In 2023, many ATM authors make outstanding contributions to our journal. Their articles published with us have received very well feedback in the field and stimulate a lot of discussions and new insights among the peers.
Hereby, we would like to highlight some of our outstanding authors who have been making immense efforts in their research fields, with a brief interview of their unique perspective and insightful view as authors.
Outstanding Authors (2023)
Tim Hulsen is a bioinformatician and data scientist with a broad experience in both academia and industry, and he has been working on a wide range of big data projects. He obtained a PhD in bioinformatics in 2007 from a collaboration between the Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and the pharmaceutical company N.V. Organon. After two years post-doc at the Radboud University Nijmegen, he moved to Philips Research in 2009, where he worked on big data projects in oncology, such as Prostate Cancer Molecular Medicine (PCMM), Translational Research IT (TraIT), Movember Global Action Plan 3 (GAP3), Liquid Biopsies and Imaging (LIMA) and the ReIMAGINE prostate cancer project. He is currently working at the Data & AI Center of Excellence at Philips Research, helping to share and reuse datasets and algorithms company wide. He is the author of several publications in the area of big data, data management, artificial intelligence, precision medicine and personalized healthcare. Learn more about Tim here or connect with him on LinkedIn.
Dr. Hulsen thinks a good academic paper will somehow help the field move forward. This can happen by presenting new results or innovative ideas, but it can also be achieved by summarizing results from existing papers in a way that has not been done before, opening the door to new insights. The latter has been done in his paper ‘Literature Analysis of Artificial Intelligence in Biomedicine’. He further points out that it is important to perform evidence synthesis in a structured manner. He cites the example of using (but not necessarily) the PRISMA checklist for systematic reviews. The risk of bias should be limited as much as possible. Evidence presented should be able to be reproduced exactly with the methods presented in the paper. This means that database queries should be listed in the paper, and both data and software should be made available if possible.
Speaking of the importance of a research to apply for institutional review board (IRB) approval, Dr. Hulsen shares that there are similar processes in place at his current company to ensure that research adheres to strict guidelines around ethics and privacy. If these processes would be omitted, there would be a certain risk that the research does not adhere to local (or global) laws. Researchers do not know all these laws by heart, but ethics and privacy experts do, and their expertise is crucial to ensure that all laws are adhered to.
Dr. Hulsen reads a lot of papers to stay up-to-date on the current developments in the field of big data and artificial intelligence. He thinks this is not only useful for his projects, but also for his personal development. To keep track of his knowledge, he takes extensive notes and maintain a list of references in an Endnote library. He further shares, “From there on, it’s not such a big step to a review paper anymore. Other (non-review) papers are often the result of collaborations within subsidy projects. In that case, each partner writes only a part of the paper, and we have brief weekly meetings to discuss progress.”
(By Masaki Lo, Wei-En Fan)
Vasileios Kouritas is a consultant and serving as the research lead in Thoracic Surgery at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals, Norwich, United Kingdom. His area of expertise includes all chest pathology with a special interest in minimally invasive approaches via Robotic-Assisted Thoracic Surgery. He is currently leading the department’s robotic surgery program. His PhD thesis involved basic research on pleural physiology. He has published numerous research publications on pleural transportation and physiology as well as their extrapolation to animal models. He has participated in the writing of a relevant chapter in Shield’s Textbook of Thoracic Surgery amongst chapters in other books. He has also presented numerous clinical publications on different aspects of thoracic and thoracic surgery pathology. His research projects include 3D printing, investigation of tissue regeneration and reaction after minimally invasive surgery approaches, research in emphysema and others.
When being asked of the most commonly encountered difficulties in academic writing, Dr. Kouritas says in clinical practice and surgery, time is a key issue. For clinical professionals and surgeons who are very busy in particular, it is extremely challenging to find enough time to allocate to academic writing and maybe, consequently very important clinical experience that could leverage research and improvement in medicine, is not utilized. He thinks mediating important knowledge and findings that originates from intense clinical practice, however, is very important for the benefit of patients and medical community in general. Bias of publishing departments is heavily impacting on clinicians who although would like to allocate time to academic writing, they feel excluded and see their manuscripts being rejected. This leads to disappointment and disheartening feelings that ultimately makes clinicians and surgeons to disengage from the effort to produce manuscripts and research. It is imperative that clinicians and surgeons are supported to devote time to academic writing and journals and the community must ensure that there is no discrimination between institutes and equal chances are provided to all authors.
In order to keep his writing up-to-date and providing new insights to the field of research, Dr. Kouritas would utilize the internet and the published textbook to acquaint himself with the current developments with regards to a subject of interest. This is of utmost importance to complete an up-to-date insight also. Equally, he points out that attending high importance meetings, congresses and courses can help achieve the latest knowledge. He personally finds his institute’s library services useful to start with an initial yet at least up-to-date literature research around topics of his project.
Speaking of reporting guidelines such as STROBE, CONSORT, PRISMA, STARD or CARE, Dr. Kouritas thinks they have been set by experts in each field and by following the guidelines, it can help ensure manuscripts include all necessary parts and details required for a meaningful and complete conclusion to be reached. Scientists and audience talk the same language by following common guidelines of reporting and this is of utmost importance to achieve maximum benefit from reading academic manuscripts, avoid misconceptions and make conclusions clear and sound. Additionally, he finds the application of guidelines is important for teaching purposes as he can refer to them whenever he needs to teach trainees how to write and what to include in the manuscripts.
Dr. Kouritas shares that writing is one of his favorite hobbies and producing statistical analysis outcomes with models is another one. Academic writing combines both of his hobbies and when he writes, he would enter into a fascinating new world which has endless opportunities. Being able to communicate his findings and ideas with the appropriate audience is liberating and productive. While writing, new ideas and horizons emerge and this leverages his endless quest for research and investigations within his profession. By writing he also feels that he modestly helps the medical world and his specialty to progress. He hopes that his work can envision others to embrace writing in their job roles and stop ignoring its importance to the benefit of the medical community and the patients.
(By Masaki Lo, Wei-En Fan)
Dr. Seogsong Jeong is a research professor at the Department of Biomedical Informatics, CHA University School of Medicine, South Korea. He received his M.D. from the School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China, and received his Ph.D. from Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea. He currently focuses on the non-invasive diagnosis, treatment, and modifiable risk factors of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Dr. Jeong thinks the most essential element of a good academic paper in epidemiology or clinical study is the one comes with clear definition of the association of exposures with outcomes by controlling potential biases. He explains that prospective randomized controlled trial requires time and effort for the recruitment and follow-up investigation of patients. Instead, researchers are now learning to choose the right database and appropriate methodology. He anticipates that in the near future, all epidemiology or clinical studies may require propensity score matching or inverse probability of treatment weighting to report controlled retrospective results. Therefore, he thinks it would be better for all researchers to study how to control potential biases before these methodologies are mandatory. And from Dr. Jeong’s point of view, appropriate evidence for academic writing can come from literature searching; comprehensive and elaborate literature searching often provides useful insights on selecting the appropriate evidence for synthesis and analysis.
Speaking of reporting guidelines, such as STROBE, Dr. Jeong thinks they can provide useful information and act as a reminder for filling the gap of missing information, and that works especially well for junior researchers. However, as he points out, the reporting guidelines are still being updated, indicating that these guidelines may not be an exact answer, but an informative recommendation.
Dr. Jeong in response to the tips on time allocation for academic writing, he says, “Writing papers does not require a lot of time but a good time-allocating habit. I often write papers when I am on a train or before and after lunch. It would not take a long time to see a magnificent effort with the allocation of spare time.”
(By Masaki Lo, Wei-En Fan)
Dr. Samir Dalia is a practicing oncologist/hematologist at Mercy Hospital in Joplin, Missouri. He has worked in Mercy Hospital for eight years and currently runs clinical trials in oncology. He takes care of all oncology and hematological patients, and enjoys developing relationships with patients and helping them with their medical issues. Dr. Dalia has interests in lymphomas, leukemias and drug development. He has published articles in all of these areas over the last few years.
In Dr. Dalia’s view, a good academic paper is one that if a person reads it and he/she is able to make a change in day-to-day medical practice. This will usually bring some new evidence to the field of medicine or help develop guidelines on how to work up or treat a certain type of patient. Sometimes it is just highlighting a drug that has not been used in a while or is used in a new purpose. These papers are written in such a way that they grasp the reader's attention without being so long that make someone lose interest.
Speaking of evidence synthesis during the writing process, Dr. Dalia shares that it is very difficult to look at all of the data and analyze them, so it is very important when one starts his/her research with a good question. The first thing he/she should do is to develop a question and make sure that it is succinct enough that it can be answered in a short article. Once he/she has it narrowed, then the article’s search process will be smaller and it will be easier to synthesize and analyze the literature. If the topic is too broad, it will take so much time to analyze and synthesize the literature and one will not have time to write his/her article.
Also, it is very important for any research to have institutional review board (IRB) approval to ensure that patients’ medical records are safe and that this research is conducted appropriately. He adds, “The IRB helps protect the rights of patients and we do not want to do any research that would go against what an IRB would seem appropriate. We also do not want to have biased data. By going through the IRB, we can eliminate the initial bias.”
Being a physician and scientist, Dr. Dalia has a lot of time commitments. He explains, “It sometimes can become hard to write papers. This is why it is very important to have a very good team that can help you with the writing of manuscripts. If you delegate parts of the manuscript to a team, the process of having a finished product is done quicker compares to do it all alone. This is the only way to have a good work-life balance and still publish in academia.”
(By Wei-En Fan, Brad Li)
Dr. Crissy Dodson is an Associate Professor of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, USA. She received her Ph.D. in nursing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She studied in the field of pharmacogenomics as it relates to nursing practice and was a Personalized Medicine Institute trainee. She is currently a member of the Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium. Dr. Dodson's research focuses on the utilization of pharmacogenetic testing within practice. Her most recent research projects involve interdisciplinary collaboration with computer science and digital arts to create a mobile application to provide dosage recommendations based on one's genetic information. The mobile application utilizes evidence-based clinical practice guidelines developed by the Clinical Pharmacogenetic Implementation Consortium. In addition, her focus is on the development of continuing education courses related to pharmacogenetic testing for providers with prescriptive privileges specific to oncology and primary care health.
Academic writing plays a prominent role in science. Dr. Dodson explains that successful dissemination of one's research relies on the proficiency of scholarly writing. To effectively grow the field of science, disseminating the most recent research is critical. Academic writing is the cornerstone of science as it provides a record of the scientific work that has been completed. Therefore, the growth of science directly correlates with the efficacy and clarity of one's academic writing.
Dr. Dodson further shares some critical skill sets of an author which includes the ability to utilize constructive criticism, continuous improvement processing, and time management. These skills allow the author to take beneficial feedback to continuously improve their writing skills. In addition, time management allows the author to set aside dedicated time to focus on writing. Some of the qualities an author should possess is a passion for disseminating one's work to further advance the field of science.
The protection of participants should be the top priority when conducting research. The utilization of institutional review board (IRB) approval helps the researcher take strides in reducing and removing any potential risk and maximizing the participants' benefits. Furthermore, seeking IRB approval also helps ensure that research participants are treated with equity. Dr. Dodson explains, “It is our responsibility as researcher to conduct ethical research to reduce harm to our current participants and reassure future participants that ethical research is one's top priority. If this process were omitted, not only could it cause direct harm to our research participants, but it could ultimately halt the advancement of science if future participants fear research due to this unethical behavior.”
“Academic writing can sometimes feel defeating, but I would encourage everyone to separate one's feelings from their scholarly work. This invisible barrier often allows one to positively view any constructive feedback. This positive outlook helps one focus on the ultimate end goal of advancing the field of science by disseminating the results of their research.” says Dr. Dodson.
(By Wei-En Fan, Brad Li)
Dr. Fumihiro Yamaguchi is an Assistant Professor of Respiratory Medicine at Showa University Fujigaoka Hospital, Japan. He is also a lecturer in human genetics at Showa University. Originally, his work concentrated on bacterial culture, drug susceptibility testing, molecular biology techniques including, PCR, ligation, sequencing, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis for microbial resistant bacteria including mycobacterium. He also worked on gene analysis in lung cancer using cells in curette lavage fluid obtained by bronchoscopy, which showed that it is possible to analyze EGFR, KRAS and P53 mutations using curette lavage fluid collected from lung cancer patients, and that EGFR mutations in conjunction with P53 mutations can accelerate cancer development and lead to the evolution of therapeutic resistance. He is currently working on the relationship between lung cancer pathogenesis and mycobacterial infection as several studies suggest antineoplastic effects were induced by mycobacterial infection. You may visit Dr. Yamaguchi’s department page for more information.
Speaking of the role academic writing plays in science, Dr. Yamaguchi shares that science develops through trials and errors, and what is considered correct at the time may be rewritten later. He believes that the correct knowledge is obtained through repetition, and that the reporting of one's results contributes to the advancement of science, even if similar results have already been reported.
In Dr. Yamaguchi’s view, authors should examine the data as carefully as possible and provide thorough discussions without deviating from the data. Excessive imagination is not necessary for science. It should be considered in the context of the research results obtained. Furthermore, integrity and humility are required from all authors.
Dr. Yamaguchi encourages all the academic writers, “I believe that the accumulation of daily research results, even if they are small, will be useful for the future development of science. For instance, the pathogenesis of a disease can be clarified by a small question in routine practice.”
On the importance of the institutional review board (IRB) approval, Dr. Yamaguchi states that it is mandatory for certain types of research. One should refrain from self-serving plans while the institution becomes responsible for the research through the approval. Otherwise, patients may be adversely affected if IRB approval is not obtained.
(By Wei-En Fan, Brad Li)
Karl C. Golnik
Dr. Karl Golnik is the Professor and Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Eye Institute, USA. He has received the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Lifetime Achievement award, the North American Neuro-ophthalmology Society’s Merit Award and more than 10 teaching awards throughout his career. He has given more than 1,000 invited neuro-ophthalmology and medical education lectures in more than 70 countries and has over 150 publications in these fields. He is a member of the American Ophthalmological Society and the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis, and currently serves as a Board Member and Chair for Education of the Ophthalmology Foundation.
Speaking of the most commonly encountered difficulties in academic writing, Dr. Golnik thinks that just getting started with great ideas for research is the greatest difficulty. Once the topic is identified, then the regulations behind Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval can be onerous. During preparation of a paper, the most important consideration is being concise and clear while keeping tight organization of the material.
Even though academic writing takes a lot of time and effort, Dr. Golnik shares that there are several motivating factors including the desire to develop new ideas and methods to improve patient care. “Of course, if one is in academic medicine, one must produce publications,” says Dr. Golnik.
(By Wei-En Fan, Brad Li)
Dr. Jungchan Park currently serves at Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, Korea. He is a PhD candidate in Medical Informatics at Ajou University. His research interests lie in the intersection of perioperative medicine, cardiology, and artificial intelligence. Over the past few years, Dr. Park has been focusing on the use of perioperative troponin and myocardial injury to predict and prevent cardiac complications in surgical patients. Recently, he has also been working on the development of a hemodynamic monitoring device using doppler sonography with artificial intelligence. This innovative device has the potential to significantly improve the accuracy and speed of hemodynamic monitoring in a variety of clinical settings. He is excited to continue exploring new applications of AI and machine learning in medicine, with the ultimate goal of improving patient outcomes and advancing the field of healthcare.
ATM: What are the essential elements of a good academic paper?
Dr. Park: A good academic paper should have a few key elements. Firstly, the title should be clear and captivating, giving readers a sense of what the paper is about while also grabbing their attention. The Abstract should provide a concise summary of the paper, highlighting the main points and key findings. The Introduction should clearly lay out the research question or problem, explaining why it's important and relevant. The Literature Review should be well-researched, demonstrating a good understanding of the existing research in the field and how the current study fills gaps in knowledge. The Methods section should be detailed and transparent, outlining the research design, data collection and analysis methods. The Results should be presented in a clear and organized manner, using tables and figures to aid comprehension. The Discussion section should interpret the findings, relate them to the research question, and discuss their implications for the field. The Conclusion should provide a summary of the main findings and their significance. Finally, the Reference list should be properly formatted and include all sources cited in the paper. Proper formatting is also important, as it helps make the paper more readable and professional-looking. Overall, a good academic paper should be well-organized, well-researched, and make a meaningful contribution to the field.
ATM: What are the qualities an author should possess?
Dr. Park: There are several qualities that an author should possess to produce a good academic paper. Firstly, they should have a deep understanding of the subject matter and be able to conduct rigorous research. This requires strong critical thinking skills, and the ability to analyze data, and draw sound conclusions based on evidence. Additionally, good writing skills are crucial for effectively communicating research findings and ideas to the intended audience. The author must use appropriate terminology and jargon, have a clear and logical structure, and use proper grammar and syntax. Furthermore, authors must be able to handle the pressure of working on multiple projects simultaneously and still manage their time effectively to meet deadlines. Finally, ethical research practices and integrity are essential. The author must be transparent about sources of funding and potential conflicts of interest, ensure that research is conducted ethically, and comply with relevant guidelines and regulations. Overall, the qualities an author should possess include subject matter expertise, effective writing skills, time management, and a strong commitment to ethical research practices.
ATM: Why is it important for a research to apply for institutional review board (IRB) approval? What would happen if this process is omitted?
Dr. Park: It is crucial for researchers to apply for IRB approval because it ensures that their research is conducted ethically and in compliance with relevant guidelines and regulations. The IRB process involves a thorough review of the research protocol to assess potential risks to human subjects, as well as to evaluate the study design, data collection procedures, and the informed consent process. This ensures that the research is conducted in a way that respects the dignity and rights of the participants, and that the potential benefits of the research outweigh any potential risks.
If a researcher were to omit the IRB approval process, they would be conducting research without the necessary oversight and safeguards in place to protect human subjects. This could result in harm to participants, both physical and emotional, as well as legal and reputational consequences for the researcher and their institution. Additionally, if the research is intended for publication, journals may require proof of IRB approval as a condition of acceptance. Failure to obtain IRB approval could result in rejection of the manuscript or retraction of the published article. Overall, omitting the IRB approval process is not only unethical but could also have serious consequences for both the researcher and the participants involved in the study.
ATM: Why do you choose to publish in ATM?
Dr. Park: I should say that I chose to publish in ATM because it is a reputable and well-respected academic journal in my field. The journal has a strong reputation for publishing high-quality research that contributes to the advancement of knowledge and understanding in the field. Additionally, I appreciate the journal's focus on cutting-edge research and its commitment to promoting interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. Furthermore, I have found the editorial and peer-review processes to be fair, rigorous, and constructive, which has helped to improve the quality of my research. Overall, I am proud to have my work published in ATM and look forward to continuing to contribute to the journal in the future.
(Brad Li is the main author; Yi Tang, an intern of AME, helped proofread this interview)
Amos Lal is a Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine physician at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester Minnesota, USA. His major clinical and research interests include Sepsis and Digital Twin technology in Critical Care, COVID-19, and patient safety and quality improvement. His research includes observation and experimental research in critical care and outcomes-based research utilizing big data. He has published over 150 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals internationally and has given presentations on his work at multiple international meetings and academic conferences along with invited grand rounds. His diverse publication portfolio includes work in intensive care medicine, artificial intelligence, and COVID-19 among others. His other areas of interest include improvement in healthcare delivery in underserved areas internationally by providing clinical care and teaching in developing countries such as Cambodia, Haiti, China, and the Balkans. Besides, he is an invited fellow of the American College of Physicians (FACP), and a member of the Society of Critical Care Medicine, the American College of Chest Physicians, and the American Thoracic Society. Connect with Dr. Lal on LinkedIn. A list of his published work can be found on ResearchGate.
Dr. Lal shares tips on selecting the appropriate evidence for synthesis and analysis as follows. Firstly, before even starting the search for evidence, it is essential to have a well-defined research question, which can narrow down your focus and identify the specific type of evidence you need. Secondly, understanding the hierarchy of evidence and selecting the appropriate study design will enhance the quality of evidence you gather. Different research questions require different study designs. For example, if you are exploring the effectiveness of a treatment, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are generally considered the gold standard. Thirdly, to ensure the reliability and credibility of the evidence you select, it is impactful to use reputable sources and databases. Well-known databases such as PubMed, Cochrane Library, and Embase are often good starting points for finding high-quality studies. Exploring grey literature is sometimes helpful for a comprehensive literature review, but the ability to filter out good-quality research from noise is time-consuming and often adds an additional burden on the researcher. Fourthly, once you have identified potential studies, evaluate their methodological quality. Learning and gaining in-depth knowledge about tools such as the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool or the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale among others, based on the type of the study can assist in assessing the risk of bias. This step ensures that you prioritize studies with robust methodologies and minimize the risk of bias. Fifthly, systematic reviews and meta-analyses provide a comprehensive synthesis of existing evidence on a particular topic and use them as the lens to look at the currently available literature in the most comprehensive manner. They offer a higher level of evidence and can help you save time by summarizing the findings of multiple studies. Be sure to critically appraise the quality of these reviews before relying on their conclusions. Lastly, evidence in medicine is constantly evolving. It is important to stay updated with new research and studies that may impact your analysis. He suggests regularly reviewing new publications and considering setting up alerts for relevant topics in databases or journals. In conclusion, the process of selecting evidence for synthesis and analysis should be rigorous and systematic, which should be remembered.
Academic writing takes a lot of time and effort. Speaking of his motivation to keep writing, Dr. Lal thinks that the bottom line is better clinical care of his patients. Staying engaged in good-quality research improves the care that he provides at the bedside for his patients and generates better evidence for the medical community at large.
Talking about the significance of research data sharing, Dr. Lal indicates that the answer is more nuanced than a simple yes or no. Data sharing has its pros and cons. He explains that while, on the one hand, it can improve transparency and reproducibility, on the other hand, there are legitimate concerns about patient data privacy and safety. Not to mention the intellectual property issues, competing interests, publication bias, and potential misuse of data. While secondary analyses in some instances can provide new knowledge and have the potential to reduce the cost of research, the risks at times could outweigh the perceived benefits.
Dr. Lal addresses that even before the writing, the most crucial part of good-quality clinical research is a focused clinical research question. He adds, “Asking a good clinical research question requires years of intentional training and a patient-centered approach. At the end of the day, if the research does not help to improve patient outcomes, it is of little use.”
(By Hailing Lian, Brad Li)
Tobias Eckle, MD, Ph.D., FASA, is Professor of Anesthesiology, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, USA. He earned his MD and Ph.D. from Eberhard-Karl’s University in Tübingen, Germany. He is a board-certified Anesthesiologist in Germany and the USA. His research work has been funded by the National Heart Lung Blood Institute (NHLBI) (R01, K08), the American Heart Association (SDG), the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (MRTG), and is currently funded by an NHLBI R56. He has authored over 80 peer-reviewed publications (H-index 41) in leading biomedical journals such as JCI, Blood, Circulation, PNAS, Nature Medicine, and Cell Reports. His current research is focused on enhancing circadian rhythms in the critical care setting using intense light or pharmacological therapy. Besides, he is the Director of Grand Rounds, the Medical Director of Advanced Practice Providers, and the Associate Vice Chair of Faculty Development. A list of his published work can be found on Google Scholar. Learn more about Dr. Eckle here and connect with him on LinkedIn.
In Dr. Eckle’s opinion, essential elements of a good academic paper include a clear background, a strong hypothesis, and an exciting storyline. Each experiment or result should follow a rationale. Even an inexperienced reader should be able to follow the storyline. Therefore, the writing style should always target a broader audience.
To select the appropriate evidence for synthesis and analysis, Dr. Eckle suggests having a careful look at the author’s impact on the field. One important concept to bear in mind is that one incorporates his/her ideas about information from each text used as his/her contribution to the conversation. In addition, he points out the importance of Conflict of Interest (COI) disclosure, for research and academic opinions should be unbiased and free from any influences.
From Dr. Eckle’s point of view, the most fascinating aspect of academic writing is seeing the proofs and getting recognized after publishing. Another fascinating aspect is working with other talented researchers and watching a science paper into a high-quality manuscript. “Being able to influence the research field and spread your ideas are very fascinating experiences,” says he.
(By Hailing Lian, Brad Li)
Brad B. Nelson
Dr. Brad Nelson is an Assistant Professor, a large animal surgeon, and a principal investigator within both the Preclinical Surgical Research Laboratory (PSRL) and the Orthopaedic Research Center (ORC) at the C. Wayne McIlwraith Translational Medicine Institute at Colorado State University (CSU). He completed his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an equine surgery and imaging internship at Washington State University, and a residency in Equine Surgery at CSU, becoming board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2014. Afterwards, he completed a Ph.D. in translational orthopedics and articular cartilage imaging through the ORC. He joined the PSRL in 2018. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor of Equine Surgery at the Johnson Family Equine Hospital. His research is focused on the development and utilization of large animal translational preclinical models of orthopedic disease and the incorporation and development of advanced imaging strategies for use in those domains.
From Dr. Nelson’s perspective, academic writing is a critical component of science and research. It is a crucial process for communicating new research findings in an objective manner to the public as well as clinicians and fellow researchers. Due to the increased number of media platforms available that magnify the number of opinions that can be heard, having a structured peer-review process is more essential than ever in ensuring data is disseminated with limited or at least acknowledged bias. It also serves as an important educational tool to ensure students learn how to present findings with objectivity and help effectively advance medicine.
To Dr. Nelson, synthesizing a plethora of information on a topic can be very difficult. Invariably study parameters such as inclusion criteria and methodology will differ among studies and therefore may lead to conflicting results. He shares that he tries to incorporate the level of evidence of the particular study when determining the impact of the results. For example, meta-analyses and randomized controlled trials have higher levels of evidence and are less susceptible to bias than single descriptive or qualitative studies, unless there are limited data available. Meanwhile, he also tries to avoid making any conclusions based on a single study whenever possible. Generally, a group of studies that have similar conclusions are elevated above a single study that has differing outcomes. However, the same result from multiple studies is not necessarily better, and the level of evidence must also be taken into consideration.
Dr. Nelson stresses that the approval of the institutional review board (IRB) and animal care and use committees (ACUC) are of the utmost importance for objective research, for those independent committees ensure that the methods and protocols used in the study are suitable and clearly outlined, capturing any risks to humans or animals. While many researchers do not purposely intend to hurt their research subjects, this is an additional verification step by independent scientists, researchers, clinicians, and representatives from the lay public, which helps to ensure that the study is conducted with adherence to ethical acceptability, identifying possible biases, and compliance with local regulations. All in all, this is an essential step in providing transparency of research practices and giving the public confidence that there is oversight in what is done.
Lastly, Dr. Nelson advises graduate students early in their education to learn to schedule their time to write, which will help them integrate these habits into their daily routines. He adds, “Some examples are to plan days or part of the day to commit to writing. Finding large blocks of time can be difficult, but even taking 30 minutes each morning to do some writing can make a large impact and the productivity will accumulate over time. I think that is an effective strategy in prioritizing time for scientific writing.”
(By Hailing Lian, Brad Li)
Wouter Van Genechten
Dr. Wouter Van Genechten is an orthopaedic resident from the University of Antwerp, Belgium. He has a keen interest in general traumatology, sports injuries, and athlete coaching. Knee and shoulder surgeries are his preferred joints to treat. Currently, he is finishing a Ph.D. thesis about the medial opening wedge high tibial osteotomy. Joint preservation is key to him and he is always willing to exhaust all conservative options before going into surgery with his patients. Working hard and efficiently gives him the most satisfaction at the end of the day, especially when working in an environment that aims for a common purpose. A list of his published work can be found on ResearchGate. Connect with Dr. Van Genechten on LinkedIn.
According to Dr. Van Genechten, the role of academic writing is crucial in the way science is communicated to the audience. One prefers to read a well-written structured paper when a topic update is desired. He adds that reading good papers helps him a lot in starting his own writing skills as well as improving his academic writing. He combines this with some intensive scientific writing courses to ensure qualitative writing to communicate his personal scientific findings. Nowadays, personal academic writing skills might become less important with the growing popularity of open AI technology like ChatGPT. However, to formulate punch lines of a paper, for example, open AI is currently falling short and it is up to the authors to completely understand their scientific contribution and impact on the field.
Dr. Van Genechten points out that his main scientific interest has been in osteotomies around the knee for the past 4 years and the number of hits on PubMed for ‘high tibial osteotomy’ has doubled over the past 5 years. To ensure one’s writing is up-to-date and give new insights into the field of research, he reckons that important new papers on this topic are mostly shown on LinkedIn or via Email as an overview of papers in a new journal issue. Of course, in-depth literature research is always required before writing a discussion section about one’s research topic. Via the ‘snowball’ effect of the previous paper, one can easily cover over 90% of the existing literature with the most important paper published in high-ranked journals. He also attaches great importance to meta-analyses and systematic reviews regarding consensus, as he often cites them in discussion wherever possible.
Seeing the importance of following reporting guidelines (e.g. STROBE, CONSORT, PRISMA) during the preparation of manuscripts, Dr. Van Genechten indicates that he is a proponent of standardization in research. To him, the implementation of diagrams and checklists makes both the review process and the reading after publication a pleasure. Besides, for the authors, it forms a robust framework to make their research more reliable. Nevertheless, there should remain enough space for personal completion in some paper sections. Next to reporting guidelines, he advocates the use of similar outcome measures within the same research topic in order to ease inter-study comparison in discussion sections. He thinks this is still a major burden from which false conclusions are deducted. Many clinical outcomes are subjective which should be adjusted with the objective independent clinician’s perspective.
To allocate time to write papers, Dr. Van Genechten shares that he has been combining full-time clinical work (orthopaedic resident) with finishing a Ph.D. thesis for the past 2 years. This was a difficult period with little spare time. Mainly in summer, when clinical work starts to slow down, he tries to focus on advancing into research projects and paper writing. It is an exercise of balancing one’s personal learning curve in clinics while continuing to make small steps in one’s research projects. He says, “Efficiency is key to combining both, and some vacation days needed to be sacrificed for the good of research work. When I feel a clinical day will be over sooner than expected, I’m starting to plan which research topic I can dive into that night.”
(By Hailing Lian, Brad Li)
Dr. Kento Takeshima currently serves at the Department of Medical Education, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Toyama, Japan. He is a clinician, educator, and researcher in primary care and medical education. He has spent most of his career as a primary care physician practicing in rural hospitals and clinics in Japan. In the course of his practice, he has come to realise that there are questions that other doctors have in common. In his practice, he tries to verbalise and clarify these universal questions that arise in primary care. Dr. Takeshima’s latest area of interest is learning about primary care, including interprofessional education.
“If we can describe our thoughts and opinions in a persuasive and effective way, we can communicate those arguments more accurately and to a wider audience,” says Dr. Takeshima when asked about the purpose of academic writing. In his view, it is particularly important and effective to communicate succinctly to people from all over the world and with different backgrounds in a common format called academic writing. Writing in a highly original style may be unique and sometimes engaging, but he believes it is less likely to get to the point and more likely to fail to meet the needs of the reader.
To make one’s writing critical, Dr. Takeshima puts forth three things that researchers can do. The first step is one’s training in academic writing. Although the process is time-consuming, it is an important foundational step. Secondly, discuss one’s writing with multiple individuals, including co-authors. Thirdly, use a service that can impartially revise one’s academic and English writing. To him, academic writing in English can be a major problem for people who do not speak English as their first language, as in his case. In view of this, he thinks non-native English speakers need a service that checks their academic writing objectively. This service is vital for academic presentations.
The way Dr. Takeshima sees it, research queries and personal interests are closely related. The institutional review board (IRB) is responsible for overseeing ethical research planning. Researchers must not conduct any studies that do not have IRB approval. If a paper is published without going through this important process, such research may not be recognized in the future, and the researcher’s previous work might also be disregarded. Moreover, it is important to remember that researchers around the world who unknowingly based their studies on fraudulent research have wasted their efforts.
“My main drive to academic writing is to converse with medical peers from all over the world when I give scientific presentations. The concepts and friendships that I have acquired through such conversations have evolved into a valuable asset for my new research. I aspire to broaden my career outlook by establishing fresh collaborations with peers around the globe via various scientific activities,” says Dr. Takeshima.
(by Brad Li, Hailing Lian)
Patrick M. Honore
Dr. Patrick M. Honore is the Head of the ICU Department in CHU UCL Namur, Belgium, since 2022. He has got experience as intensivist and researcher at Guy’s Hospital and St. Thomas Hospital, and Austin and Repatriation Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. He has been successively being a professor at the VUIB University, The ULB University and finally the UCL Louvain Medical School. He is also a full time clinician intensivist and being on call as first on. He has published more than 450 papers in PubMed in critical care and Nephrology.
To Dr. Honore, academic research or writing takes up the crucial role of fostering the invention of new techniques and new medications by uncovering the rationale of therapy. He works with multidisciplinary team which he deems a good channel to keep up with the latest advancement and knowledge for staying up-to-date in the industry. Practically, he makes use of a red flag system to stay alert with some new, important papers being published.
In academic writing, he thinks it is essential to disclose Conflicts of Interest (COI) properly as COI can bias review papers, editorial or research papers. “It is sometimes better not to publish if there are too many COIs,” says he.
(by Masaki Lo, Brad Li)
Dr. Pattrapun Wongsripuemtet graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at Siriraj Hospital, Thailand, in 2011, obtained a certificate in anesthesia in 2015, and completed a fellowship in cardiovascular anesthesia in 2019. Currently, she holds the position of a clinical instructor at the Department of Anesthesiology, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, situated in Bangkok, Thailand. Her primary interest and focus are on enhancing perioperative cardiovascular care, particularly in the areas of aortic surgery and critical care.
ATM: What do you regard as a good academic paper? What are the essential elements of a good academic paper?
Dr. Wongsripuemtet: I am continually striving to enhance my skills in producing excellent academic papers and contributing positively to this field. In my opinion, a good academic paper should encompass several key elements. Firstly, it needs a clear and concise thesis statement. The body of the paper should exhibit a clear methodology, allowing the results to be articulated fairly and accurately, avoiding any misrepresentation or misinterpretation of the findings. One of the most challenging aspects, in my experience, is the discussion section. Here, presenting a well-organized and structured discussion that encapsulates the main concepts of the study is crucial to ensure the reader gains a comprehensive understanding and for fostering the development of new ideas.
ATM: Can you share your process of coming up with a topic that highly interests you?
Dr. Wongsripuemtet: I typically begin by identifying topics that capture my interest and are the subject of ongoing debates or questions that arise in my daily work. I then conduct a comprehensive literature review, focusing on developing a specific research question. A well-defined research question is the foundation of the entire process. Once I have a well-formulated question, I develop a hypothesis and establish a methodology to effectively address it. The goal is to determine whether this knowledge can improve our practices or provide valuable insights to my field or to readers.
ATM: From an author’s perspective, do you think it is important to follow reporting guidelines during preparation of manuscripts?
Dr. Wongsripuemtet: Adhering to reporting guidelines, such as CONSORT or PRISMA, is essential in academic research for ensuring accurate, reproducible, and transparent research. These guidelines offer clear and standardized reporting methods. Their significance lies in aiding comprehensive understanding and replication of studies by other researchers, facilitating evaluation by editors and peer reviewers, and improving accessibility and readability for all audiences. Compliance with those guidelines ensures transparent reporting of methodologies, enabling readers, reviewers, and the public to engage effectively with research findings. Furthermore, following these guidelines supports reproducibility, strengthens trust in scientific integrity, and streamlines the review process. In essence, adherence to reporting guidelines is essential for ensuring accurate, reproducible, and transparent research, benefiting both the scientific community and the general public.
(by Masaki Lo, Brad Li)
Oscar J. Manrique
Dr. Oscar J. Manrique, M.D., F.A.C.S., is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and Fellow of The American College of Surgeons in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center, Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York, USA. He did his clinical training in General Surgery and Trauma/Surgical Critical Care at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and Boston Medical Center/Boston University, followed by Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and subsequently by Fellowships in Microsurgery/Lymphatic Surgery at the University of Southern-California in Los Angeles and China Medical University Hospital in Taiwan. He has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles, more than a dozen of book chapters and serves as reviewer for several journals in Plastic Surgery. Connect with Dr. Manrique on Instagram.
Speaking of academic writing, Dr. Manrique thinks it can transform the life of millions of people. “The impact of providing our clinical expertise through a scientific paper is unparallel,” says he. In the process of writing a paper, he would make use of every statistical tool and through a very rigorous review process to avoid biases. He emphasizes that it is crucial for authors to stay honest and critical in handling the data for a research paper. He also agrees it is important to collaborate with other researchers around the world, for data sharing within the field, in order to gather clinical experiences and to standardize protocols based on research of different experts for improving the current standards of care.
(by Masaki Lo, Brad Li)
Dr. Riccardo D’Ambrosi works in the CASCO Department at IRCCS Ospedale Galeazzi – Sant’Ambrogio and is also a researcher at the University of Milan, Italy. He is mainly involved in ligament knee surgery (ACL, PCL, multiligamentous knee surgery) and pays particular attention to sports medicine and regenerative medicine (scaffold implantation, cartilage regeneration, infiltrative treatments). Dr. D’Ambrosi has more than 110 impactful publications on PubMed, most of them are on clinical practice and systematic reviews focusing on knee surgery with numerous international collaborations. In 2016, he was awarded for the Best Orthopedics Oral Communication at the National Shoulder and Elbow Congress (SICSeG); in 2018 and 2019, the Best Poster at the Società Italiana di Ortopedia e Traumatologia (SIOT) National Congress; and in 2021, the Best Knee Presentation at Pre-Meeting Virtual SIOT Congress. He has also been a co-author and won a prize at ESSKA Congress. Dr. D’Ambrosi has recently been recognized as ESSKA Teacher and is involved in the International Quadriceps Tendon Interest Group. He is also an EKA Mentor and has completed the ESSKA European Certification Programme on the Anterior Cruciate Ligament Module. He serves as peer reviewer for some of the most impactful international journals on Orthopedics, Traumatology, Rheumatology and more. He is the editor of the Special Issue "Clinical Advances in Knee Surgery" in Journal of Clinical Medicine (Impact Factor 4.964) and the editor of the Special Issue "Lower Limb Diseases and Injuries in Children and Adolescents" in Children Journal (Impact Factor 2.078). Currently, he is a member of the Editorial Board of the Annals of Translational Medicine (Impact Factor 3.297), Journal of Orthopedics, World Journal of Orthopedics and JAJS. He is one of the founding members of the newly established ESSKA Hip Preservation Associates (EHPA) Section, Member of SIAGASCOT (Società Italiana di artroscopia, ginocchio, arto superiore, sport, cartilagine e tecnologie ortopediche), Member of SIOT (Società Italiana di Ortopedia e Traumatologia), and so on. Connect with Dr. D’Ambrosi on Instagram.
Dr. D’Ambrosi thinks scientific writing is the primary channel for scientific knowledge communication. In the orthopedic surgeon field, which is of great competence, the work and results of advanced surgeries and treatments must be documented, validated, and shared to make it valuable to others. Scientific writing captures the research in an applicable format. The five key aspects of scientific writing to Dr. D’Ambrosi are: 1) Discrete units of work; 2) Quality control; 3) A solid record; 4) Distribution and 5) Credit. Writing in science is not only for communicating with others; it is also a tool for scientists and students alike to learn about critical thinking, idea synthesizing, and coming up with conclusions. He further shares, “Scientific writing is an essential component of the entire scientific process, despite its lack of glamour. It would be practically difficult to organize knowledge in a way that is clear or accessible without peer-reviewed academic journals. Although the system has shortcomings, it is currently the best we have. Whether you like it or not, scientific writing is unquestionably crucial.”
Dr. D’Ambrosi continues to point out that a crucial step in the research process is staying current with ideas and research, which might be a difficult undertaking because of the vast volume of journal articles released annually. He shares a variety of strategies and tools on how to stay current with newly released materials in the field of interest by looking through table of contents of relevant journals and databases of pertinent subjects, configuring email notifications from publishers' websites and databases and observing pertinent scholars or institutions on social media.
Speaking of conflicts of interest (COI) disclosure, Dr. D’Ambrosi points out that appearance holds equal significance to actuality. For that reason, he thinks it is critical to declare any COI. Most organizations have a policy that addresses COI including disclosure, which is usually a more formal written process. The goal of the disclosure process is to empower employees to take responsibility for their actions and choices and to be open and honest about them. Although it may help dispel the illusion, disclosing a potential COI does not turn it into one. Conversely, revealing a real COI does not eliminate it; rather, it brings it to light so that it can be appropriately resolved. “It is crucial to declare any apparent or real COI so that others can assess the issue and decide on what to do. If one keeps it to themselves, this could lead to moral or legal dilemmas. Since the person lacks an impartial or independent point of view, they are unable to determine if there is a conflict or not,” says he.
(by Masaki Lo, Brad Li)
Dr. Elliot Ho completed his sub-specialty training in Interventional Pulmonology at the University of Chicago and is currently an Assistant Professor at Loma Linda University Medical Center in the US. As an interventional pulmonologist, he performs advanced diagnostic procedures such as robotic-assisted bronchoscopy and endobronchial ultrasound with biopsies, and advanced therapeutic procedures such as rigid bronchoscopies with tumor debulking, thoracoscopies, and bronchial lung volume reduction. His research experiences include the use of thoracic ultrasound, robotic bronchoscopy, and endobronchial ultrasound. With over 15 publications, Dr. Ho plans to continue pursuing his research interest in navigational bronchoscopy and pleural disease. He hopes to expand the accessibility of minimally invasive bronchoscopic techniques in robotic bronchoscopy and bronchial lung volume reduction for emphysema. Connect with Dr. Ho on LinkedIn.
Dr. Ho believes academic writing holds great value, as it allows the sharing of knowledge in the academic community, by relying on objective evidence and scientific data. It also fosters conversations and discussions from different viewpoints, encouraging the assessment of the quality of evidence supporting the ideas and the exploration of new perspectives in research.
To ensure the writing remains relevant and up-to-date, Dr. Ho thinks it is important to stay actively involved in the academic community. He shares, “This can be accomplished through maintaining subscriptions to pertinent academic journals and staying current with daily reading, actively engaging in writing and reviewing articles on specific topics, participation in discussions with fellow experts in the respective fields, attendance at research conferences, and involvement in teaching activities at academic institutions. With this, we can enrich our understanding of current practices and promote the generation of new ideas within the research domain.”
Finally, speaking of disclosure of conflict of interest (COI), Dr. Ho points out that COI does not inherently carry a negative connotation as authors collaborating with industry partners can be essential for securing the resources necessary to conduct timely research. Additionally, the authors' partnerships with industry and their field of expertise may offer a unique perspective. However, he stresses that it is crucial for authors to transparently disclose these COIs. This ensures an honest and open discussion within the academic community, allowing for a nuanced understanding of potential biases that may influence the research.
(by Masaki Lo, Brad Li)