The Journal of Neurosurgery Publishing Group (JNSPG) receives thousands of submissions per year, and the competition for an accepted manuscript is high. Clinical research articles with the highest priority for publication include those with comparative science, such as prospective randomized trials and cohort studies, those that bring a new and important message to readers, and those that clearly help the reader in some meaningful way. Case reports or limited case series that provide a unique observation or some confirmatory data are typically considered less competitive for journal space.
In years past, in the era before internet-based searches, readers had journal access via their own subscriptions or those at a library. A case report on a relevant topic, if submitted to a journal not typically associated with neurosurgical subscribers, would likely have remained “buried.” At present, when we can search across all journals for titles and abstracts, these reports are more easily discoverable. Thus, does the Journal of Neurosurgery, with a finite number of edited text pages for print publication per year, need to provide a format for such work?
What is the value of a case report or limited case series? We think it is the lesson that the observation or experience provides to readers. Does a single case contribute to the literature or just add to it? Does it contribute to a growing standard of practice? We think that there is true value to the publication of good-quality information to provide continued validation. Indeed, registry-oriented science is based on the premise of continued data collection. More data also help to create stronger systematic reviews. The JNSPG believes that part of our mission is to support the collection and publication of these kinds of data.
We also believe that these case lessons can serve as a valuable learning exercise for young neurosurgeons and neurosurgical trainees, who are at the beginning of their careers. The preparation of a high-quality case lesson can serve as a building block for the proper conduction of a targeted literature review, for appropriate preparation of figures and tables for publication, and for practicing the mechanics and art of scientific manuscript writing, an exercise that can take many years to improve upon and master.
We are thus excited to announce that we are launching a new journal. Journal of Neurosurgery: Case Lessons is an open-access, online-only, peer-reviewed journal that will serve as a database for neurosurgical observations and experiences. Submissions will be shorter in length, data driven, and deliver a focused message to readers. The content for submission will be as shown in Fig. 1. Manuscripts should be submitted directly to the JNS: Case Lessons submission site, as case report and case illustration submissions will no longer be considered for any of the print journals. The time from submission to publication is guaranteed to be rapid.
We hope that this exciting new format will foster growth in our specialty, support the clinical work of neurosurgeons worldwide, and allow neurosurgical science to remain accessible to all who read and use the publications of the JNSPG. We look forward to receiving your submissions to JNS: Case Lessons, and we thank you in advance for your support of this new initiative.