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  • Birgit Ertl-Wagner, MD: 2012 Eyler Editorial Fellow

  • My decision to apply for the RSNA William R. Eyler Editorial Fellowship was prompted by a longstanding interest in radiologic publishing and editing, which I consider to be a major motor of scientific and educational progress. I have been active in radiologic publishing, not only as an author of scientific publications, review articles, and text books, but also as an active regular reviewer for numerous imaging journals and as an associate editor for the Journal of the American College of Radiology. Moreover, I have a vested interest in educational aspects of radiologic publishing and editing as the current chairperson of the Education Committee of the European Society of Radiology.

    I consider the journals Radiology and RadioGraphics to be excellent examples on how exceptional science and lifelong learning can be promoted by superb medical editorship. Both journals have become important companions for me throughout my career, from radiology residency to my current position as full professor and section chief at the University of Munich, Germany.

    I was, therefore, thrilled when I was informed of my selection as the William R. Eyler Fellow for 2012. I started my fellowship with a 2-week stay at the Radiology Editorial Office in Boston, Massachusetts, from August 6 to 18. I was warmly welcomed by editor Herbert Y. Kressel, MD, senior deputy editor Deborah Levine, MD, and the wonderful office staff. My stay at the Radiology editorial office in Boston combined teaching sessions on various topics with hands-on experience in reviewing manuscripts, processing revisions, and making editorial decisions. A binder and CD-ROMs were handed to me that contain very helpful and high-quality educational material on radiologic publishing and editing. Contents that were covered in the educational sessions included the set-up of manuscripts, problems with blinding, conflict of interest, selection of reviewers, turn-around times, making editorial decisions, processing original submissions, processing revisions and updates, processing CME and book reviews, editing manuscripts, common statistical and methodological errors, the principles of STARD, differences between a general journal and a specialty journal, duplicate submissions, ethical issues in medical publishing, dealing with disgruntled authors or reviewers, and following a manuscript through the process of reviewing and editing. One of the highlights of each week was the deputy editors´ meeting, during which manuscripts under consideration for potential acceptance were discussed in detail among the editor, the deputy editors, and the statistical consultant.

    At the same time, I gained practical expertise by reviewing and editing manuscripts, processing revisions, writing summaries of manuscripts for the deputy editors´ meeting, preparing accept letters, and participating in the editorial decision making.

    Directly after my 2-week stay at the Radiology editorial office, I was very fortunate to be able to participate in the international Editors´ Forum. During this forum, numerous editors of imaging journals from around the world met to discuss important topics in radiologic editing and publishing. As a guest speaker, Marie McVeigh from Thomson Reuters shared her insight on the creation of impact factors and their relevance for imaging journals. Further topics that were covered during the meeting were the use and potential misuse of self-citation, reviewer templates, peer-review triage, trainee reviewers, the mentoring of new reviewers, the validity and variability of the disclosure process, and open access publishing.

    From August 29 to 30, 2012, I visited the RSNA Publications Department in Oak Brook, Illinois. Again, I was warmly welcomed by Roberta Arnold, the Assistant Executive Director, Marian Strassner, and the entire staff of the Publications and Communications Division. I gained insights into the various stages of the production process, including production tracking, production schedule, production logs, copyrights and permissions, copy-editing, and the layout of figures and articles. Moreover, I was introduced to the various aspects of the online versions of the journals, to the role of social networking, and to journal article press releases. Also, I was shown the manuscript submission and the peer-review processes for Radiographics.

    On September 4–5, 2012, I visited the RadioGraphics Editorial Office in Burlington, Vermont. Jeffrey Klein, MD, the editor, and Elisabeth Allen warmly welcomed me to the new in the Maltex Building (former production site of the maple-flavored cereal Maypo). I was introduced to the journal´s method of soliciting articles, to the portfolio of topics and editorial planning, and to specific reviewing aspects of RadioGraphics, as well as to the editing and layout of articles and figures for RadioGraphics. Moreover, we discussed various options for online features of the journal, as well as the future perspectives of the journal.

    During the 98th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the RSNA in November 2012, I was able to take part in the Radiology and RadioGraphics Editorial Board meetings and reviewer meetings and to present my experiences during the Eyler Fellowship. I was also privileged to serve on the RadioGraphics reviewing panel for neuroradiology exhibits under the lead of Laurie A. Loevner, MD, which, again, was an important learning experience.

    The entire Eyler Fellowship has been an enormously rewarding learning experience for me and I feel deeply honored to have been offered this outstanding opportunity. I gained both an in-depth didactic and a hands-on experience into medical editing and feel very well prepared for future endeavors in the field, including manuscript writing, reviewing, and editing. I was especially intrigued by the sincere determination to promote excellent science and by the deep level of respect for the readers, authors, reviewers, editors, and co-workers that could be felt in both journals and in the RSNA Publications Department. There was an exceptional and contagious esprit de corps under the auspices of science. I sincerely thank each of my wonderful mentors during my fellowship for making it such a lastingly rewarding experience, and I look forward to continuous collaboration with both journals and the RSNA. I can recommend this fellowship for everyone with a deep-set interest in science and medical editorship.


    Birgit B. Ertl-Wagner, MD, MHBA Professor of Radiology University of Munich – Grosshadern Campus – Germany