Journal Notes: JGME’s #ACGME2024 Recap!

March 21, 2024

The Journal of Graduate Medical Education (JGME) returned to the ACGME Annual Educational Conference this year with two interactive workshops designed to help attendees navigate the challenges of getting their research noticed and disseminated, as well as to address some of the ethical challenges in publishing and authorship. JGME editors and staff members were also available at the ACGME Hub in the Exhibit Hall to meet members of the graduate medical education community and answer questions.

Getting Started in Visual Media for Medical Education: Visual Abstracts and More
While visual abstracts are a relatively new phenomenon, they have quickly become one of the best ways to disseminate research articles and get work noticed. Visual abstracts are brief summaries of the key findings of an article, presented in a graphic format. Recent analysis has shown that articles with visual abstracts have had an eightfold increase in reshares on social media, as well as an almost threefold increase in online views. Few physicians and researchers, however, have backgrounds in design or any practice with the principles and skills involved in making visual media both eye-catching and effective. Many find the prospect of creating visual media downright daunting. In response, JGME editors brought back one of their most popular workshops, with a special focus on making it easier for those new to the process to simply get started.

The session began with an introduction to visual media by Editor-in-Chief Gail Sullivan, MD, MPH and Associate Editor Caroline Coleman, MD, including some multimedia design principles, such as “eliminating the extra” and “highlighting the essential.” Editors also presented tips for easy-to-use software and free or inexpensive sources for icons and graphics, ending with a discussion of how best to use color palettes and fonts to emphasize key content. After the presentation, it was time for participants to get to work. Session attendees collaborated in groups to create their own visual abstracts, either from sample JGME articles or from their own work, using downloadable templates or paper and markers. While no one expected a finished product in the time allotted, participants were still able to share what they created and discuss any challenges they encountered.

The session concluded with Deputy Editor Deb Simpson, PhD presenting ways to enhance one’s digital portfolio by collecting metrics to track visual media impact, using infographics, and engaging with virtual communicates of practice. By the end, participants could see that it wasn’t hard to get started creating visual media for their work.

Did I Do the Right Thing? Navigating Ethical Dilemmas in Scholarship and Authorship
Cases of outright research fraud or serious misconduct are clearly damaging and tend to grab headlines. But what about the ethical gray areas in medical education scholarship that may even sometimes be considered standard practice? Should you accept, for example, an “honorary” or “gift” authorship on an article for which you did little more than edit or proofread? How many research papers should you be able to write from one dataset? These situations fall under what are called QRPs, or questionable research practices, and they are often more difficult to navigate, especially for early-career scholars. JGME focused its second interactive workshop on these issues.

Deputy Editor Tony Artino, PhD led the group in a discussion of the research he conducted around QRPs in medical education, showing a surprising percentage of subjects admitting to serious misbehaviors, such as plagiarism (6%), modifying results due to pressure (5%), and fabrication of data (2%). He then showed that a much larger number of subjects admitted to QRPs. For example, 61% added one or more gift authorships to individuals who did not qualify as authors, 49% selectively cited papers just to please editors or reviewers, and 39% inappropriately stored sensitive research data.

After the presentation, workshop attendees got into small groups to discuss hypothetical scenarios. These included finding out that a colleague published 10 empirical papers out of one small survey dataset, mentors adding their name to a paper after reviewing it, and a co-author becoming unreachable mid-project. Group participants were asked to discuss not only whether these situations posed ethical problems, but also how they would handle them. The discussion was lively and engaging, with many participants sharing experiences of their own.

JGME in the ACGME Hub
Once again, JGME staff members and editors were available throughout the conference at the Exhibit Hall's ACGME Hub to answer questions and to connect with attendees, many of whom were new to their roles and actively seeking resources. QR codes at the booth linked to the JGME podcast, Hot Topics in MedEd, and to the subscription form to receive the journal's e-Table of Contents. Print copies of the journal were also available (and candy!) for the taking.

If you were unable to stop by, please email any questions to Your questions and input are always welcome.

Journal Notes blogger Kevin Gladish is a staff editor for the Journal of Graduate Medical Education. He’s been at the ACGME since 2016, and is also a performer, writer, and storyteller.