In 2022, many authors make outstanding contributions to our journal. Their articles published with us have received very well feedback in the field and stimulate a lot of discussions and new insights among the peers.
Hereby, we would like to highlight some of our outstanding authors who have been making immense efforts in their research fields, with a brief interview of their unique perspectives and insightful views as authors.
Outstanding Authors (2022)
Dr. Patrapim Sunpaweravong currently works at the Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, Thailand. Her research interest includes clinical trials and translational research in lung, breast, and gastrointestinal cancers. Dr. Sunpaweravong’s recent publications have been focused on novel therapy in a paradigm of precision oncology.
Speaking of the role that academic writing plays in science, Dr. Sunpaweravong points out that results from scientific research can be introduced to peers in academic community through a well-arranged communication skill in a clear and precise manner. Novel scientific knowledge could have not been well translated and sound recognized in a wide range of academic scholars without the art of academic presentation.
For Dr. Sunpaweravong, the well-recognized pre-specified research methodology is a solid element of the key success factors of a good academic paper. Besides, a study which has been originated to solve an unmet need of a certain condition should be encouraged to be initiated and supported to finish.
Academic writing often involves evidence synthesis. Dr. Sunpaweravong shares some tips on selecting the appropriate evidence for synthesis and analysis, “Select the right tool to solve the root cause of your interested problem, with a reliable research methodology. Always utilize and apply the principle of evidence-based medicine in your research conducting process and the academic writing part.”
The burden of being a doctor is heavy. Despite being a doctor, Dr. Sunpaweravong attempts to arrange a protected or secured time of her own to write papers. She says, “Prioritization of things-to-do is always a key. However, balancing is also the concept to work happily and fulfilling your dream simultaneously.”
(By Nicole J. Li, Brad Li)
Izumi Kawagoe, M.D., Ph.D., is a Professor and Chair in the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Juntendo University, Japan. She obtained her M.D. degree from National Kagawa Medical University in 2000, and her Ph.D. degree from Juntendo University in 2008. Prof. Kawagoe is a thoracic anesthesiologist, engaging more than 700 thoracic cases annually. Her research interests are related to thoracic anesthesia, including both clinical study and experimental research. She received research awards from the Japan Clinical Anesthesia Society in 2016 and has acquired Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Japanese government since 2018 to present on the immune suppression effect of anesthetics. She received the Excellent Award from the Japanese Society of Anesthesiologists (JSA) in 2020 and the main result of that research was published in the Journal of Thoracic Disease in 2021. She is an international and educational delegate of JSA, a Thoracic Subspeciality Committee member of the European Association of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia and Intensive Care, and a national coordinator of PROTHOR (protective one-lung ventilation) international research.
Prof. Kawagoe thinks the most essential element of a good academic paper is a catchy title. When reading papers, people look at the title and abstract first. A good paper usually has a well-structured abstract and a fine, catchy title. In Methods, each part should be explained accurately but not include unnecessary sentences. That is, one can understand and reperform the same research accurately by reading the Methods section.
Academic writing often involves evidence synthesis, here are some tips Prof. Kawagoe would like to share: In the technical aspect, Prof. Kawagoe investigates and collects evidence from previous studies while conducting research. She will ask the co-authors to do the same thing and they will store the data in the Cloud. She prefers to use GoodNotes application, which the users can write into using an iPad pen, cut some phrases, and paste to the note. In the academic aspect, even though it may not become a citation of the article, Prof. Kawagoe and her co-authors still will read many reviews in and around the field, which they believe will lead to a good selection of references. What’s more, she usually writes articles related to anesthesiology, but she still reads articles related to surgery to acquire deep knowledge about the field. By acquiring broad knowledge, she is able to synthesize and analyze their research and evidence.
Prof. Kawagoe shares three reasons why she chose to publish in Translational Cancer Research (TCR). Firstly, TCR covers a wide range of fields and selects interesting articles. Secondly, she was recommended to submit to TCR by another journal editor of AME publishing company. Furthermore, through her years of experience, she feels AME Publishing Company is fair and kind. She is pleased that the citation numbers and impact factor of the journal have been increasing.
When comes to reporting guidelines (e.g. STROBE, CONSORT and PRISMA), Prof. Kawagoe thinks it is important to follow them because the authors can check for essential elements and their appropriate location in the article. She especially recommends young and new authors follow reporting guidelines step by step.
(By Teresa Lin, Brad Li)
Dr. Kai-Chi Cheng is now serving as Consultant and Head of the Division of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Kwong Wah Hospital, Hong Kong. He is also Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Dr. Cheng's clinical and research interest focuses on minimally invasive hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery. To date, he performed more than 500 pure laparoscopic hepatectomies and completed one of the largest series on laparoscopic right posterior sectionectomies reported worldwide. As a strong advocate of minimally invasive surgery, he facilitated the introduction of single-port laparoscopic surgery in Hong Kong. His recent research centred on laparoscopic major hepatectomy and long-term survival for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma after laparoscopic hepatectomy. You can find more information about Dr. Cheng on his ORCID page.
For Dr. Cheng, the most common difficulty in academic writing is the statistical methods for analyzing data. The right choice of statistical methodology and data analysis is one of the most crucial aspects of a scientific study. As a clinician with limited training in statistics, help from a statistician who knows the requirements of medical articles is critical.
It is also important to avoid biases in one's writing. Dr. Cheng stresses that we should not attempt to dig into data to get the answer we want. A proper scientific discovery should remain true without any presumptions. The most important thing to avoid biases while writing academic articles is to remain objective about the findings.
Data sharing is increasingly practiced in scientific writing because it can benefit both the author and the scientific community. Dr. Cheng believes data sharing can increase the exposure of the original study and may lead to new collaborations. Duplication of experiments can be avoided, and new insights can be gained, sparking new lines of research. However, the issue of data sharing is more delicate when human data are involved. It involves patient privacy and ethical concerns. Researchers should inform their institutions' ethics committees that they intend to make their data open when applying for ethics approval.
Last but not least, Dr. Cheng would like to say a few words to encourage other academic writers, “It is natural to feel frustrated when a paper is rejected from publications despite months or even years of hard work. However, from my perspective, rejection from journals is much more common than acceptance. We should learn from reviewers' comments. When facing rejection, we should take the reviewer's advice constructively and not hesitate to revise the paper or even completely redesign the whole study. Only practice makes perfect.”
(By Teresa Lin, Brad Li)
Dr. Sataoshi Watanabe is an Associate Professor at the Department of Respiratory Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Niigata University Medical and Dental Hospital in Japan since 2021, where he began working in 2008 and worked as an Assistant Professor in the Department in 2015. In addition, he was an Assistant Professor at the Bioscience Medical Research Center and Vice Director at the Oncology Center, both at Niigata University Medical and Dental Hospital, since 2011 and 2018, respectively. He began his education at the School of Medicine at Niigata University from 1992 to 1998. He then had two rotating internships in the Niigata University Medical and Dental Hospital and the Department of Medicine at Takeda General Hospital in 1998 and 1999, respectively. He then became a resident in the Department of Medicine at Shonai Hospital in 2000. He studied at the Graduate School at Niigata University from 2001 to 2004. Afterwards, he worked at Nagaoka Red Cross Hospital in 2004 and became a Research Fellow at the Center for surgery research in the Division of Surgery at Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, the United States in 2005.
Clinicians like Dr. Watanabe find it difficult to make time to write papers because they have to write them after their hospital work is done. It is also hard to stay motivated to do research and write papers in the midst of a busy schedule.
For non-native English speakers, writing papers in English can be another challenge. Dr. Watanabe jokingly shares that he is the kind of Japanese who can speak Japanese even in sleep. But he often has nightmares in English when he works on an English paper.
From Dr. Watanabe’s perspective, authors should write with an awareness of where the novelty of their paper lies and how to convey that to the readers in an easy-to-understand manner. That is what authors have to bear in mind during the preparation of a paper.
Dr. Watanabe thinks authors should share their research data because the interpretation of data varies from researcher to researcher. By looking at the raw data, he believes the readers can more accurately understand what happened in the study.
(By Teresa Lin, Brad Li)
Prof. Francesco Petrella is Associate Professor of Thoracic Surgery at the Department of Oncology and Hemato-oncology of the University of Milan School of Medicine and Deputy Director at the Division of Thoracic Surgery at the European Institute of Oncology (Italy). His current research interests are thoracic surgical oncology, regenerative medicine and stem cell technology applied to surgery. His clinical interests focus on locally-advanced resectable lung cancer and mediastinal tumors, chest wall surgery, malignant mesothelioma and ECMO-assisted general thoracic surgery. Prof. Petrella has performed more than 1,800 oncologic thoracic surgical procedures as the first operator, in particular surgical resection of Pancoast tumors both with anterior (Spaggiari-Grunenwald) and posterior (Shaw-Paulson) approach, chest wall extended resection including sternectomy both for primary tumors and metastatic lesions. He is developing and leading a program of holographic thoracic surgical anatomy (augmented, mixed and virtual reality) for preoperative assessment of pulmonary anatomy. Learn more about Prof. Petrella through his homepage and LinkedIn.
In Prof. Petrella’s opinion, one of the most challenging aspects of a stimulating and successful scientific and clinical research is the proper choice of the topic to be studied. The authors should focus on topics - from their personal knowledge and experience - which are of present interest to the scientific community in order to further contribute to clinical and scientific commitment.
The best way for preventing personal biases in academic writing, according to Prof. Petrella, is to create a flexible but robust network of researchers and clinical professionals with whom to cooperate both at the beginning of the project and during evolution and proceedings of the research. This would improve not only scientific method application, but a careful analysis of results, limitations and possible biases of the project. Last but not least, a good researcher should always take into proper consideration reviewer’s and editor’s comments and suggestions.
In addition, Prof. Petrella highlights the importance to disclose Conflict of Interest (COI) for any sort of research. A proper COI disclosure plays a pivotal role in the process of creating a clear, useful and sheer paper, without any doubts about integrity and professional commitment of the authors and their scientific and clinical institutions. Every field of scientific research, including thoracic surgical oncology, can be biased by COI; therefore, the authors should always do their best in preventing this risk both in daily clinical practice and when performing clinical trials.
“The most fascinating and rewarding aspect of academic writing is the possibility of further contributing to scientific development of medical community, thus concretely impacting on clinical performances, survival results and quality of life of affected patients. Moreover, clinical and cultural exchanges of ideas and experience with colleagues may favorably contribute to global improvement of the authors themselves,” says Prof. Petrella.
(By Brad Li, Teresa Lin)
Colton Ladbury is a 4th year resident in radiation oncology at City of Hope National Medical Center. He is a graduate of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, USA. His research interests include brachytherapy, expanding indications of radiation for hematologic malignancies, and machine learning, with an emphasis on explainable artificial intelligence. His recent research includes utilization of SHapley Addative exPlanation (SHAP) values to identify prognostic and predictive thresholds in patients undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation for node-positive endometrial cancer as well as patients undergoing surgery with/without postoperative radiotherapy for unresectable locally-advanced non-small cell lung cancer. He is currently working on a secondary analysis of RTOG 0617 wherein he is using machine learning to predict toxicity, and subsequently using SHAP values to identify dosimetric thresholds that predict for toxicity. You may connect with Colton on Twitter.
TCR: What are the essential elements of a good academic paper?
Colton: Ultimately, the two most important factors are having a well-defined and interesting research question as well as quality data to address the research question. Without an appropriate question, it can be difficult to construct a focused and logical introduction and more importantly discussion. Similarly, without quality data, results and conclusions will not be meaningful.
TCR: What authors have to bear in mind during preparation of a paper?
Colton: I think it is helpful to acknowledge that no paper will ever be perfect, particularly the first draft. It is very helpful to get additional sets of eyes on the writing early on, as these additional perspectives can quickly improve the quality of a paper. For this reason, it is my preference to spend less time on initial drafts and more time on finalizing drafts after receiving comments from co-authors. In my opinion, this leads to a paper that is overall higher quality, produced in less time.
TCR: Data sharing is prevalent in scientific writing in recent years. Do you think it is crucial for authors to share their research data?
Colton: Data sharing is indeed critical. Although projects may yield interesting results, it is pivotal that those results are reproducible, as analytic method can significantly sway results in multiple directions. Confirming reproducibility and validity of analytic methods is not possible without data sharing. Additionally, there is the issue of generalizability. If data are limited to a single institution, there will be the question of whether other institutions would observe the same results. Data sharing allows for collaboration with multiple data sources, which has the potential to yield larger and more significant studies. This is of particular interest to me due to my focus on machine learning, as these projects are dependent on large quantities of high-quality data.
TCR: Academic writing takes a lot of time and effort. What motivates you to do so?
Colton: For me, academic writing is far less exciting than data analysis, to the point that I often have several projects that have completed analysis that are waiting to be written up. I tend to approach this by writing only when I have sufficient interest and motivation for the topic, and feeding off the satisfaction of completing prior projects. The satisfaction of a paper acceptance, knowing that your work will be distributed and influence your field, is certainly a great additional boost to continue writing, even if it is not the most glamorous part of a project.
(By Brad Li, Teresa Lin)