When the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the United States just 3 short months ago, perhaps few would have predicted the profound effects we are now experiencing throughout our society. One thing, however, was always certain: those who care for patients, teach, learn, and conduct research at academic health centers would find themselves on the front lines of this nation’s response to the global pandemic and soon would have knowledge and insight about their experiences to share.
Between the end of February and mid-April, Academic Medicine has already received nearly 80 submissions from authors around the world seeking to disseminate knowledge about conducting patient care, health professions education, and research in the time of COVID-19. This content needs to be reviewed carefully and shared widely as soon as possible. Admittedly, the peer-review and publication processes of a scholarly journal are not traditionally the fastest way to disseminate information, but we wanted to assure our authors, readers, and reviewers that we on the editorial team are facilitating this process for COVID-19 content in a number of ways:
Expedited review process. Given the rapidly changing landscape, we recognize the importance of a swift peer-review process; however, we are committed to preserving the integrity and quality of content that ultimately is published in Academic Medicine. Thus, we are continuing to review all submissions using the same standards, but we are screening new submissions for COVID-19 content and requesting a 7-day turnaround from reviewers of these manuscripts.
Expedited publication process. As COVID-19 submissions are accepted, they are being edited and published online ahead of print as soon as possible on a rolling basis. At the same time, we want to assure our authors and readers that we do not anticipate slowing down the publication timeline for non-COVID-19 content. We remain committed to our mission to publish high-quality original research and articles that address all major challenges facing the academic medicine community. We have identified a small number of our staff editors who will be able to prioritize COVID-19 content while the rest of us continue to edit other accepted articles.
Freely accessible content. We are committed to facilitating the dissemination of content related to COVID-19 and will ensure that articles related to this topic will never be behind a paywall, regardless of a reader’s subscription status.
Dedicated article collection on academicmedicine.org. As COVID-19 articles are published, they will be pulled into an electronic collection on the journal’s website. This collection will be updated frequently. Readers can access this collection at any time to view all of Academic Medicine’s published content related to COVID-19 in one spot.
Open submission process. We understand some journals have issued a special call for COVID-19 submissions or created a special submission type for these papers. We are taking a different approach. If you are writing about COVID-19, please feel free to submit any type of manuscript we publish in Academic Medicine, taking care to follow the submission guidelines when developing your manuscript. There is no deadline for submission and no new instructions to follow. We will publish accepted COVID-19 articles continuously for as long as necessary rather than aiming for one theme issue or narrow collection of articles.
Call for trainee-authored letters to the editor. Our fifth annual call for Letters to the Editor authored by students, residents, and fellows focuses on the topic of courage, connection, and COVID-19. The deadline for submission is 5 p.m. Eastern time, June 1, 2020. We are eager to hear from trainees about their observations related to the transformative effects of COVID-19 in health care and health professions education.
Complementary content. In addition to peer-reviewed and invited articles in the pages of the journal, we are working hard on developing some complementary COVID-19 content through the Academic Medicine Podcast and here on AM Rounds. Just this week we released the latest episode of our podcast entitled, “The Generosity of Health Professionals Across Academic Medicine in Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic.” We encourage you to follow us on Twitter (@AcadMedJournal) and LinkedIn to receive announcements about new content across all our platforms.
We have been heartened by the tremendous response from our authors and reviewers, who are transforming an unprecedented health care crisis into an opportunity to share knowledge and insight as quickly as possible. We sincerely thank everyone who continues to submit manuscripts, review submissions in just a few days, and help us disseminate published content through social media. This work is some of the most important in the history of the journal, and we couldn’t do it without you.
For additional resources related to the academic medicine community’s response to COVID-19, we also suggest you visit the AAMC’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Hub.
Mary Beth DeVilbiss
Laura Weiss Roberts, MD, MA