Resources in Medical Libraries, 7:1, 79-84, DOI:10.1080/15424060903585776

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15424060903585776

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  • INFORMATION Rx

    Christee King, Column Editor

    BMJ Case Reports: Publishing, Sharing, andLearning Through Experience

    CHRISTEE KINGThe University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

    The British Medical Group (publishers of the British MedicalJournal) has created a unique product composed of case reportswritten by subscribers. BMJ Case Reports presents an opportunityfor physicians in residencies and fellowships to become publishedauthors. This article will review the contents and navigation ofthe BMJ Case Reports product and suggest which users may benefitmost by subscribing.

    KEYWORDS BMJ, BMJ Case Reports, British Medical Group, CaseReports

    INTRODUCTION

    BMJ Case Reports was created in response to a perceived need in the journalliterature of health care. It also provides an opportunity for a wide variety ofprofessionals in training to publish a peer-reviewed case report for therelatively low price of a subscription. In addition, it offers a search engineto the High Wire group of medical journals.

    WHY A CASE REPORTS DATABASE?

    In creating BMJ Case Reports, the British Medical Group (publishers of theBritish Medical Journal) has taken advantage of a trend in journal publishing.

    Address correspondence to Christee King, Column Editor, The Health Sciences Libraryand Informatics Center, MS09-5100, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM87131-0001, USA. E-mail: Cking@salud.unm.edu

    Journal of Electronic Resources in Medical Libraries, 7:7984, 2010Copyright # Taylor & Francis Group, LLCISSN: 1542-4065 print=1542-4073 onlineDOI: 10.1080/15424060903585776

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  • The trend is to no longer publish case reports in journals. A number of factorshave contributed to this decision on the part of editors across the fields ofmedicine. The availability of electronic uploads for submitting reportsresulted in a large number of reports being submitted, which clogged thereview process and slowed publication times. At the same time, a tighteningof requirements for patient consent to publish any identifiable informationhad the opposite effect. Also, some prestigious journals removed case reportsbecause they were rarely cited, potentially pulling down the impact factor ofthe title. A 1999 article in the British Journal of Psychiatry summed it up:The main criticisms of case studies are that they are anecdotal, unrepeatable,uncontrolled, unrepresentative and subjectively interpreted.1 Into thisvacuum steps the British Medical Group with its new offering BMJ CaseReports. Dr. Dean Jenkins, editor, writes eloquently in a November 14,2008, blog titled What Shall We Do with Case Reports?

    The challenge of medicine is not only in managing the routine and wellresearched, but in recognizing the strange . . . . A report that is wellobserved and linked to the published literature can be valuable even ifthere is nothing unique in the detail of the case. Lessons learnt, documen-ted and shared, even if they are old lessons, are beneficial. We welcome arange of styles of cases to BMJ Case Reports but they must, at least, ident-ify some new scientific information or have a clear educational messagethat is useful to a general audience.2

    BUSINESS MODEL

    Subscribers are referred to as Fellows. Only personal or institutionalFellows may submit case reports, and only Fellows are able to see the fulltext of case reports and images. Personal fellowship fees are currentlyUS$180, 95, and 4130 (plus VAT Value-Added-Tax) for 12 monthsaccess. Institutional pricing is based on Relevant FTEs, which for aca-demic libraries includes medical faculty, academic staff, students, andresearchers in health sciences, nursing, medicine, psychiatry, and so forth.This type of pricing usually amounts to much work for libraries and needsto be updated each year in order to calculate an accurate price. A moreclear-cut pricing model would be welcome.

    PERSONAL SIGN-IN

    By creating a personal account, users can sign up to receive RSS feeds of (1)recent articles, (2) most read articles, (3) most cited articles, and (4) the BMJCase Reports blog. E-mail alerts when cases are published are also available.

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  • NAVIGATION

    BMJ Case Reports is constructed as a site within a site. The Case Reportsproduct is wrapped in a larger BMJ product group, which includes whatcould be termed advertising for other BMJ products, as shown in Figure 1.A row of choices along the top may, for instance, lead the searcher off toa BMJ Careers site with lots of flashing promotional advertisements. Thereis no obvious way to return to Case Reports except by using the back arrow.

    Even within the Case Reports site itself, it can be a little confusing toknow where one is. Fortunately, there is a trail of breadcrumbs (productnavigation displayed in a line, showing progression through a set of pages)at the top of the page to lead you back to home. An enhancement would beto make that breadcrumb trail more prominent.

    SEARCHING

    Basic searching is offered with a Search this Site box. Phrase searches aresupported and are accomplished by placing terms in quotation marks. Singlewords by default are joined by the search engine with OR. The AND operatormust be explicitly used. This is not a commonly encountered way of retriev-ing results in U.S.-based search products. The use of nesting, truncation, andNOT for searching is also available. Basic search finds text anywhere in thearticle (see Figure 2).

    Another unusual aspect of the search engine is case sensitivity. An initialcapital letter will match only words that are capitalized. Stemming is used bythe search software to automatically find words similar to those entered intothe search box. The example given is that a search for transcription mightfind articles with transcript or transcribed.

    Advanced searching provides additional methods to refine a search,including but not limited to authors, words in the title, abstract or full text,dates, and specialties. The list of specialties is broader than the traditionalU.S. board certifications. It includes such areas as ethics, dentistry, nursing,prison medicine, and health economics. The number of citations per page

    FIGURE 1 Case Reports within the Larger BMJ Site.

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  • is adjustable, as is the choice to display best match or newest first.Display options include summary and full text.

    There is also the option to select individual reports to display and=ordownload to citation management software. EndNote, Reference Manager,ProCite, BibTex, and RefWorks for Mac and Windows are supported. Anexample of the advanced search form is shown in Figure 3.

    Tucked away at the bottom of the advanced search page are two rathercurious selections. First is search across hundreds of full-text journals, andthe second choice is to use the CrossRef Search Pilot. Selection of searchacross hundreds of fulltext journals leads to a slight variation on theadvanced search page, which includes the choice to specify journals tosearch. Two radio buttons allow the user to select either High Wire-hostedjournals or journals selected from the list at the bottom of the page. It is notclear whether the AZ list at the bottom of the page is also the High Wiretitles listed separately for individual selection. Figure 4 shows the sectionof the advanced search screen that becomes available when selecting tosearch across hundreds of full-text journals.

    In many cases, when searching either High Wire or the AZ list, PDFs arefreely available. In others, a price is given to purchase access. Institutional sub-scribers may utilize link-resolvers to provide full text of their subscribed journals.

    FIGURE 2 Basic search results screen.

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  • FUTURE DIRECTIONS

    The BMJ Group plans to apply to be indexed in PubMed in the near future.Inclusion in PubMed will add value to the publication for the Fellows whoparticipate. It will also create an interesting question of how to obtain thedocuments for libraries that are not institutional subscribers.

    CONCLUSION

    With BMJ Case Reports, the British Medical Group took the opportunity to filla perceived need for publication of case reports and to assist upcominghealth professionals to become peer-reviewed authors. The product is young

    FIGURE 3 Advanced search screen.

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  • still and may be trying to do too many things. The High Wire search functionseems to go beyond the purpose of the product. Some of the search enginebehaviors will be foreign to customers in the United States. More informationabout who the editors and reviewers are would be a welcome addition.Indexing in PubMed will add to the value of BMJ Case Reports. It may proveto be more valuable to the personal subscriber than to institutions and ispriced to be accessible to individuals.

    REFERENCES

    1. Farmer, A. The Demise of the Published Case Report Is ResuscitationNecessary? British Journal of Psychiatry 174 (1999): 934.

    2. Jenkins, D. What Shall We Do with Case Reports? Available: . Accessed:November 6, 2009.

    FIGURE 4 Search across full-text journals.

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