December 2008 issue of MH: what’s new?

The next issue of MH, to be published in December, will be the first for the new editorial team and so represents a milestone of sorts in the history of the journal. Some of the planned developments will already be evident in this issue, including for instance both an art review and a music review. Others, such as film reviews, will feature for the first time in 2009. Book reviews are always popular and this issue features two that will be of interest to both medical educators and clinicians.

Regular readers may notice that educational research papers are no longer distinguished from other research papers but instead take equal place amongst the wide range of scholarly work featured in the journal. This represents a recognition by the team of the scholarly nature of educational research. It also reflects a desire to end the sometimes inconsistent way in which, in the past, educational papers were variously designated in the journal.

In introducing some new article types our intention is to both provide a forum for the sharing of important ideas and work in medical humanities and also to encourage a broader range of authors to consider submitting their work to us. Not all of these new article types will feature in the next issue, partly because they are not yet widely enough known and partly because of the inevitable delay between submission and publication. Two of these new article types- the educational case studies and the student essay-merit special mention.

Educational Case Studies offer educators an opportunity  to share interesting and innovative teaching ideas with readers in a way that will hopefully enable us all to learn from each other’s creativity. Short and to the point these case studies will explain what was done, where, why and by whom, and how things seemed to go. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to ‘have a go’. Perhaps you’re already doing something similar you’ll want to share via our e-response. Or perhaps you’ll want to contact the author to offer ideas and suggestions of your own. The Student Essay category offers those beginning their research careers the opportunity to receive additional support, if required, when addressing any concerns raised by reviewers. The standard required for publication will be just as high as for other original papers but by offering this extra level of support we hope to encourage the best of the next generation to submit their work to us to share with you.

Working to bring our first issue to print has been an incredible journey of discovery. The process involved in publishing as diverse and ambitious a journal as MH is intricate, illuminating, and intellectually challenging. As a new editor I feel at times as though I’m learning all over again to read for the first time. To really read, to try and hear what the author is saying, to find meaning both within and beyond the few thousand words available to them. To engage- albeit with the help of an incredible team of associate editors, editorial board members and peer reviewers- with such an immense variety of ways of thinking and disciplinary approaches is to be both humbled and exhilarated in equal measure.

I hope you enjoy reading the next issue of MHs as much as we enjoyed putting it together. If you do then you’re in for a treat. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing with you some of the papers we’ll be featuring and some of the issues they explore. Let me know what you think!

Medical Humanities

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