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INSTRUCTIONS TO AUTHORS AND OTHER LITERARY WORKS OF FICTION
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 55  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 315-

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How to cite this article:
. . Indian J Cancer 2018;55:315-315


How to cite this URL:
. . Indian J Cancer [serial online] 2018 [cited 2019 May 21 ];55:315-315
Available from: http://www.indianjcancer.com/text.asp?2018/55/4/315/253303


Full Text

The pharmacology textbook that I (SAP) used during my II MBBS was Clinical Pharmacology by DR Laurence. I recall that he has a line in the preface which goes something like this: For your sake and mine... please read this preface.

Thirtyfive years later, I must confess that I can't quite remember why the author was so keen for the reader to read the preface. But I can empathize with him. Let me paraphrase Laurence:

Dear potential author, for your sake and mine, please read the Instructions to authors.

A piece of literary fiction is a work of the imagination; it has not really taken place in life. Sadly, considerable numbers of authors, it appears to me, treat the Instructions to authors, like fiction. Like they don't exist at all.

Which explains why case reports are often sent by groups of authors who could make an entire cricket team (including the twelfth man). This, despite our clear instructions that we allow only up to 4 authors per case report. This is not written in stone, however, and we may and occasionally do relax this rule, when the corresponding author offers a good and logical explanation for the fifth or sixth author. But I suggest that you first check this out with us before submission.

The remarkable thing is that almost always, when we return a case report for carrying too many authors on board, it is resubmitted almost immediately - with only four authors! This suggests that the other authors were not really needed in the first place and may have been gift or guest authors. (I find it hard to believe that there are so many people who voluntarily relinquish their position on the author list, just as to accommodate someone else. I would have accepted it if a senior author (professor etc) were to recuse oneself and let the resident remain on the list of authors. However, I find that it is usually the other way around - the Professor stays, while the minions are sent packing!

I understand that there is a need to publish, because of the MCI rules - but unless one takes a principled stand and allows junior authors their place in the sun, this cycle of eliminating younger authors will continue. This will leave science and the nation, the poorer.

The other aspect that seems to elude the eyes of authors submitting articles to IJC are the lines which state – twice, not just once, so that it is crystal clear - that we are unlikely to consider basic research. I copy the lines below for your convenience – “Basic science articles are unlikely to be considered for review / publication” and “Indian Journal of Cancer is unlikely to accept basic research/ animal research data.”

IJC is essentially a clinical journal and while we believe in the importance of basic research, we suggest that you use another forum to disseminate your message.

Again, this is not written in stone and things may change in future. But until then, please save your time, as well as ours, by not submitting such articles to IJC.

Finally, this - an earlier Letter from the editors (Where are the letter writers? And the referees? Indian J Cancer 2017,54:591) seems to have struck a chord with some people, as judged by the messages that I received. There have also been a few letters which have come in, in response to articles in the journal.

But (like Robert Frost said), there are miles to go…... We look forward to more dissent and argument and opinions. We also look forward to ideas and articles from authors. In fact, do read the “Instructions to authors” to learn about the kinds of articles – and information and news - that we are interested in publishing.

Sanjay A Pai and Vinay Deshmane,

Editors, Indian Journal of Cancer