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Promoting High-Quality Research

      Peer-reviewed journals serve an important role as both outlet and repository for scientific endeavor. The health of a journal is promoted by the timely presentation of well-developed, diverse, and informative content. Recent editorial notes in this space have considered peer review and reviewer training, publishing ethics, and the responsibility of researchers, journals, and readers in scientific communication. While critical, these are all late-stage elements. A fundamental need is to support the good science to get to the point of needing these services.
      Wilderness and environmental medicine constitutes a niche field, interesting and important to those involved, but most relevant to only a small portion of the population. Many clinicians and researchers have mainstream jobs that allow them the luxury of spending some time and effort to benefit this unconventional community. One of the most powerful ways to develop opportunities or initiatives is to identify relevance with other fields. An immediate example is the tactical combat casualty care (TCCC) that is extremely important to the military and to the realities of wilderness and/or austere environment medical care. It is the partnering of these interests that produced a preconference workshop on TCCC in 2016 and a special issue of this journal in June of this year.
      • Bennett B.L.
      • Butler Jr, F.K.
      • Wedmore guest eds, I.S.
      Tactical combat casualty care: transitioning battlefield lessons learned to other austere environments.
      The issue is full of content useful to both communities. Similarly, we recently put out a call for content relevant to another cross-discipline topic—climate change and human health. The material gathered will likely populate a special section in a regular journal issue in 2018.
      Special topic meetings and/or focus documents provide a strategy to increase communication between disciplines, and possibility to create new opportunities for research and collaboration. Ultimately, though, funding is necessary to support initiatives of significant magnitude. Collaborative efforts can bring in new sponsors and new participants to reduce the individual burden, but creativity and the energy of champions remain critical to bring such efforts to fruition.
      The Wilderness Medical Society offers a series of small grants, currently ranging up to $10,000 in value, to support relevant training, research, and travel (https://www.wms.org/research/grants). These can stimulate interest in the field and, when used effectively, can contribute to larger initiatives. Seed funds may be used to collect pilot data to show proof of concept important to secure larger grants. They may also qualify for matching funds or nonmonetary, in-kind support to increase the work that can be accomplished. Collaborative and cross-discipline research can be compelling for sponsors that increasingly recognize the merits of combining expertise. Nurturing the involvement of professionals in relevant research promotes the field and the broader awareness of it. This is good for the community and for journals, ensuring the pipeline of high-quality material that we all want to see published.
      Our current issue delivers 21 items covering a wide range of topics for the readership. Original research reports address techniques of cervical spine management in injured helmeted skiers and snowboarders, the impact of fins and rescue tubes on beach lifeguard performance, the epidemiology of rock climbing injuries, hemostatic changes associated with ultraendurance road cycling in hot environment, scorpion stings in Jordan, and similarities between large animal and vehicle crash injuries. Original brief research reports consider catfish envenomations, and health problems in the Himalayan gold rush. A concepts paper reviews issues of prescription-only medicines on overseas expeditions. Case reports review injuries experienced by climbers, miners, athletes with type 1 diabetes, and injuries caused by accidental ingestion of chemical hand warmer material, multiple wasp stings, and snakebite. Clinical images set the stage for discussion of blisters and unwelcome plant ingestion. A wilderness essay presents the experience of some high-altitude pilgrims. A letter to the editor describes a recent case report of a suicide attempt employing plant extracts. Finally, a book review covers a text on medical emergencies caused by aquatic animals. Diverse product for a diverse readership.

      Reference

        • Bennett B.L.
        • Butler Jr, F.K.
        • Wedmore guest eds, I.S.
        Tactical combat casualty care: transitioning battlefield lessons learned to other austere environments.
        Wild Environ Med. 2017; 28