Current issues of ACP Journal Club are published in Annals of Internal Medicine


Editorials

The commentaries in ACP Journal Club: Can you help out?

ACP J Club. 1994 Mar-April;120:A12. doi:10.7326/ACPJC-1994-120-2-A12



Many experts in various aspects of clinical practice and clinical research make important contributions to readers of ACP Journal Club by preparing commentaries for the abstracts that we prepare for publication. We would like to continue to expand and enhance our team of commentators. Any readers who are potentially interested in this role, please read on!

The function of a commentary is to provide a brief, highly expert comment on the context of each article, its methods, and clinical applications that the study's findings warrant. The most successful commentaries usually have been done by individuals with both clinical and research expertise in the clinical problem addressed by the abstracted study, a basic understanding of the methods of the study, and skill in written communication.

Our commentators must 1) be engaged in clinical practice in internal medicine or one of its subspecialties or related fields; 2) have a working knowledge of basic principles of evidence-based medicine (critical appraisal of the medical literature), clinical epidemiology, or both; 3) be able to write clearly; and 4) be willing to respond within 1 week to our request for a commentary. Only the last of these requirements is negotiable, depending on our next press deadline.

Commentators' tasks include reading the article to ensure that the abstract prepared by the ACP Journal Club staff is accurate, complete, and clear; preparing a 325-word commentary covering 1) the context of the study with respect to other studies in the area; 2) any important methodologic issues in the way the study was conducted, whether good or bad; and 3) recommendations concerning appropriate clinical applications that are supported by the study findings. Commentators must also respond to any comments from the authors of the original study after they have seen the abstract and the commentary.

The commentators for ACP Journal Club provide a valuable service for our readers. Readers who meet our criteria and want to help out are cordially invited to join our team by completing the form on page A13 and sending it to us. In addition to new commentators we would also like to hear from those commentators who have recently moved. We have “lost” some of our commentators. Nominations of others are also welcome—send us the names and addresses of people you would like to see writing commentaries, and we will approach them.

R. Brian Haynes, MD, PhD
McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada