Background With the increased encouragement of evidence-based medicine, case reports (CRs) are gradually sidelined and assumed to have minimal impact on the management of patients. In the field of rheumatology (R) CRs are generally published in several journals of the specialty while most major journals restrict or do not accept CRs because they may lower journal's impact factor. There are no studies to date assessing the magnitude and the focus of the CRs published in R literature.
Objectives The aims of this study were to investigate the proportion and the topic of the CRs published in major R journals.
Methods All CRs published in 6 major English language R journals (Rheumatology – Rheum, Journal of Rheumatology – JR, Clinical Experimental Rheumatology – CER, Rheumatology International – RI, Arthritis and Rheumatism – AR, Journal of Clinical Rheumatology - JCR) from January 2007 to December 2011 were searched manually by the authors. The number, percentage (according to the total number of articles published in each issue of the journal), and the main category of the CRs as well as their relation to the individual journal and publication year were analyzed.
Results Total 1357 CRs were analyzed. Twelve percent of all articles published in R journals between 2007–2011 were CRs. The highest percentage of CRs was published in JCR (56.4%), while AR had the lowest percentage (0.05%) of CRs. There was no statistically significant change in the proportion of CRs published within 5-year period (Fig. 1). Case reports reporting rare condition, new and unique treatment, and unusual presentation of a common disease were more likely to be published (Table 1).
Conclusions While the data is limited, the proportion of CRs published in R journals was comparable to the publication rates found in other specialties1,2. Despite the common belief regarding the decreased space for CRs in R journals, there seems to be no decreasing trend, at least within the study period. Case reports regarding rare conditions and new treatments find more space in the journals.
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Disclosure of Interest None declared
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