The bluebottle shrimp, with 15 kinds of retinal cones compared to just three in the human eye, sees color better than any other animal . Owls have far and away the best night vision among land creatures, and a hungry eagle can spot a rabbit in the grass two miles away . They say that an American kestrel can read newsprint from the top of an 18-story building , but I believe his comprehension would be poor.
By contrast, the peer reviewers here at Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research® have both good eyesight—or at least keen scientific eyes—and deep insight. And thanks to those reviewers, CORR® has enjoyed another banner year.
Since my last thank you to our reviewers 12 months ago, a total of 938 reviewers have helped us to evaluate nearly 1800 manuscripts. With their help, CORR’s Impact Factor exceeded 4 for the first time, reaching 4.091 this year, an increase of nearly 50% in just 4 years. I am especially proud to say that CORR is the only orthopaedic journal among the 77 indexed by Thompson Reuters last year that had both an Immediacy Index over 1.4 (suggesting scientists put our publications to use soon after publication, an important marker of urgency) and a cited half-life of over 10 years, confirming that work published in our pages also withstands the harsh test of time.
I’d like to extend a special thanks to our top reviewers for 2018, who delivered four or more reviews in the last year, and earned an average review-quality score in the ‘‘excellent’’ range. Only about 5% of our reviewers make this elite team. Their names appear here (DOI: 10.1097/CORR.0000000000000537), and I’m pleased to offer each of them a 1-year electronic subscription to CORR, and (if they wish) to send a letter recognizing the accomplishment to their institutions.
On a related note, this month marks the end of the first year that CORR has required prospective registration of randomized clinical trials, as part of a collaboration with The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery and The Bone and Joint Journal . This important step mitigates positive-outcome bias and other forms of selective reporting, improves the quality of meta-analyses that glean data from randomized trials, and reduces the likelihood that authors who engage in p-value hunting or data dredging (through the post-hoc modification of primary study endpoints) will be able to publish their work in our specialty’s leading general-interest journals. The editors of the three participating journals believe this change will reduce the risk that material published in journals might mislead clinicians or harm patients; for these and other reasons, the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors emphasizes the importance of prospective trial registration .
The year’s experience with this new policy has been enlightening. Our editors have found that orthopaedic trialists do not engage in these kinds of shady behaviors very often. Still, we check the clinical trial registration documents in every randomized trial we receive to ensure that the prespecified study endpoints indeed are the ones reported on, no inappropriate interim analyses or unblinding have occurred, and that the study was not prematurely terminated for reasons other than patient safety. This is important, both because these problems are reported to be extremely prevalent [1, 5, 7], and even in our short experience with this new policy, we have occasionally observed them firsthand.
It’s worth pointing out that the review process should not end with publication. Because not all journals have the same high-quality review process that we enjoy here at CORR, I encourage readers to familiarize themselves with the major clinical trial registries—http://www.clinicaltrials.gov is the most-commonly used one in the United States, but there are many others around the world —and when one reads a published study with a registry number to go ahead and type that number directly into a search engine. The discrepancies between what the authors proposed and what they delivered might be eye-opening, and an awareness of this issue when reading a study should influence one’s confidence in the material being presented.
Regardless, CORR’s editors will continue to exercise both our eyesight and our insight on this important issue and others, and we are grateful to have reviewers with such acute scientific vision working on behalf of our readers.
1. Chan A-W, Hróbjartsson A, Jørgensen KJ, Gøtzsche PC, Altman DG. Discrepancies in sample size calculations and data analyses reported in randomised trials: Comparison of publications with protocols. BMJ. 2008;337:a2299.
2. Fox R, Lehmkuhle SW, Westendorf DH. Falcon visual acuity. Science. 1976;192:263–265.
5. Jones CW, Misemer BS, Platts-Mills TF, Ahn R, Woodbridge A, Abraham A, Saba S, Korenstein D, Madden E, Keyhani S. Primary outcome switching among drug trials with and without principal investigator financial ties to industry: A cross-sectional study. BMJ Open
. [Published online ahead of print Feb 8, 2018]. DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019831.
6. Leopold SS, Swiontkowski M, Haddad F. Editorial: JBJS, The Bone & Joint Journal
, and Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research
require prospective registration of randomized clinical trials—Why is this important? Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2017;475:1–3.
7. Marquardsen M, Ogden M, Gøtzsche PC. Redactions in protocols for drug trials: What industry sponsors concealed. J R Soc Med. 2018;111:136–141.