Peizeng Yang, MD, PhD, has been the corresponding author of 20 articles published in IOVS from 2012 — 2016 and he has a four-year impact factor of 4.05. Yang is a professor at the First Affiliates Hospital of Chongqing Medical University in Chongqing, People's Republic of China and chairman of Chongqing Key Laboratory of Ophthalmology.
His latest article, Association of a PDCD1 Polymorphism With Sympathetic Ophthalmia in Han Chinese, was published in the August 2017 issue of IOVS.
Yang recently talked with ARVO about his work and what scholarly publishing means to him and the field.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently focusing on uveitis. My lab is carrying out a series of clinical and basic investigations to study the immunologic pathogenesis. We are also exploring the genetic background to look for potent pathogenic or predisposing genes.
How has publishing in IOVS made a difference in your career?
It is a great pleasure for me to have published 31 papers in IOVS, which is recognized as one of the highest quality journals on ophthalmology and visual science. These publications strengthened our communications and co-operations with scientists from western countries and helped us earn a positive international reputation in the field of uveitis. Domestically, with these publications, we gained more national and local support — financially and technically.
What advice can you give researchers about writing a successful scholarly article?
To write a successful scholarly article, we need to start by proposing a good scientific question that is based on massive reading of literature and deep thinking. Ideally, the question will combine our interests and the frontiers of the field. I always remind my students to have their own features and avoid simple repetition of others’ ideas. This is the reason my students usually spend long but valuable time trying to set up a topic for their thesis.
Next is the high-demanding benchwork stage. I cannot stress enough the importance of the authenticity and robustness of data. We have to respect whatever the data are and do our best to find a proper way to decipher the data.
Good writing skills are also gradually accumulated during the process of literature reading. Researchers need to learn the logic, the presentation of data and the language — especially non-English speakers.
How do you keep up with the literature being published in your field?
Equally important to being a scientist, I am an ophthalmologist. I love my job and I sincerely care about my patients. I wish someday scientific research progress will guide the diagnosis and treatment of disease to relieve the pain of patients. Therefore, research is where my passion lies. I always stay curious about what’s happening in our field. I regularly search publications from databases using relevant keywords. For highly relevant journals, I go through every issue and take notes. My students are required to share high-quality papers during lab meetings, summarize what’s happening in the field and introduce cutting-edge ideas and techniques. Although my schedule is usually quite busy, I make the time to attend important academic conferences, domestic and international, to keep myself updated with the latest progress. Keeping up with the literature feels more like a pleasure and habit for me than a job.