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Editorial: Thanking CORR’s Peer Reviewers and Remembering Lee Beadling, a Friend and Partner Who Loved Working With Them

Leopold, Seth S. MD; Calabro, Anthony M. MA

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Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research: December 2020 - Volume 478 - Issue 12 - p 2691-2693
doi: 10.1097/CORR.0000000000001557
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The year 2020 offered seemingly daily reminders that we should be thankful for the people around us, when they are around us.

This was particularly true at CORR®, where we were reminded both operationally and existentially not to take those who dedicate their time to our journal for granted. With that in mind, we wish to thank our peer reviewers, and recognize those reviewers who show their curve-bending powers of commitment and skill by making our Top Reviewer list.

From left to right: Lee Beadling BA, Randall E. Marcus MD, and Seth S. Leopold MD at the 2013 ABJS Annual Meeting in Istanbul, Turkey

We also memorialize the passing of our partner and dear friend, Lee Beadling BA, CORR's Director from 2012 through 2020. We mention him in the same breath as CORR's reviewers because working with peer reviewers was a part of Lee's job that he especially enjoyed.

From a practical standpoint, we’re especially grateful to our peer reviewers in 2020 because as of this writing (mid October), CORR is on track to process not just the largest number of manuscript submissions, but the largest number by a wide margin. We thank our reviewers for carrying the large part of this heavy load. At a meeting, we heard someone suggest that the large uptick in papers submitted was a function of the surgical shutdowns caused by the Coronavirus-2019 pandemic; he slyly commented, “Same number of orthopaedic surgeons, but far more time on their hands to express their opinions”. In fact, this hardly covers it. We saw not just an increase in the number of manuscript submissions, but also an increase in their quality, perhaps a reflection of CORR’s rather meteoric rise in Impact Factor, which has increased more than 50% since 2013, when CORR’s current team of Senior Editors came together.

Regardless, from the standpoint of manuscript submissions, this was a year of bounty, and without the deep commitment of the 1015 peer reviewers who evaluated the papers we received, there would be no way to do what readers—and the patients they serve—need from us. We are thankful for this group in 2020 more than ever, as this was the busiest year ever to be a CORR reviewer. Their names are listed beginning on page 2940.

And we are especially grateful to the 54 reviewers who made our Top Reviewer list. This select group represents about 5% of the reviewers who evaluated manuscripts between September 1, 2019 and August 31, 2020. All the people on this list—which includes musculoskeletal subject-matter experts from around the world—completed at least four reviews (most did more) and consistently received top-level reviewer scores. Their commitment and accomplishment unquestionably improved the quality of the work we published this year. We recognize this special bunch beginning on page 2940. As always, we offer each of these unusually skillful readers of science a 1-year electronic subscription to CORR, and (if they will permit us) a personalized note to their department chair and/or hospital leadership.

In this season of joy, though, we also are reminded of life’s transience. As we mentioned earlier, we continue to grieve the loss this year of a dear friend, mentor, partner, and colleague, in Lee Beadling BA, who was CORR’s Director from 2012 through 2020 and whose absence we feel especially acutely during this holiday time.

Lee Beadling was born in Woodbury, NJ, USA and lived throughout his childhood on a farm in Sicklerville, NJ, where his uncle still lives today. He attended Glassboro State (now Rowan University), putting himself through college during the day by working full-time at night as a waiter at the Atlantic City casinos. (This is not the space to discuss Lee’s “Atlantic City stories” from the early 1990s. But yes, there were stories.)

As a professional medical journalist, Lee began his career at Slack Inc. in Thorofare, NJ, working his way up from freelancer to Managing Editor of Orthopaedics Today, one of Slack Inc.’s flagship publications. Colleen Owens BA worked with Lee when he was a freelancer. What struck her most upon first meeting Lee was his passion for life, his family, and his work. Years later, Lee would hire Ms. Owens as a copyeditor here at CORR, where she still works.

“When the opportunity arose to work with Lee again, I realized that his enthusiasm in all these areas remained undimmed, despite the fact that he had faced several recent health issues,” Ms. Owens said. “Lee’s zeal was infectious, helping me to overcome my trepidation about transitioning from freelance to full-time employment. Lee was a kindhearted and generous person; he was always willing to share his time and knowledge. He was a terrific mentor, not just to me, but to the entire CORR staff. We all miss him enormously.”

CORR’s chairman of the Board of Trustees, Randall E. Marcus MD, first met Lee when he was Managing Editor of Orthopedics Today. Dr. Marcus instantly appreciated the way Lee worked with authors to improve their writing without making them feel as if they were back in English 101. That feeling stayed with Dr. Marcus when CORR needed to hire a Managing Director.

“When we decided to hire a Managing Director for CORR, I knew exactly who would be the best person for the position, and he never let us down,” Dr. Marcus said. “When I think of Lee, I remember someone whose instincts and experience in medical publishing were second to none.”

It’s unquestionably true that no other person in orthopaedic publishing came close to having Lee’s combination of experience, street smarts, and perspective on the industry. Joann Beadling, Lee’s wife, added that his passion for the job was, indeed, second-to-none.

“He loved journalism. He loved that there were rules in journalism. And he absolutely loved his job,” Ms. Beadling said. “It was a challenge for him, but that’s what he loved about it. Both at home and at work—he would just see a problem and tackle it.”

In his nearly 10 years at our journal, he oversaw the transition of Editors-in-Chief, a change in CORR’s publisher, and—most importantly—a period of historic success and growth in nearly every metric a journal could measure. His presence and CORR’s success were not coincident; he was a main driver of these results.

“In his very understated, gentlemanly manner, Lee was by far the most-knowledgeable person whom I’ve ever had the privilege to work with in medical publishing,” Dr. Marcus told CORR.

But what Lee did for a living, of course, meant far less to us than how he lived. It’s fair to say that he mentored both of us in important ways. He also guided the Senior Editor panel, and the journal’s Board of Trustees to better decisions, but I think many of them also would say to become better people.

“Lee was our North Star,” said CORR Senior Editor Clare Rimnac PhD. “We all would look to Lee for guidance and wise counsel on how best to fulfill our mission as senior editors with the highest possible integrity and with respect for our authors, reviewers, and readers.”

Twice a year, CORR’s senior editors meet in person to discuss editorial policy; when we do, we wrangle over difficult topics like conflicts of interest, open access, and diversity and inclusion. Lee’s guidance kept the group on track, and helped us to arrive at fair, rational approaches. More than once, Lee would tell us that putting together the senior editor meetings and sitting in on those editorial discussions and policy debates were his favorite aspects of the job.

“We looked forward to being able to work directly with Lee and learn from him during these meetings and throughout the year,” Dr. Rimnac said. “I also remember that Lee loved to treat the senior editors during our biannual meetings with classic Philly snacks such as Tastykakes. I came to realize that this was part of who Lee was; he celebrated each day through small and large gestures.”

Beyond the office, Lee was a trusted confidant and dear friend to both of us. He was generous to a fault, his empathy ran deep, and it touched many.

“During the nearly 2 years that Lee and I worked together, we developed a close working and then personal relationship,” Richard Brand MD, and former Editor-in-Chief of CORR said. “No days went by when we didn’t chat about something or the other, and of course, from time to time there were always the little ‘crises’ that we inevitably solved together. I developed a great respect for his knowledge and wisdom. He always had solid facts or arguments for his positions, and when we initially had differing opinions, he usually won me over to his point of view.”

Dr. Brand and Lee often had lunch when they worked together, and so after his retirement from CORR, they decided to continue meeting for lunch the first Wednesday of every month.

“I always looked forward to the occasions, which usually extended to one and a half to two hours as we never ran out of things to discuss,” Dr. Brand said. “We were able to continue these well after Lee became ill, until he was no longer able to come to the office.”

Our initial intention was to memorialize Lee in an essay devoted to him alone. We opted instead to include it here. Although Lee’s ability as a journal director allowed him to cover the full waterfront of his job with ease and skill, his passion was working with peer reviewers. For that reason, we thought it most appropriate to combine two thank-yous into a unified expression of gratitude: To our reviewers, and to the man who loved working with them.

Lee, we miss you.

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