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  • Douglas S. Katz, MD: 1999 Eyler Editorial Fellow

  • Questions and Answers for Potential RSNA Editorial Fellows

    What will the fellow's role be in the Radiology Editorial Office?
    The editorial fellow will function at the Deputy Editor level for 2 weeks. This is a working—not an observatory—fellowship. He or she will perform many functions including original reviews of manuscripts, deputy reviews of manuscripts with conflicting verdicts in the original cycle of peer review, and surveys of manuscripts in later cycles to check for completeness of author revisions. The fellow will learn to rapidly and effectively assess multiple manuscripts in a single several-hour session. The fellow will participate in daily manuscript meetings with the Editor, where final verdicts are rendered on manuscripts at the completion of peer review. The fellow will spend multiple sessions with the Editor and the Editorial Office staff, learning the complex processes of manuscript tracking and journal preparation. Detailed instruction is provided on journal construction-a process that is usually a large "black box" to individual authors—including individual issue construction, ordering of articles, and figure preparation and layout. Mechanisms for equitable and timely peer review and for reviewer assignment and tracking are also covered. The new online submission and review process will be explained, as well. The fellow will also spend a day at the local Cadmus Professional Communications publishing facility to view actual journal production. The fellow will also be provided with relevant written materials (here at Radiology and throughout the fellowship), which can be reviewed at his/her leisure in the future.

    As an RSNA Editorial Fellow, will I really learn what is involved in being an Editor of a major medical journal?
    Most certainly. Even experienced authors and reviewers truly have no idea what it is like to run a major medical journal. The fellow will learn that it is analogous to being the conductor of an orchestra—numerous contributions from authors, reviewers, and journal production and editing staff must be coordinated in a harmonious, fair, and cool-headed manner while using precise timing and while under great pressure. To stretch the analogy a bit further, the Editor's job is even more challenging than a conductor's because, unlike the orchestra conductor, the Editor has to coordinate all of these contributions as they come from around the world, not just from one room. The Editor doesn't really get a chance to step off the podium—the cycles of manuscript submission, peer review, and journal production are constantly in motion. The fellow will also be given extraordinary exposure—in confidence—to the decisions facing the Editors of [Radiology and RadioGraphics on a daily basis, and every aspect of the operations of the Editorial Offices and the RSNA Publications Office will be open and visible to the fellow during the fellowship.

    What will the editorial fellow learn at the RadioGraphics Office?
    The fellow will be able to compare and contrast the operations of the two journals, which have very different missions and production cycles. The fellow will also learn that many of the same skills of medical journalism readily carry over from one journal to the other. As at Radiology, the Editor and Editorial staff at RadioGraphics will spend significant time in one-on-one tutorial sessions, covering all aspects of the functioning of the Editorial Office. Additionally, as at [i]Radiology[/i], ethical issues in [i]Radiology[/i] journalism (and medical journalism in general) will be discussed.

    What parts of journal production will be covered in the RSNA Publication Office?
    This is the biggest "black box," and the experience is eye opening—again, even experienced authors and reviewers have absolutely no idea how involved the process of journal production is. The fellow will gain insight into why it takes months for articles to go from initial submission to publication. Every step along the way is demonstrated to the fellow by the Publication Office staff. In particular, the fellow will spend time with the manuscript editors, who have an especially demanding job of conveying each author's message while crafting the journal each month with uniformity, clarity, and accuracy. The fellow will learn about topics such as levels of editing. Online medical journalism, which is increasing in importance and is evolving, will also be reviewed in detail.

    What are some unexpected things that the editorial fellow will learn during the course of the fellowship?
    The fellow will learn that running a major medical journal takes numerous skill sets that authors and reviewers don't think about, especially supreme organizational skills. He/she will learn that there are innumerable layers of editing, review, and coordination that go into each issue and that are hidden from the reader. The fellow will also learn that manuscripts on topics outside of the fellow's particular area(s) of subspecialty expertise are nearly as readily critiqued and reviewed. The fellow will also gain new appreciation as an individual author and reviewer when his/her work is submitted for possible publication. The fellow may also be surprised at how much of a contribution he/she can make. The Fellowship is a two-way, not a one-way street—the Editors and their editorial staffs and the RSNA Publications Office staff are also always learning and appreciate the thoughts and opinions of the fellows.

    What are some additional academic and educational benefits for the editorial fellow that may result from the fellowship?
    The RSNA Editorial Fellowship is a unique experience that ultimately benefits Radiology as a specialty. There are few opportunities to gain this type of experience in medical journalism. The fellow will be able to share his/her newly acquired knowledge and skills with members of his/her department (and in some cases at a regional and national level, especially if the fellow is from outside North America) and can serve as the "in-house" or regional consultant and editor. The fellow may also opt to do a research project on radiologic journalism with Radiology and/or RadioGraphics, as have previous fellows, which may lead to presentation at meetings such as the International Peer Review Congress. The fellow will also be well prepared to carry out future tasks as requested by the Editors, such as editorial preparation and deputy review.

    Douglas S. Katz, MD Director, Body CT and Vice Chair for Clinical Research and Education Winthrop-University Hospital Associate Professor of Clinical Radiology The State University of New York at Stony Brook