Help for trainees seeking to publish case reports

Getting your first paper published can be challenging. Although writing case reports has, to a certain extent, fallen out of favour, it remains a valuable way for trainees to gain medical writing experience. Going through the process of submitting a paper and responding to academic criticism is the best way to learn the steps involved in publishing peer-reviewed work. Publications also look impressive on your CV. However, writing your first paper, even a short case report, can be daunting.

A good case report carries a strong clinical or educational message that sticks in the reader's mind - it is not just about how rare you think the case is (and your "interesting" case is rarely that rare!). At their best, case reports provide insights into disease pathogenesis - a good example being recent "molecular case reports" of next-generation sequencing studies of single patients, which have even been published in high-impact journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine.

There are, of course, a number of good resources available on the internet to help you write a clinical case report, such as the Royal College of Physician's "How to write a clinical case report". Nevertheless, we frequently receive case reports for editing that contain problems that could, at worst, prevent publication - such as a lack of patient consent or a poor review of the literature.

We can help you write an impressive and clinically valuable case report.

Whatever stage you are at - but particularly if you are a trainee - we will work collaboratively with you to write a high-quality case report. We understand that journals prefer to publish reports that have a strong clinical message or educational component, and we will help you develop a narrative that will appeal to journals and make the writing more interesting for you. We will give guidance on how to highlight the diagnostic, ethical, or management components of the case. We will also advise on which diagnostic images to select to complement the text. We can also help you create professional, multi-part figures.

We have particular experience and success with submissions to BMJ Case Reports, the American Journal of Case Reports, the International Journal of Surgery Case Reports, and the Journal of Medical Case Reports.

For further details of our services, see here.