ISSN Online: 2177-1235 | ISSN Print: 1983-5175
Between 1992 and 1997, I had the opportunity to work as the editor of this journal, and I have been working on its editorial board and as a reviewer from its first day of circulation. Currently, I am working as an associate editor. During this time, I have observed that the Brazilian plastic surgeons of the Brazilian Society of Plastic Surgery (Sociedade Brasileira de Cirurgia Plástica-SBCP) and its regional offices conduct scientific meetings, conferences, and symposiums with care and quality, which make use of high-quality oral presentations. Therefore, the younger surgeons, residents, and interns stand a chance to obtain an adequate theoretical background, without necessarily being prepared for written science. The activities that should be further developed include readings of specialized articles, learning surgical techniques during medical school, and training in the operating room, all of which would allow the performance of basic techniques and specific activities in this area of expertise and create a progressive experience. As a complement to training, the development of skills for writing scientific articles within the scientific standards of the specialized journals should be included. Unfortunately, in this respect, there is a great deficiency in the training received, and even among surgeons with high levels of expertise, those with surgical experience, and those excellent in oral presentations at symposiums, many are not trained in scientific writing, which had they been trained, would perpetuate their ideas. Some of them are department heads and assistants of services accredited by the SBCP for the training of new surgeons.
The journal , which is always striving to publish good-quality manuscripts, pays the price for this situation.
How could we jointly change this situation for the better? The professionals experienced in making presentations and developing routine work activities should ask for help from those with good writing skills. Not knowing how to write articles is not any professional demerit . These professionals also include the heads of accredited services, since many of them graduated when our journal did not exist, and it was difficult to publish outside the United States. Moreover, the graduate courses on plastic surgery were not available to teach writing theses and specialized articles.
Therefore, according to current SBCP guidelines, this learning should be applicable to interns and residents, who will be surgeons capable of perpetuating their experiences in scientific articles, ensuring the journal's future, improving its content, and consequently its impact factor.
I even defended my doctoral dissertation at the age of 60 to learn how to write scientific articles and assist other professionals . When I have doubts (which I almost always do), I turn to those with more experience. I often turn to younger and less experienced researchers who are competent in scientific writing. As I mentioned before, there is no demerit in it. In addition, those who submit an article to the journal should not feel dejected because it was refused or modifications were requested. Look for those with more experience, correct the article, and, if necessary, rewrite it. As an example, one of our articles was only accepted for publication in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery1 after the fourth attempt. This involved perseverance and conviction that our study was right, even if the reviewers had not understood it in the same way. A letter to the editor containing arguments directed at the reviewers clarified pending issues and later resulted in an invitation (which was accepted) from the journal's editor himself, Dr. Robert Goldwyn2, to write a book chapter on the topic.
The analysis of articles sent to our journal has allowed me to foresee a long and hard journey ahead because most of these articles are not yet ready for publication and should be rewritten or corrected. However, with humility and mutual help, we can achieve the required goals for the present and ensure evolution and a promising future of the SBCP.
The reviewers should be our mentors until we achieve higher technical-writing levels.
1. Bozola AR. Breast reduction with short L scar. Plast Reconstr Surg. 1990;85(5):728-38. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/00006534-199005000-00013
2. Bozola AR. Reduction Mammaplasty: Preferred Techniques. In: Goldwyn RM, ed. Reduction Mammaplasty. Boston: Little Brown;1990. p.407-43. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/00006534-199011000-00036
Regente de Cirurgia Plástica da Faculdade de Medicina de São José do Rio Preto, São José do Rio Preto, SP, Brasil
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