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Editorial
Veterinary Record Case Reports – filling a gap
  1. Alastair MacMillan, BVSc, MSc, PhD, FRCPath, MRCVS
  1. Pointers, West Chiltington Road, Pulborough,
    West Sussex, UK
  1. e-mail: brucella{at}clara.co.uk

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THIS month sees the launch of Veterinary Record Case Reports, an exciting new addition to the expanding group of BVA journals published by the prestigious BMJ with its long heritage of excellence in medical publishing.

Until now there has been limited opportunity to publish veterinary case reports, as most journals, including Veterinary Record, will only publish large and notable case series or single cases of exceptional novelty or significance. Thus, this initiative presents a real opportunity for colleagues outside large specialist referral centres, universities and research institutes to launch their publishing careers. Indeed, we will be encouraging reports of cases from first-opinion practice, less usual areas of practice and from the extramural studies of veterinary students. Colleagues writing up cases as part of their studies leading to a certificate or diploma are particularly encouraged to submit their reports for publication in this journal.

Veterinary Record Case Reports will be delivering a focused, peer-reviewed, valuable collection of cases in all disciplines so that veterinary professionals, researchers and others can easily find clinically important information on both common and rare conditions. We will be publishing cases with clinically valuable lessons. Therefore, common cases that present a diagnostic, ethical or management challenge, or that highlight aspects of mechanisms of injury or disease, are deemed of particular educational value. We want to publish cases worthy of discussion, particularly around aspects of differential diagnosis, decision making, management, clinical guidelines and pathology. The advantage is that we learn from real cases.

Veterinary Record Case Reports will be an online-only journal, which brings the advantage of rapid publication so that authors can see the fruits of their labour soon after submission without the need to wait months for an issue date. Topics will gain content over time as more articles are added, leading to a more rapid growth of knowledge based on this additive effect. Authors will also benefit from the realisation that their work is available to a global audience on a number of databases. Veterinary Record Case Reports will not judge reports on the basis of their novelty, importance or breadth of appeal, and reviewers will be asked to consider only quality and educational value.

In order to submit to the journal an author must become a subscriber and the annual fee is just £99 until the end of 2013. The subscription rate will increase to £125 in 2014 but BVA members will receive a discount and continue to pay £99. The first 50 authors contributing to the journal will be able to submit a case report free of charge. By becoming a subscriber, an author will be able to submit as many cases as he or she wishes over 12 months, access all published content within Veterinary Record Case Reports and re-use any published content without further permission.

Publishing a first paper can be a confusing and intimidating process and many prospective authors have been deterred from submitting articles, or have been left feeling humiliated following a bruising peer-review experience. To help, we've created templates – one for full case reports and one for ‘Images in’ – so that cases are published in an easy-to-read format. There is also a step-by-step guide on how to complete the template. So here is a real opportunity for anyone, whether they work in the most modest first-opinion practice or are a student or new graduate just starting out, to launch their publishing career in a safe and straightforward environment. Go on, rise to the challenge!

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