Well done to James and Shivali on being runners-up in the ‘Zeshan Qureshi Award for Outstanding Achievement in Medical Education’.
James Kilgour and Shivali Fulchand are final year medical students at Cardiff University School of Medicine. However, they also have the very impressive titles of Co-Founder and Co-Editor-in-Chief of ‘The British Student Doctor’: a medical student-led journal they conceptualised, developed, and have successfully taken to an international level!
The British Student Doctor Journal: A journal for the social media generation
A journal run by medical students for medical students….
In 2016, we co-founded The British Student Doctor Journal (The BSDJ) (www.bsdj.org.uk).
The British Student Doctor is a novel, peer-reviewed, diamond open-access, bi-annual, medical student led journal.
“Evidence-based medicine is the responsibility of every doctor, therefore, we felt it was essential that medical students have more opportunity to engage with the publishing process. This was the basis of our inspiration to establish a journal run by medical students for medical students.”
From Concept to reality…
In March 2016, we drafted a business proposal for the journal and arranged a meeting with the Dean of our medical school. He was very supportive and encouraging of the idea, and provided initial funding for the initiative.
“Within a few months, we had drafted our policies, created a website, signed a publishing agreement with Cardiff University Press, established the online journal platform and recruited and appointed an Editorial and Management Board of 15 students”
“In the space of a year, we have taken The British Student Doctor from a student living room in Cardiff to over 20 UK medical schools, as well as internationally.”
We have also trained and recruited more than 200 peer reviewers from across 4 continents.
And what a positive response it received…
In December 2016, we were asked to provide teaching on The BSDJ and publishing to students on the Medical Education Intercalated BSc programme at Cardiff University.
We ended the year by presenting at the Academy of Medical Educator’s Conference in London. It was wonderful to receive such a positive response from medical educators from across the UK.
The journal’s presence has spread to YouTube…
We have created a YouTube channel, where we will be posting videos educating students on publishing and evidence-based medicine.
We have currently released two videos; the first introduces our editorial and peer-review team, and celebrates the benefits of diversity in creating a successful organisation
The second video interviews members of our team about their role and why they wanted to get involved with the journal
“Many members of our team highlighted that The British Student Doctor provides a new opportunity to develop skills in publishing, as well as to gain experience in an area where there is limited education at medical school.”
And the first issue was published in style…
Submissions to the first issue of The British Student Doctor were open from October to December, and on the 31st of January we published our first issue. The release of this issue was commemorated by a launch event and featured presentations from a number of speakers, including a keynote by Chancellor of Cardiff University and Nobel Prize Winner, Professor Sir Martin Evans.
The British Student Doctor Vision…
“Our vision for The British Student Doctor is to create a platform for the sharing the critical thought and creative flair of medical students packaged in a simple, modern and accessible way.”
The aim of the Journal is three-fold; firstly, we want to provide editorial board opportunities to medical students, secondly we want to engage students with the peer-review process; and finally give students the opportunity to publish their work into a journal that has a beautiful design, whilst maintaining its scientific rigour.
Often journals can appear outdated and we want to set the standard for journals moving into the future, which is evident through our marketing and social media presence. Our website has received almost 40 000 page views, we have 400 newsletter subscribers, and over 600 Facebook likes. Our Facebook posts have also reached more than 9000 users across the world.
Publishing a journal is no easy feat…
It’s enormously time-consuming… The journal has taken a significant amount of time and we have had to be very organised, whilst balancing our medical school work and other commitments.
It’s never a simple task… We had to be very thorough whilst drafting our policies and guidelines, therefore several revisions were required. We are very grateful to our Faculty Advisory Board for their continual support in helping to develop these key foundational aspects of The BSDJ.
How do you find medical student authors? Initially, our first challenge was spreading the word about journal to ensure that we had enough quality submissions. Our goal is to publish articles that meet our criteria to ensure a high standard, as we aim to obtain a PubMed Index in the next couple of years. We directly contacted faculty staff at every UK medical school, asking for an email to be circulated at their respective institutions. This approach was very successful, and thus, we have had submissions and peer reviewers from medical schools across the country.
And then how do you deal with issues that inevitably arise? Further challenges have also arisen in the editorial process ranging from authors not complying with publication ethics, such as submitting their work to multiple journals, to a lack of response from peer reviewers. Our editorial and management team is overseen by a Faculty Advisory Board, and this has proven to be an invaluable source of guidance and advice for difficult issues and decisions.
This is a huge achievement of which James and Shivali should be very proud
“We were warned that founding a journal would not be a light undertaking. However, we feel that we have faced every challenge with strong determination and enthusiasm. This is an innovative and unique idea to increase interest, and access into publishing, which has the potential to be of value to medical students across the world.”