EDITORIAL Ann R Coll Surg Engl 2016; 98: 441 doi 10.1308/rcsann.2016.0265
The Sir Cecil Wakeley Medal: rewarding excellence in clinical research When Sir Alfred Webb-Johnson, former President of this College, determined that there would be a monthly RCS publication to keep its fellows and members conversant with recent advances in surgery, it fell to Sir Cecil Wakeley to both launch and develop the journal. It is a role to which he dedicated himself for more than 20 years. I am certain he could not have anticipated all the developments that the RCS journals have been through, but I am sure he would have been touched that the Annals has fundamentally remained true to his guiding principles. Successive Editors have consistently eschewed the test-tube for the clinical and translational and by focussing on surgical endeavour and technical innovation have ensured that the journal remains relevant to the clinical practice of its readership. It has always been more important that the Annals is read than referenced. Sir Cecil took a particular interest in the training of young surgeons and provided particular support for those wishing to publish research. It is then entirely appropriate then that the Annals continues to support the aspirations of all those who wish to publish clinically based research – articles that are increasingly a casualty on the battlefield of a variety of citation indices. It is a process that we have always encouraged, especially in those at an early stage of surgical training, and is now recognised by an annual award. Karan Jolly recently became the first United Kingdom trainee to receive the the Sir Cecil Wakeley Medal. It is awarded to the author of the best original research paper published in the Annals and first-authored by a trainee, and will be awarded annually. Karan received his medal from President of the College, Clare Marx, and was accompanied by Professor Neil Mortensen, Chairman of the Editorial
From Left to Right: Tim Lane, Editor-in-Chief of the Annals, Karan Jolly, recipient of the Sir Cecil Wakeley Medal, Clare Marx, RCS President, Mr Charles Wakeley FRCS and Professor Neil Mortensen, Member of RCS Council.
Board and Member of Council and Charles Wakeley, a fellow of the RCS and grandson of Sir Cecil Wakeley. The process of clinical research and publication is a robust and challenging one. Authors not only have to contend with an uncompromising review process, but once articles are published those same authors are then exposed to the unsheltered critical appraisal of their wider peer group. There has always been a justifiably cautious approach to the acceptance of data that challenges acknowledged clinical paradigms. That caution however is not always shared by all. While there is a widespread understanding within the medical fraternity of the disconnect between association and causality, for example, it does not, unfortunately, prevent the occasional and perhaps obtuse misinterpretation of clinical outcome data by others for political ends. The field is clearly not for the timorous. But it is only through this process that we can hope to make a direct furtherance to patient care. Help is at hand, though. Derek Alderson and Colin Johnson run a hugely successful course at the RCS appropriately entitled ‘How to write a surgical paper’ and the Annals itself has just recently completed a series of articles on the general theme of medical publishing, which have been compiled into a book entitled How to Get Your Paper Published. I would certainly commend them both to all those considering a foray into the field of publications for the first time. To read sample chapters of How to Get Your Paper Published and buy the book, visit http://publishing.rcseng.ac.uk/ medicalpublishing. To submit to the Annals, visit http://publishing.rcseng.ac. uk/page/submit.
Tim Lane, Editor-in-Chief of the Annals, with Karan Jolly, recipient of the Sir Cecil Wakeley Medal.
Ann R Coll Surg Engl 2016; 98: 441