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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 67-68  

Quality medical research and publications in India: Time to introspect

People's College of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication15-Apr-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Anil Kapoor
Department of Medicine, People's College of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijabmr.IJABMR_28_19

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How to cite this article:
Kapoor A. Quality medical research and publications in India: Time to introspect. Int J App Basic Med Res 2019;9:67-8

How to cite this URL:
Kapoor A. Quality medical research and publications in India: Time to introspect. Int J App Basic Med Res [serial online] 2019 [cited 2021 Sep 24];9:67-8. Available from: https://www.ijabmr.org/text.asp?2019/9/2/67/256197

The increase in longevity across the world is the result of improvements over the years in diagnosis and treatment options of various diseases. This has been possible only due to continuous progress and innovations in medical research globally. Thus, the primary focus of conducting medical research should ideally be to improve the quality of health care.

However, India has been lagging behind in terms of medical research and publications. Lack of interest, commitment, infrastructure, resources, funds, incentive, and time constraints besides lack of trained faculty in research to guide students are well-known reasons for the same.[1] There is no advantage or compulsion of doing “Doctor of Philosophy” (PhD) for medical faculty.

The objectives of postgraduate (PG) training and residency programs are not only to develop competent specialists, but also competent teachers and competent researchers. Thesis is an important component of PG (MD/MS) and doctorate (DM/MCh) courses to provide experiential learning for research. However, it had been considered more of a “formality” to be completed for appearing in examinations at many colleges.[1] Some of us might have even heard “thesis is impacted feces!” or “thesis is waste of time!”[2] In the 1970s–1980s, there were hardly any formal training for conducting research, most of the time either the topic was given by the guides or efforts were put to identify what topics have been done earlier at other colleges. This used to be followed by a literature search at the National Medical Library, New Delhi, to collect resource articles for references. Internet and plagiarism were unheard of; many residents would have done copypaste without realizing that it was unethical. Although the doctors produced were competent, there were very few publications of original work in international journals from India. A review of research publications from 579 Indian medical colleges and hospitals reported that 57.3% of the medical colleges did not have a single publication over 10 years (2005–2014) and only 25 (4.3%) institutions produced more than 100 papers a year.[3]

To address this issue, the Medical Council of India (MCI) has introduced the need to present and publish (or accepted or sent for publication) one research paper during PG training courses as one of the eligibility criteria for appearing in degree examinations.[4] MCI has also taken an initiative by making it mandatory to have a minimum of two research publications in indexed journals for faculty promotions.[5] Unfortunately, following this, there has been mushrooming of predatory journals publishing a large number of poor quality papers without peer review, thus defeating the whole purpose.[6] However, recently, faculty have started undergoing training in research methodology by choice. Many colleges have introduced formal training programs for research methodology to write synopsis and conduct thesis work. To promote quality research among medical/dental students, the Indian Council of Medical Research is providing grants to selected 100 PGs (Rs. 50,000/-) and 1500 undergraduates (Rs. 20,000/-) annually.[7],[8]

The article “Implementing resident research program to enhance physicians research in the UAE” in the present issue of International Journal of Applied and Basic Medical Research has brought out an innovative program to address the challenges of conducting medical research during residency programs.[9] This review and analysis of “Residency Training program” from 2011 to 2017 at UAE gives a broad picture of how integrating research in residency programs promoted research-culture, progressive improvement in research skills of residents, and increase in research publications successfully at Dubai health services. Introducing research activities as a 2–4 weeks study block in the second and third years of residency or assigning two academic days per month as “Research day” along with sponsoring residents for scholarships is an innovative approach to sensitize importance of research which contributed to the success of this program. There is a need to adopt similar models of research training programs at every medical college in India.

It is important to change the attitude of not only students but also faculty toward conducting research. Identifying and framing a good research question before starting any research work to address dilemmas in day-to-day patients' care as per local needs and/or adding a new angle to previous research outcomes can be a useful approach. Providing incentives to faculty for guiding and conducting quality research work and pursuing PhD course can be a game changer. There is also a need to promote interdepartmental, interinstitutional, and international collaboration in research.

To conclude, we need to promote and improve the quality of medical research and publications. Introduction of research cell/institutional research committee, regular conduction of workshops on research methodology and writing research proposal for grant, making it mandatory for all faculty and residents to undergo such trainings, provision of funds and resources, provision of protected time, and a conducive environment are some of the important measures that need to be taken by all institutions.

Let us all introspect how each one of us can contribute to the cause and increase the visibility of quality original research work from India.

   References Top

Kabra SK, Verma IC. Thesis during MD: Must or bust? Indian J Pediatr 2007;74:868-9.  Back to cited text no. 1
Hyderi A, Ravikiran. PG thesis: Idealistic vs. realistic. Indian J Pediatr 2006;73:373-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
Ray S, Shah I, Nundy S. The research output from Indian medical institutions between 2005 and 2014. Curr Med Res Pract 2016;6:49-58.  Back to cited text no. 3
Medical Council of India. Postgraduate Medical Education Regulations, 2000; May, 2018. Available from: https://old.mciindia.org/Rules-and-Regulation/Postgraduate-Medical-Education-Regulations-2000.pdf. [Last accessed on 2019 Mar 21].  Back to cited text no. 4
Medical Council of India. Minimum Qualifications for Teachers in Medical Institutions Regulations, 1998; 8 June, 2017. Available from: https://old.mciindia.org/Rules-and-Regulation/Teachers-Eligibility-Qualifications-Rgulations-1998.pdf. [Last accessed on 2019 Mar 21].  Back to cited text no. 5
Kumar P, Saxena D. Pandemic of publications and predatory journals: Another nail in the coffin of academics. Indian J Community Med 2016;41:169-71.  Back to cited text no. 6
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Indian Council of Medical Research. Division of Human Resource Planning and Development (HRD) Guidelines and Rules MD/MS/DM/MCh/MDS THESIS- Financial Support. Available from: https://www.icmr.nic.in/content/mdmsdmmchmds-support. [Last accessed on 2019 Mar 21].  Back to cited text no. 7
Indian Council of Medical Research. Short Term Studentship Program. Available from: [Last accessed on 2019 Mar 21].  Back to cited text no. 8
Abdulrahman M, Ahmed A, Carrick FR. Implementing resident research program to enhance physicians research in the UAE. Int J Appl Basic Med Res 2019;9:75-9.  Back to cited text no. 9


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