The RSNA Editorial Fellowship was established at a most opportune time for me. I had been in academic Radiology for about 6 years, had a decent number of publications under my belt, was actively involved in research projects, and had quite a lot of experience presenting at most if not all of the major international and regional meetings. I had just been appointed founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Hong Kong College of Radiologists (JHKCR). The first issue had been published and the second issue was in press when I began my fellowship.
Starting up a new journal was very hard work and a most unique and challenging experience that not many radiologists have the opportunity to receive. Although I had been reviewing manuscripts and sat on the editorial boards of a few journals, actually running a journal is a completely different kettle of fish. Talking to the chief editors and visiting the editorial offices of the few established nonradiologic medical journals in Hong Kong and Singapore helped me a lot. However, nothing beat having the uninterrupted and undisturbed period of being immersed in the daily operations of two major radiologic journals, Radiology and RadioGraphics, and spending time at the RSNA Publications Department at Oak Brook, Ill, during the 3 weeks prior to the RSNA Annual Meeting and Scientific Assembly.
Both Radiology and RadioGraphics have differing roles and missions. Their editors, A. V. Proto and W. W. Olmsted, also have markedly different personal styles. Having spent time with both of them at close quarters, I realized that what they did have in common was their total commitment to their respective journals and their deep sense of mission and responsibility to the readers, authors, and our specialty as a whole. I realised that just being a top researcher or prolific writer is not enough for journal editorship; one needs vision and, definitely, passion. Selecting a suitable editor for a journal is therefore not an easy task.
Besides reviewing and editing manuscripts, I was also interested in all aspects of manuscript processing and the publication process, as I was keen to adopt some of these processes to improve the JHKCR. I gained a lot of insight through lively discussions not only with the journal editors but also with publications staff in charge of areas such as the management, operations, manuscript tracking, manuscript editing, illustrations, production, and advertising. Although I left Hong Kong to return home to Singapore in 2000, JHKCR benefited greatly from the changes that I implemented after the RSNA Editorial Fellowship, and the knowledge gained will help improve journals that I am currently editing, namely, SGH Proceedings (of which I am Editor) and the Singapore Medical Journal (of which I am Deputy Editor).
Besides the points I have mentioned in the preceding paragraphs, what I have gained is an insight about the workings of two top-notch journals. I have been able to correct misconceptions voiced by many of my colleagues and acquaintances regarding the RSNA publications, acting as an informal roving ambassador of sorts. My fellowship has inspired me to form a regional association of academic radiologists, and we conducted the First Regional Workshop on Medical Writing for Radiologists, in Singapore in January 2002. To my pleasant surprise, we discovered a wide interest in learning, as well as a need to learn, to write effectively among radiologists in the South and Southeast Asian region, and we will be organizing our second regional workshop, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in October 2002. The third workshop is planned for April 2003 in Sri Lanka.
Who will benefit from this fellowship? It is definitely not for a novice or someone who wants to learn how to write or review. The candidate should have a proven track record of publishing in peer-reviewed journals and have experience in manuscript reviewing. Such a candidate would normally be considered an expert or at least a rising star in his or her chosen subspecialty and should have presented, preferably in both oral and exhibit formats, at international scientific meetings. Ideally, the candidate will be able to contribute during the fellowship period and continue to develop his or her abilities following the fellowship. It is hoped this fellowship will act to identify and nurture future leaders in academic Radiology, who will be able to better serve our community, at home and internationally.