Various Dept Based * Elective Course Description

Course Name: Understanding Peer-Reviewed Literature
Course Number: XX-475 
Elective Type: C
Coordinator(s): Caryn Sandrew, Assisitant to the Editor-in- Chief (Primary)
csandrew@nejm.org   or call 617-487-6514
Department: Office of Medical Education
Sites Available: New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) Editorial Office in Boston, MA
Months Offered: 1   {October block only}
Number of Students / Month: 2   
Prerequisites: Completion of 3rd year required clerkships
Offered to UMass Students Only

Elective Description:  Under the direction of Jeffery Drazen M.D. ( jdrazen@nejm.org ), Editor in Chief New England Journal of Medicine,   Assistant Directors: Gregory D Curfman M.D., Executive Editor NEJM, and  Edward W Campion, Senior Deputy Editor NEJM,  this 4 week elective is intended for fourth year students who seek a deeper understanding of how editors make their decisions about publishing papers in the medical literature. It is  an integrative and participatory elective based on the New England Journal of Medicine and taught at its editorial offices in Boston.

Learning Objectives:
  At the end of the course, students will have learned: 
1. How the peer review process functions. 
2. How to read and evaluate papers published in the peer reviewed literature.  
3. The role of author-investigator, reviewer and journal editor in the publication process.  

Learning Methods
1. One seminar-style “lecture-discussion” led by Journal staff each day for 4 (four) weeks. These lectures will frame the process that takes place during the peer-reviewed editing process. 
2. Observation of editorial meetings (2 per week). 
3. Preparation and delivery of assignments under the guidance of a deputy editor, who will serve as a tutor. 
4.   Assignments: 

a. Verbal presentations to the assembled students and representative NEJM staff 
  i.  Critique of a paper published in the NEJM presented in “journal club” style 
  ii. Presentation of an Original Article manuscript about a clinical trial submitted to the NEJM  but for which no decision has yet been made and for which the student has not seen the review.
  iii. Presentation of an Original Article manuscript about the scientific basis of disease submitted to the NEJM  but for which no decision has yet been  made and for which the student has not seen the reviews.
   iv. Presentation of a NEJM decision based on the student’s evaluation of the paper and those of the peer reviewers

 b. Written Papers 
  i. Prepare a “Letter to the Editor” based on the published paper mentioned above. Outline other “major weaknesses” in study design or completion. As part of the grading process, submitted letters will be compared to the student’s letter. 
  ii. Prepare a summary of a clinical trial submitted to the NEJM (chosen by the tutor as 4.a.ii. above), including study design, study results, strengths and weaknesses. Prepare a written list of questions that would be forwarded to the statistical reviewers. 
  iii. Prepare a summary of a biology-of-disease study submitted to the NEJM (chosen by the tutor as 4.a.iii. above), including study design, study results, strengths and weaknesses.  Prepare a written list of questions that would be forwarded to the statistical reviewers. 
  iv.Write a letter to the authors about a submitted Original Article based on the discussions of the paper, the comments of the reviewers and the comments of the statistical consultants.

Grade:  Credit / No Credit  

*Mailing address: c/o Caryn Sandrew, Assistant to the Editor-in-Chief
New England Journal of Medicine, 10 Shattuck Street, Boston, MA 02115 
Phone: (617-487-6514),  Email: csandrew@nejm.org  

Note: Offered to UMass Students Only
Location:  New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) Editorial Office in Boston, 10 Shattuck Street, Boston, MA 02115    www.mapquest.com
Website:  http://www.nejm.org/