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  • José M. García Santos, MD: 2009 Eyler Editorial Fellow

  • I decided to apply for the William R. Eyler Fellowship during the winter of 2008. There were at least three reasons for my application. First, I was the editor in chief of Radiología, the official journal of the Spanish Society of Radiology. Although after 4 years of experience I was quite used to the job, I considered it desirable to create benchmarks and to learn from the top journals and the top society in the field. Second, I thought the fellowship would provide me with valuable acquaintances and sources of knowledge for the future. Finally, I was sure that the experience would be of merit not only to me but to Radiología as well. I felt surprised and moved when I received the decision letter. It felt like a major achievement. 

    The Fellowship filled the month of November 2009. My first visit was 2 days at the RadioGraphics office. Thereafter, I enjoyed 2 weeks in the Radiology office. Next I went to the RSNA Headquarters for a 2-day stay; finally, during the last week of my fellowship, I attended the RSNA Annual Meeting. At this point, I must express my gratitude to my Radiology Department, the Directive Board of the University General Hospital Morales Meseguer in Murcia, Spain, and, in particular, my family. Their wholehearted support was invaluable.  

    I was introduced to my fellowship by Dr Olmsted, who from the very first made me feel comfortable. Dr Olmsted explained the rationale of the fellowship and how important it is for the publications of the RSNA. Dr Olmsted made available to me a number of books dealing with scientific journalism and the editor’s job. He continued by reviewing the structure of the RSNA and the publications direction. He then explained to me the mission of RadioGraphics and, with the assistance of Ms Cindy Rogers, I was led to understand how closely the journal relates with the educational presentations in the RSNA Annual Meeting, and, through them, the readers’ preferences. I logged in to the RadioGraphics electronic editorial tool (RGXPress) with Ms Wendy Morris. Finally, Dr Olmsted and I reviewed the RadioGraphics website, discussed ideas for the future of RadioGraphics as an online journal, and, very briefly, set out some issues on ethics in scientific medical publications.  

    I must emphasize that Dr Olmsted has, over the course of some 20 years, tried to reduce personal distances as much as possible within the RadioGraphics office—a small family is how he sees the team. He has beyond doubt succeeded, as I can attest through my experience of the working atmosphere and the friendliness of the office staff.  

    Next, came 2 weeks in Boston at the Radiology Editorial Office. Dr Kressel introduced me to the staff of the Radiology office, including Dr Levine, Senior Deputy Editor, and they all had a brief breakfast with me in the meeting room. The 2 weeks in Boston allowed me to gain valuable insights into the review, editorial decision-making, and revision processes for Radiology manuscripts. I could define this part of the fellow’s job as the basic task. I became aware of the exhaustive and often complex way all the steps are performed. I witnessed the different roles that reviewers, deputy editors, and editor in chief throughout the peer review process. As a reviewer and circumstantial deputy editor, I performed reviews and revisions of revised manuscripts. I retain the valuable learning I gained thanks to the interesting postreview and postrevision discussions with Drs Kressel and Levine.  

    Of particular interest to me was the opportunity to participate in the weekly Deputy Editors’ meeting, where manuscripts being considered for publication in Radiology after peer review were discussed. What I found especially useful in these meetings was the chance to observe the editor’s philosophy and how he weighed anticipated scientific impact over a manuscript’s shortcomings; he usually prevailed over the deputy editor’s decision should any disagreement arise.  

    I also had the opportunity to discuss, mostly with Dr Kressel but also with Dr Bankier, a deputy editor, ethical issues related to medical publications, especially redundant and fraudulent publication and conflicts of interest. We also discussed other important issues such as authorship and how to deal with disgruntled authors. I had the opportunity to explore statistical topics and the review carried out by the journal’s statisticians. As was the case in Bethesda, I also found substantial value in more informal discussions with the editors and related persons in the office, at dinners, and elsewhere, all of which enriched me so much. 

    An “RSNA welcomes Dr. García Santos” panel awaited me on November 23 when the doors of the elevator opened on the second floor of the RSNA building. This was not insignificant. It was the presentation card of one of the most surprising parts of the fellowship: the visit to the RSNA Publications Department.  

    I had been picked up at my hotel by Ms Roberta Arnold, RSNA Assistant Executive Director for Publications and Communications. At the RSNA Headquarters, I had a very competently organized visit focused on many characteristics of the RSNA journals, ranging from the peer review process to the economics and through copyediting. For example, I had not previously imagined the out-of-sight but dedicated work leading to the outstanding quality of images in Radiology and RadioGraphics pages. Certainly, quality doesn’t arise by spontaneous generation! I had an extremely interesting meeting with Ms Sue Harmon and Mr John Humpal about copy editing, a journalism topic in which I’m especially interested. As today’s medical journal contents are mainly transmitted by means of real or virtual printed pages, scientific journalism is not only a question of science but of written language as well. Through Ms Harmon and Mr Humpal and the copy editors thereafter, I became aware of the massive effort behind the pages of the printed and online versions of the RSNA journals. The RSNA is lucky to rely on these and other professionals, who retain such a level of commitment after so many years doing the job.  

    Although I usually reach RadioGraphics and Radiology through PubMed and read the journals via the printed page, after my fellowship I will be much more inclined to access these publications via their websites. In addition to ecology, the nice design, high interactive potential, upcoming novelties and endless possibilities of the Websites are powerful reasons to invest in on-line journals. 

    My responsibilities during the Annual Meeting were basically two-fold: to play a role as a RadioGraphics panelist and to attend breakfast and luncheons of both journals dedicated to their reviewers and editorial board. As a RadioGraphics panelist I dedicated a substantial part of my time during the meeting to reviewing the presentations I had been assigned. 

    I want to give thanks to Dr. Sarah Donaldson and the RSNA Board of Directors for the great honor I was awarded; to Mrs. Roberta Arnold, in representation of all the RSNA publications staff at the RSNA Headquarters; and to Dr. Herbert Kressel, Dr. Deborah Levine and Dr. William Olmsted, editors of the RSNA journals, for their kind attention and the time they invested in my education as a fellow. I will keep this experience forever. 

    José M. García Santos, MD  

    RSNA William R. Eyler Editorial Fellow 2009 

    José M. García Santos, MD Head of Neuroradiology and Head & Neck Imaging Hospital General Universitario Morales Meseguer Murcia, Spain