The case for better case reports….
Journal of Hand Therapy
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Case reports have long been a dilemma for The Journal of Hand Therapy (JHT). Many authors seem to think they are an “easy” start into the world of scientific publication. They may tackle a case report idea with enthusiasm as writing about the case often stimulates an interest in research, and a sense that writing for publication is achievable. In reality the rejection rate of case reports is higher than other types of submissions at JHT, and it is the same at many journals. This is unfortunate as it may discourage emerging new clinical researchers from pursuing publication again. From my position as editor, I see reoccurring misconceptions about why and when case studies have value; and a lack of preplanning about collecting comprehensive clinical data as potential reasons for the ultimate rejection of case studies. Without considering the unique contribution of the case, or collecting data to fully describe the case; they may fail to reach the level of impact needed for publication. Authors who experience this first rejection, may not realize that with a little focus, writing support and practice that success is within their reach.