Mixed Messages

Christmas wishes

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.309.6970.1738 (Published 24 December 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:1738
  1. H E Emson, professor of pathologya
  1. aRoyal University Hospital, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada S7N 0X0

    As I pass yet another birthday, and the end of my working life looms nearer, I begin to think that I should have written this letter years ago. What I ask for, Santa, is hard to stuff in a sack and it may not even be yours to give. As a lifetime writer of articles for medical journals, what I am asking for is a little fairness.

    We writers have heard a lot from editors about our sins. We have had our noses rubbed in the dirt about word counts, running titles, spacing, margins, content, and style. We have been told that we can't spell correctly, write grammatically, or think logically. We have left unwritten those things which we ought to have written and we have authored those papers we ought not to have authored, and there is precious little health in us.

    We have taken this lying down because we can't afford to complain: editors hold us in the hollows of their ink stained hands and, short of self publication, we have nowhere else to take our ideas. But even writers turn, in the end.

    This outburst, …

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