I read with great interest Peter Suber’s account in the watershed events section of SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #155 of Elsevier’s first author fee-based (gold) open access publication, the International Journal of Case Surgery Reports (IJSCR). After all, I am the Library Liaison for Surgery at the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library, and this might be a journal to recommend.
It is perfectly clear from the journal’s self-description that they intend to publish case reports, and case reports only:
The International Journal of Surgery Case Reports is an online general surgical journal dedicating to publishing case reports only which must be authentic, understandable, educational and clinically interesting to an international audience of surgeons and clinicians in related specialties.
One of the tasks that separates medical librarians from other types of librarians is our charge to assist the teaching of Evidence-based practice (EBP) to medical residents and fellows, nurses, and even public health students. Librarians mostly teach about how to search biomedical literature and “pan for gold” or filter a search result to separate out more scientific, less biased articles from the search result that a clinician will produce. Then a clinician should appraise the discovered articles for validity and applicability. So where am I going with this summary of the basics of EBP?
One of the first conceptual tools introduced in a EBP medical library searching class is the EBM Pyramid:
So where are case reports? Near the bottom. Why? A case report is usually a single clinical case, more likely to contain the bias of the author(s) who labeled the case significant and submitted it to the journal. These authors are probably likely to only report the successful case studies and not report nor publish the ratio of clinical victory vs. clinical failure.
So if all that Elsevier is promising to publish in the International Journal of Case Surgery Reports (IJSCR) are interesting case reports, then emphasis will be more novelty than medical evidence or substance. Here are some recent articles that confirm my expectation:
- Metastatic hernial sac tumor in a patient with FUO
- Case Report of a Symptomatic Giant Renal Oncocytoma
- Arteriovenous malformation: an unusual cause of rectus sheath hematoma, following laparoscopic cholecystectomy
- An Unusual Groin Exploration: De Garengeot’s Hernia
- Disconnected subduroperitoneal shunt catheter induces silent bowel perforation: an unusual complication