Editing medical journals - short course

Next course: 2-4 November 2016

In 2015 we had 25 delegates from all over the world and there was a great buzz to the two days with wide-ranging discussions. Feedback showed that not only did the delegates think it was inspiring, but the course also gave them ideas and practical information for their own journals. Networking and participation were key and everyone agreed that the opportunity to discuss large and small issues and to learn from each other was one of the key strengths of the two days. (A short walk around Oxford and one of the colleges was also very appreciated!) The best comment from the delegates was the one saying that the worst part of the course was "that it ended!"

If you would like to receive more information or enquire about running the course in-house for your own editorial team, please contact Pippa Smart.

About the course

Editors of medical journals must ensure that their journals satisfy their owners, their authors and their readers - usually while working as full-time scientists and clinicians. There is little formal training or support for editors in developing and managing journals and it is often assumed that knowing the discipline is sufficient. This two-day course (now in its 19th year) is one of the few available opportunities for editors to meet other editors and discuss how to best manage their journals and improve efficiency and success. This workshop does not focus on how to edit articles, but instead looks at the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to run a successful publication.

By the end of the course participants will be able to:
1. identify strategies for improving the success of their journal;
2. apply a range of techniques to attract (and keep) high calibre authors;
3. utilise different methods for increasing the chances of the journal being read, understood and cited;
4. set up quality control and reviewing systems that meet the needs of authors and readers;
5. understand the roles of the editor in relation to the journal owner and publisher, their authors and the public;
6. implement systems to ensure that ethical responsibilities are met; and
7. have a clear action plan for the coming year.

Who should attend
What form does the course take
Course tutors
Dates, cost and venue
Other events of interest


1. Editors & the world of publishing

  • Understanding the world of medical journals; building strategies for dealing with owners and publishers; what being an editor means.
  • View a sample presentation and a sample exercise.

2. Attracting good authors

  • Setting up strategies to find good authors and to keep them.

3. Ensuring quality

  • Getting the best out of the peer reviewing system; ethics and the responsibilities of editing; choosing the 'right' balance of contents.

4. Visibility and readership

  • Improving the likelihood of the journal articles being discovered, read, understood and cited.

The course starts on Wednesday evening with an informal dinner to meet the other participants. At the Thursday dinner there is a guest speaker.

Who should (and should not) attend

This course has been designed for those who want to learn how to be a successful medical journal editor. It is particularly suitable for those in the early stages of their careers as an editor. Clinicians and scientists who plan to get involved with medical journals, or editorial staff involved in a supporting role (e.g. managing editors), will also benefit.

The course is not aimed at meeting the needs of those looking for training on writing articles for publication, technical editing or peer review/critical appraisal. For information and training on editing and writing, see the site of EMWA (European Medical Writers Association) or the association of Mediterranean Editors and Translators (MET, www.metmeetings.org) who hold regular training events.

What form does the course take

The course usually runs with c.25 delegates from around the world and concentrates on group and practical work rather than formal lectures. Active participation is encouraged. Participants will be provided with a course folder with extensive notes and background reading for use after the event

Course tutors

Pippa Smart is a publishing consultant with many years' experience of providing training to editors and publishing staff. Over her career she has had experience in journal editing, production, design and managing lists of medical journals. She has also spend several years working with editors and publishers in less developed countries on establishing and implementing strategic plans for their journals. In addition to being EiC of Learned Publishing, she currently sits on the boards of several journals.

Dr Domhnall MacAuley is on the editorial team of CMAJ, and PLOS Medicine and has an extensive record of editing, having been the Clinical Editor (Primary Care) with the BMJ, and the editor of the British Journal of Sports Medicine (during which time he rejuvenated and greatly raised the profile of this journal, increasing submissions and impact factor). Outside of journal editing he was Professor of Primary Care (Research) at the University of Ulster and has extensive experience as an author, having published seven books and more than 100 original papers.

The course dates, cost and venue

Where: Oxford, UK at the Cotswold Lodge Hotel, a comfortable country-style hotel within walking distance of the centre of Oxford

When: Wednesday 2nd November (evening) to Friday 4th November, finishing at 3:30pm

Cost: GB£940 (to include all accommodation, meals and course materials)

-- For further information or to book a place, please contact us.

Participants at the Medical Editors course in November 2008.

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