Lawrence Henderson, the great Harvard physician and teacher, summarized Hippocrates' approach to living as follows:
The physician must have firsthand, intimate, habitual, intuitive familiarity with things; secondly, systematic knowledge of things; and thirdly, an effective way of thinking about things.
It is out of respect for these foundations that the instructions for authors for the Journal of Pediatrie Ophthalmology and Strabismus have been extensively revised. I encourage all readers and potential contributors to the JPO&S to spend a few moments reading the new guidelines (see page 7 of this issue of the Journal.) The changes, which are the result of careful thought, discussion, and approval by the Editorial Board, will serve several important purposes.
The noted philosopher, Charles Peirce once stated, "A few clear ideas are worth more than many confused ones." In keeping with these words, abstracts will now be in the "structured format." This will provide the reader with a well-organized and concise summary of each major article. This is particularly useful for potential readers who access on-line services to peruse abstracts of published literature. Of course, the Editorial Board hopes that subscribers will want to read all the articles in each issue of the Journal. But for those who choose to sift and winnow through the journals that cross their transom, a structured abstract will permit a more informed choice.
Along with the new instructions to authors, the look of the Journal will change somewhat. Each issue will be organized into recognizable sections beginning with Major Articles, which will consist of original clinical and laboratory investigations. The Short Subject section will consist of case reports, descriptions of instrumentation, and surgical techniques. Until now, there have not been separate and specific instructions for articles of these types. The new author guidelines are specific with respect to format and length for Short Subjects. To rephrase the poet, William Blake, when it comes to Short Subjects, the road of excess is a detour from the palace of wisdom!
As previously stated, I believe the Journal should be a vehicle for exploring new and creative ways to disseminate scientific information.1 Beginning with an upcoming issue, the Journal will introduce a Current Concepts section. This will be a place for concisely written practical updates, written by invited experts, on subjects that should be of interest to the pediatrie ophthalmologist, yet are not typically covered in ophthalmic literature. They will cover a broad range of topics including general pediatrics (eg, current antibiotic therapy, new advances in immunology), neuro-radiology, and genetics, to name a few.
One of my major goals has been to have the Editorial Office run as efficiently as possible, in hopes of minimizing the turn-around time for handling of submitted manuscripts.1 Many of the new instructions were designed to facilitate that end. I believe the Journal's policy of masking reviewers to the identity of the authors is admirable. However, the time required to physically mask a manuscript that was not written in a masked format by the authors seriously impedes the Editorial Office from reaching our goal of expethency. The new instructions offer specific guidelines to authors on masking their submissions. As one might expect, many of these differ from requirements of journals that do not have a masked review process. It is, therefore, important that all potential authors be familiar with our new submission guidelines. After a several-month phase-in period, manuscripts must be submitted in the proper format before the review process can be set in motion.
1. Kushner BJ. Puma on a leash: a note from the new editor-in-chief J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus. 1994;31:210-211.