Medical English by Jonathan McFarland

I wish to thank at Bibliosalut for offering me the chance to open this new section within their webpage. I am duly honoured and am extremely happy to be able collaborate with them in this way. The idea of this section is to help the users of Bibliosalut with Medical English, and so I will always be ready to listen to new ideas and suggestions.

About Jonathan McFarland


altEnglish Teacher for the last twenty years, and for the last decade Jonathan McFarland has been dedicated to teaching Medical English to physicians, health professionals and all those working in health. Currently he works in Son Espases University Hospital and Son Llatzer Hospital, as well as teaching in Primary Care and in Public Health.

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Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals

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The International Committe of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) or Vancouver Group was founded in 1984 and contributes regular recommendations on the publication of medical articles. It states in its webpage:

"The ICMJE is a gorup of Medical Journal editors whose participants meet annually and fund their work on the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly work in Medical Journals".

Some of the journals included in this group are: Annals of Internal Medicine, BMJ, JAMA, New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet, so obviously we are talking about some of the most important journals in the medical sciences. In December 2013 their Recommendations were updated, and I have decided to add it to this section as I believe it could be of great interest to would-be writers.

International Committe of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals. Updated December 2013.

Some concrete ideas about manuscript abstracts

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This article comes from a “Medical Writing tip of the Month” section in CHEST that I have found has had some really interesting articles about how to write articles. 

This particular article deals with abstracts, and for me this is an important way to enter into the subject as very often abstracts are the only thing that busy doctors and scientists have time to read. So, they are essential and NOT easy. This interesting article gives an insight into the ins and outs of abstract writing.

Foote M. Some concrete ideas about manuscript abstracts. ​Chest. 2006 May;129(5):1375-7. PMID: 16685031.

The impact factor game. It is time to find a better way to assess the scientific literature

alt This is a more recent article and comes from PLOS Medicine, and I chose it for the topic. The Impact Factor was devised and created by Eugene Garfield, an American scientist and one of the founders of bibliometrics and scientometrics. He states that the first time he mentioned the impact factor was in an article in Science in 1955, around the same time that Watson and Crick wrote their famous letter

The Impact factor is fundamental to scientists and doctors living in this “publish or perish” setting and yet I believe that very few really know how the impact factor is evaluated. This article sheds light on this and for this reason I think that it is essential reading. You may agree or not, but it will make you sit up and think.

The impact factor game. It is time to find a better way to assess the scientific literature. ​PLoS Med. 2006 Jun;3(6):e291. ​PMID: 16749869.