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Medical Physics Workshop: An Update On the Journal’s Improvement Activities and Guidance On Writing and Reviewing Papers

J Williamson

S Das

M Goodsitt

J Williamson1*, S Das2*, M Goodsitt3*, (1) Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, (2) University North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, (3) University Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI


10:00 AM : Vision for Medical Physics and Status of Current Initiatives - J Williamson, Presenting Author
10:15 AM : Improving Manuscript Quality Via Structured Reviews, Enhanced Scientific Category Taxonomy, and Outreach - S Das, Presenting Author
10:30 AM : Writing Good Scientific Papers and Responding to Critiques - M Goodsitt, Presenting Author

TH-C-204-0 (Thursday, August 4, 2016) 10:00 AM - 10:55 AM Room: 204

Medical Physics Workshop: An update on the Journal’s improvement activities and guidance on writing and reviewing papers

In this presentation, the Editors will outline our vision for the future of Medical Physics and review recent work-in-progress initiatives to implement this vision. Finally, we will close with guidance to authors on how to write a good Medical Physics paper. A major focus will be the transition to a new publisher in 2017 following a more than 40-year association with American Institute of Physics Publishing (AIPP).

Vision for Medical Physics and status of current initiatives:
Jeff Williamson, Editor-in-Chief

The broad vision of Medical Physics is “to continue the Journal’s tradition of publishing the very best science that propels our discipline forward and improves our contribution to patient care.” More concretely, the Journal should be the preeminent forum for exchange of cutting edge medical physics science. We seek to identify the best contributions in (a) high impact clinical physics innovations; (b) clinical translation and validation of basic science innovations; and (c) cutting edge basic science developments with potential for patient care improvements. Among the challenges and opportunities we face are: electronic-only and open access publishing; competition from new radiological science journals; trends towards more interactive, social-media based scientific communities; and diversification of the medical physics research, authorship, and readership domains, including clinical applications quite foreign to core ABR clinical competencies. Recently implemented and ongoing initiatives include:

1)Revised Table of Contents (TOC) and more contemporary topical submission categories
2)Structured review template in HTML format
3)Comprehensive hierarchical taxonomy for identifying reviewer expertise
4)Formal process for soliciting high quality and impact Review and Vision 20/20 Articles

We have recruited four Review Article Co-editors: John Rowlands and Ingrid Reiser (imaging physics) and Joao Seco and Tim Zhu (therapy physics). The Co-Editors will identify timely topics and solicit high profile authors to submit review manuscripts. To submit an article, authors will need to work with an assigned Co-Editor to develop a mutually acceptable outline and abstract.

5)A new and exciting class of articles: Medical Physics Dataset Articles (MPDAs)

MPDAs describe scientifically or clinically valuable open-access datasets with high potential for contributing to the research of medical physicists working on related problems. In contrast to Research Articles, MPDAs should not include hypothesis testing; or data analyses supporting generalizable conclusions. The publically accessible dataset must be permanently archived before the MPDA can be published. This initiative is being led by Joe Deasy.

Update on new publisher transition: The transition of AAPM scientific publishing operations to a major publishing house is a major opportunity to expand Medical Physics readership and its scholarly impact. The advantages include: (a) common manuscript management and web hosting platforms for Medical Physics and its sister journal, JACMP; (b) greater than 4-fold expansion of subscribing institutions; and (c) resources to mount data-driven, highly targeted marketing campaigns to enhance citation and download rates. A transition update of this epochal development, which has only begun as of this writing (3/31/16), will be given.

Improving manuscript quality via structured reviews, enhanced scientific category taxonomy, and outreach:
Shiva Das, Therapy Physics Editor

Medical Physics is committed to continuous improvement with the ultimate goal of improving the potential impact of accepted manuscripts. In order to do so, Medical Physics must be able to tap into important/emerging areas and be able to select high quality contributions consistently via discerning reviews. Improving the quality of reviews is crucial to selecting high quality manuscripts and also to improving manuscript impact via feedback in the review process. With this in mind, Medical Physics is in the process of: (a) fostering outreach to important areas that are currently underrepresented in Medical Physics; (b) implementing a structured template review form; and (c) implementing a comprehensive scientific category taxonomy to identify reviewers who are best suited to an article. Outreach efforts have begun to various scientific areas. Strategies to increase submissions from these areas will be discussed. As a consequence of this effort, a special issue on particle therapy is under development. A review template was implemented in late 2014 on a limited test basis. Based on reviewer feedback, the template was restructured and shortened to capture essential review elements. The restructured template is due to be released shortly. The new scientific category taxonomy is in the process of being deployed to reviewers and associate editors. Salient aspects of the structured review template and scientific category taxonomy will be discussed in this talk.

Writing good scientific papers and responding to critiques:
Mitch Goodsitt, Imaging Physics Editor

The essential components of the abstract, introduction, methods, discussion and conclusion sections of manuscripts, as well as the desired writing style and style of the figures and tables will be reviewed. Publishable Medical Physics manuscripts must include clear and concise statements of the novelty and clinical and/or scientific importance of the authors’ work. Examples of novelty include: new technical solution to an important clinical problem; new generalizable knowledge; and first demonstration that an existing engineering solution solves a clinical problem. Please note that we encourage authors of recently published conference proceedings (e.g., SPIE, IEEE) papers on novel medical physics related work to submit more substantial versions of that work to our journal. All submissions must include: sufficient background information and rationale; enough detail for others to reproduce the authors’ work; sufficient statistical analysis to refute or validate the authors’ hypotheses; a description of how the present work compares to, is distinct from, and improves upon others’ work; and sections devoted to the limitations of the study and future directions. Writing should be polished. Poor wording, grammar and composition frustrate the review process. Our journal does not have copyeditors for revising manuscripts. When authors receive critiques from the referees and associate editor, the authors should provide a detailed point-by-point response to each comment. The authors’ rebuttal should include the text of the original criticism, the authors’ response, and a pasted copy of the modified text along with the line numbers in the revised article. The new text should be highlighted in a different font color in the revised submission. Following these recommendations will improve submissions and facilitate the review process.


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