The Journal of Swine Health and Production publishes articles of many different genres. The genre of an article (or manuscript) is basically a category that is assigned to it, for example, “original research,” “brief communication,” and “case report.” For most journals, including the JSHAP, the author of the manuscript is required to submit the work under a genre that they feel best suits the material. Often times, the peer reviewers agree with the genre suitability, but occasionally a recommendation to change it is made or required as part of the review process prior to acceptance for publication. Manuscripts are assigned to a specific genre for many different reasons. The primary and perhaps the most important reason is to highlight to the reader the type of information that is being presented and to ultimately guide the reader on how he or she should integrate that information into practice or future research. At the JSHAP, all manuscripts, regardless of genre, are peer reviewed with equal rigour and attention to detail.
As I mentioned in my editorial in the March-April 2013 issue, the most read genres in the JSHAP (according to survey responses) were original research and case reports, followed by brief communications and literature reviews.1 Original research manuscripts contain information that tests a hypothesis and are supported by data, sound study design, statistical analysis, and considerations for controls or bias. This enables the authors to draw conclusions about the presented data and propose causal relationships that they have examined directly in the data. Brief communications are very similar to original research but are normally smaller in scope, for example, a smaller sample size of pigs or pilot studies.
A case report is exactly what it sounds like – a report on a case seen in the field. This may be a report on the unique presentation of a disease or herd situation. Usually these types of reports are based on what is happening on the farm in “real time,” so there is not necessarily a pre-determined study design, and control subjects are often missing. I believe that JSHAP readers see value in case reports because they describe herd problems similar to those that the reader may be dealing with and can relate to. Extrapolations to a causal effect are often minimized in case reports due to the lack of subject controls and statistical analysis. However, extrapolations may be generalizable to a practical clinical situation.
For those of you who do not know, the JSHAP offers a unique manuscript genre called peer-reviewed commentary. The exact date of its induction into JSHAP genre-ship isn’t well documented, but it has been offered as a genre for over a decade. The concept of peer-reviewed commentary was introduced to provide a category for authors to conduct a literature-review type of article, but also to provide flexibility for discussion on a topic of interest in more depth. The broad discussion still needs to be properly supported with references, but doesn’t need to provide new data or information required of manuscripts in the original research genre. We don’t receive many submissions of this type, as they tend to be quite a bit of work for the authors, but they add a wealth of knowledge and value to the journal and the readership.
Submissions in the area of literature review are also thin. Again, I believe this is because that type of article requires a great deal of time commitment for the authors. A literature review is usually a manuscript that considers all the literature published on a topic. The review does not report on new work or new trials, but rather provides a summation of the current published information on a topic and perhaps highlights areas that need focus and further research.
The JSHAP office receives many communications from corresponding authors asking about the genre that would suit their work. The staff at the journal are motivated to see a successful publication, so we appreciate these communications and encourage them. The time taken to complete the review process can often be minimized when a manuscript is submitted in the appropriate category. I would like to encourage all authors to consider topics suitable for both literature reviews and peer-reviewed commentaries. I recognize the great amount of work that goes into such articles, but the end result can be highly rewarding and of great value to private practitioners and the extended scientific community. With that I would like to end with a call for authors to submit manuscripts suitable for submission in the genres of literature review or peer-reviewed commentary. Don’t hesitate to contact the journal staff for guidance.
1. O’Sullivan T. We want to know your opinion. Editorial. J Swine Health Prod. 2013;21:69.
Terri O‘Sullivan, DVM, PhD Executive Editor