P ediatric Critical Care Medicine (PCCM) is part of the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) stable of journals that also includes Critical Care Medicine and Critical Care Explorations. The mission statements of SCCM and the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies (WFPICCS) state that PCCM exists for pediatric intensive care professionals with the main purpose of publishing new information that will benefit patients.
Under the leadership of Dr. Patrick Kochanek, PCCM has grown to its current status as a premier monthly text for practitioners with a healthy submission rate of articles. In this new term, my leadership and vision for PCCM will build on the journal’s strong foundations to address emergent challenges and changing trends in medical publishing using five key editorial principles; Read, Rigor, Relevant, Responsive, and Reach.
Read: Reading is changing and 280 characters, a single image with captions, or a podcast are becoming preferred sources of information for practitioners. Modern readers want overviews that condense vital information and facts. PCCM’s response to this evolving landscape will be twofold. First, we will be proactive in keeping up to date with new platforms and methods of publishing scientific material. Second, we will reshape the scope of the expert Editorial or Commentary to reflect these trends. Readers tell us that they want fewer editorials therefore, more than previously, we will need to provide writing that provokes thought and helps reflection. Our writers should tell us “What difference does the information in the article make?”, harder still “What does this information mean?” and, perhaps most importantly, “What can I do with this information?” Research authors will also help by giving a new window to their reports in either a Research in Context or an At the Beside information panel, that will hopefully be more immediately engaging than the abstract.
Rigor: Pre-print electronic repositories offer ready access to non–peer-reviewed research reports which, for some, makes obsolete the process of peer review and the brand values that an Editor-in-Chief instills in a journal. However, in line with its mission, PCCM is renewing its commitment to publishing research articles that conform to high academic standards. Recent questions about the value of peer review, the “tyranny of the p value”, and the inaccurate use of language such as “no association” and “no evidence” of an effect indicate that, more than ever, readers of research material need the assurance of a journal’s editorial rigor. We also face the challenge of data science with machine learning, artificial intelligence analytics, and complex causal inference modeling that is increasingly presented in our articles. Therefore, authors will notice that before their manuscript is accepted it will undergo statistical and methodological review. Readers will also have a new series of commissioned articles called PCCM Notes, Methods, and Statistics that explain basic presentation, and developments in new methodologies and analytic tools required for understanding research in our field.
Relevant:PCCM’s focus is research with the potential to impact and improve patients’ lives. Given the partnership of SCCM and WFPICCS with our journal, we will seek articles that go beyond description of problems to offering innovative solutions to these problems worldwide. We also need articles that contribute to our shared identity as pediatric critical care practitioners with Narratives on ethical dilemmas and experiences.
Responsive:PCCM will be responsive to other rapid changes in the publishing world. For example, new publication ideas that see an exchange of articles between the three journals in the SCCM’s stable, or different ways of communicating between authors and readers, or novel approaches to data sharing and open review. Additionally, the journal will also need the flexibility to be topical and contemporary. PCCM is not a weekly journal and does not have an instant response to publication. Our fast track from submission to online ahead of print publication (with unique digital object identifier number) takes at least 15 days. The current pandemic has shown that understanding in pathophysiology can change rapidly, and observations can be out of date over a short interval. However, one of PCCM’s strengths is that our fast-track process potentially offers stable and timely data–such as peer-reviewed guidance, consensus, and recommendations–to frontline practitioners that may not be of interest to those outside our field.
Reach:PCCM aims to influence an entire discipline; the care of the critically ill and injured child before, during, and after survival, together with children needing rehabilitation and liberation from life-supporting devices. Additionally, our field of practice places a spotlight on child health across the globe. For this reason, we must be inclusive and recognize that many of our colleagues practice in challenging socioeconomic circumstances, especially those in low- and middle-income countries. We must also create an environment conscious of diversity, and seek to address prejudice in gender, disability, ethnicity, and race in medicine.
PCCM promotes knowledge that accelerates changes in our field including original research, best practice, evidence of effective patient-centered care, and advocacy for the critically ill and injured child worldwide. With a dedicated editorial team at the SCCM headquarters, support of work colleagues in Boston, Cambridge, and elsewhere, a committed international editorial board, and an enthusiastic worldwide readership and social media following, I am privileged to be taking the journal forward into a new era.