Case reports (CRs) can be valuable contributions to medical knowledge and education. Objective assessments of publication potential and content recommendations for pediatric CRs are lacking.
The “Instructions to Authors” provided by pediatric journals were assessed to determine journal characteristics, manuscript restrictions, and advice to writers. Pediatric journals referenced in the National Center for Biotechnology Information databases were identified by using the search term “pediatric.” Further inclusion criteria were: active journals; currently indexed in the PubMed, Ovid, and/or Medline databases; and English as the primary language.
Sixty-nine (52%) of 132 pediatric journals surveyed published CRs per their author instructions. The median 2011 impact factor for accepting journals was 1.28 (range: 0.47–5.44) compared with 2.40 (range: 0.59–5.50) for journals that did not publish CRs (P < .001). Twelve (67%) of 18 pediatric surgical specialty journals, 16 (55%) of 29 general pediatric journals, and 38 (51%) of 74 nonsurgical pediatric subspecialty journals published CRs. Sixteen journals had a separate Images section. Twenty-five (36%) of 69 journals provided no recommendations. Of the 44 journals that did provide recommendations, new insights/observations (64%) was the most common content recommendation, followed by clinical relevance (41%), novelty/rarity (39%), and instructive/educational value (32%).
Approximately one-half of pediatric journals surveyed published CRs per their author instructions. Journals with lower impact factors were more likely to publish CRs. Many journals had specific formatting criteria. New insights and observations regarding relatively known pathology was the content criteria most often recommended.