Letters to the editor
Medwave Jul 2016;16(6):e6502 doi: 10.5867/medwave.2016.06.6502

Are letters to the editor really useful?

Sergio Alexis Dominguez-Lara

Dear editor:
Reporting scientific research results is a complex process, because the author(s) takes a hard challenge: must compress in little space the work of months, even years, and to submit this paper to scientific comunity before and after publish. In this continuum, the peer-review process and letter to editor (LtE) are very important for the growth of science, in all areas, without exception.

In many journals, the letter-to-editor section is attractive to the lector, but his diversity discourages visitor, and probably shifts the search route. All of this without conscience of relevant information, or at least useful for his aims, who can be omited.

Starting of a simple premise, don't exists perfect research, the section LtE of a most part of journals is a space for the lector can make a brief, constructive and founded critique of a published paper. This way, the lector can offer some solutions for the found mistakes, and appropiate metodologies that make possible to author complement his findings and implement this recomendation for future publications.

Despite simplicity of the premise, is a section very useful because allows to complement the author´s findings. Many times some publication can omit a relevant process, and a more clear scene can be achieved through of re-analysis; also can make supplementary analysis for exposing some methodological improvements [1],[2]. On the other hand, some analytical process can have serious methodological issues (many times, lack of accomplishment of basic supposed), and this way invalidate totally or partially the research [3],[4],[5].

Likewise, the LtE are an effective way for show preliminary results. Many times, the researchers develops long-time projects, and the results are published at the end of work. However, through a variant of LtE, Scientific Letter, the author can communicate some preliminary results because his extention, and not in a complete paper [6], because is necessary publish quickly and efficiently by his brevity and relevance. Finally, can address an issue of public interest [7],[8] or academic relevance [9], or suggest some editorial policies to the target journal [10].

In this scenario, should be encouraged the writing of LtE into the different levels of higher education, undergraduate and graduate, to thereby encourage the critical and collaborative spirit that scientific research needs to.

  1. Dominguez-Lara S, Merino-Soto C, Navarro-Loli J. Re-análisis de la validez de constructo de la Escala Breve para la Evaluación de la Capacidad Funcional (Sp-UPSA-Brief) de García-Portilla y colaboradores. Rev Psiquiatr Salud Ment (Barc). 2016;9:127-128. | CrossRef |
  2. Dominguez-Lara S. Errores correlacionados y estimación de la fiabilidad en estudios de validación: comentarios al trabajo validación de la escala ehealth literacy (eheals) en población universitaria española. Rev Esp Salud Pública. 2016;90(9):e1-e2. | Link |
  3. Dominguez-Lara S. Evaluación de modelos estructurales, más allá de los índices de ajuste. Enf Intensiva. 2016;27: 84-5. | CrossRef |
  4. Dominguez-Lara S, Merino-Soto C, Navarro-Loli J. Estimación paramétrica de la confiabilidad y diferencias confiables. Rev Méd Chile. 2016;144(2):305-6. | CrossRef |
  5. Silva LC. Confidence intervals and p values. Medwave 2014;14(1):e5894. | CrossRef | PubMed |
  6. Dominguez-Lara S. Síntomas depresivos en una muestra de adolescentes escolarizados de Lima y diferencias según género. Rev Chil Pediatr. Manuscrito en prensa. | CrossRef |
  7. Iribarne G. Caesarean section on demand?. Medwave 2012 Mar/Abr;12(3):e5328. | CrossRef |
  8. Ávila M. Bullying in authorship: abusive mentorship and undeserved credit. Medwave 2014;14(4):e5950. | CrossRef | PubMed |
  9. Garcia-Gomez I, Lizarzaburu-Abanto Y, Galvez-Olortegui J, Camacho-Saavedra L. Latent autoimmune diabetes of the adult: A new kind of diabetes?. Medwave 2016 Ene;16(1):e6370. | CrossRef | PubMed |
  10. Dominguez-Lara S. Intervalos de confianza en el reporte de la fiabilidad: un análisis necesario. An Sist Sanit Navar. 2016;39(1):169-70. | CrossRef |


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