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We spend quite a while thinking of the titles for papers. When I’m working on a commission I will generally not commit to commissioning the paper until the authors and I agree on what the title should be. It’s silly, of course, because you don’t judge a book by its cover—and so you shouldn’t judge a paper by its title. But, actually, you do. People read our papers from, broadly speaking, two sources. Some people read by flicking through the paper journal after it lands on their doormat—or the table of contents lands in their inbox. Other people read specific articles when they find them in a search engine, either a generic search engine, or a medically engineered one like PubMed. So, what we call papers does matter—because it might stop you flicking, and it might pop up in your search.
There were a couple of titles that really caught my eye this month. ‘Fifteen minute consultation: The Angry Child’ is a corker ( see page 11 ). I mean, who wouldn’t want to read that? It falls immediately into a really interesting category for me—a description which solidifies a bunch of rather more nebulous thoughts into something more manageable and definitely more definable. I rarely get referrals to ‘please see this angry child’, but I do, from time to time, meet children who are angry, and now that I think about them, as a category, they have a very rich pattern to them. Annie Swanepoel, the author, writes in such a way that everything seems obvious, and such common sense, but without making me feel excessively dim for being unable to see things this clearly before. Take an early concept in the paper: That there is a distinction between an angry feeling and an angry behaviour. Now that I’ve also written it down, it seems spectacularly obvious but it is a distinction that I fail to make on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. This paper is my Editor’s Choice for this month.
The second title that caught my eye was Damian Roland and Edward Snelson’s ‘So why didn’t you think this baby was ill?’ – Decision Making in Acute Paediatrics’ ( see page 43 ). This is a paper which will reward a careful read. I’m struck by something in the paper which I was taught by another author in this edition, Ilana Levene, when I was discussing with her how I was struggling having read Daniel Kahneman’s ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’. I explained that I am finding it really hard to avoid making all of the cognitive errors he describes; Ilana’s response is echoed by Damian and Edward here: ‘Don’t assume teaching about cognitive biases will enable learners to avoid making them’. To put this another way, knowing that you’re human and prone to make errors doesn’t stop you making them. This is a tough lesson.
Ilana Levene writes very well in two articles here, related to each other a little. One is with Francis O’Brien and is about breastfeeding ( see page 20 ). The other is with Dominic Wilkinson and is part of a selection of papers, or perspectives, on a hypoglycaemia guideline, curated by Philippa Prentice ( see pages 27, 29 and 33 ). Philippa’s excellent idea was to note that there were some strong feelings and angles taken in this guideline, and to try to draw them out with three articles examining the subject from different backgrounds. This was no mean feat on her part—and the coherence of the finished series is a real testament to her editorial skills.
So, do you have some good titles? Do you think we should shed different perspectives on an area you are interested in? I’d love to hear from you. But not before you’ve read this edition.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
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