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  Table of Contents 
LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 97-98
 

Strategies to deal with publication misconduct among medical students and teaching faculty: An Indian perspective


1 Department of Community Medicine, Vice Principal Curriculum, Member of the Medical Education Unit & Institute Research Council, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission18-Oct-2018
Date of Acceptance19-Mar-2019
Date of Web Publication25-Sep-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh R Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur-Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu - 603 108
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijoem.IJOEM_223_18

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Strategies to deal with publication misconduct among medical students and teaching faculty: An Indian perspective. Indian J Occup Environ Med 2019;23:97-8

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Strategies to deal with publication misconduct among medical students and teaching faculty: An Indian perspective. Indian J Occup Environ Med [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 Dec 7];23:97-8. Available from: http://www.ijoem.com/text.asp?2019/23/2/97/267759




Dear Sir,

In the past decade or so, the incidence of various types of publication misconduct has increased enormously.[1],[2] This misconduct not only suppresses the production of new knowledge but also accounts for the wastage of the available resources, reduces the trust of the general population, and acts as a demoralizing factor for budding researchers to participate in the same.[1],[2] Moreover, publication misconduct tarnishes the image of the author and the institutions to which they belong.[2] The publication misconduct includes presentation of false results, gift or ghost authorship, duplication, salami publication, and plagiarism.[1]

The question arises, why is the frequency of publication misconducts increased so much?[1],[2],[3],[4] This is because of the lack of sensitization about publication ethics during under- or postgraduation.[2] The findings of a study done in Iran indicated that only 29% of the participants believed that the knowledge of publication ethics was adequate.[2] As a matter of fact, in the current setup in India, the quality of a teacher/clinician and their promotion or perks are measured predominantly in terms of the number of research publications.[3] More often than not, people find it extremely difficult to manage their other works and publication-related work, and eventually they are compelled to do something, which turns out to be publication misconduct.[3]

At the same time, publishing paper has become a business, with most of the journals either not having a strict plagiarism check or ignore the plagiarized content, as most of them work with an aim to earn money and a rejection of the article on account of plagiarism will not serve their purpose.[2],[3] In addition, many institutions do not have genuine plagiarism detection software and there is not even a built-in system to monitor the overall process.[3] Moreover, there is a significant rise in the number of predatory journals and professional agencies, which publish the article in return of money.[3],[4] Finally, it is quite easy to copy and paste than to spend time to think and write or do an authentic study.[2],[3],[4]

The problem can be rectified and various solutions have been proposed, as follows:

  • Sensitizing about publication ethics during under- or postgraduation
  • Setting an example: A teacher can set an example for their students by following ethical practices in their day-to-day life
  • Professional bodies like the Indian Medical Association or even Medical Education Units of medical colleges can organize periodic sessions on publication ethics for different stakeholders
  • Stringent action against the offending researchers by blacklisting the author in the journal or cancelling their grants (if any), or promotions (if noticed later), and so on.
  • To introduce a mechanism wherein the professional growth of a doctor is not exclusively determined by research/publication. The best thing will be to give proportional weightage to Teaching, Patient care, and Research-related activities. A concept like Balanced Scorecard can be adopted by the institutions to grade the performance of the faculty members
  • The Medical Council of India should relook into the current criteria of publication alone as a means to grant promotion
  • Creating awareness among researchers about predatory journals
  • Institutions should buy a Plagiarism Check software and strictly use the same for all research papers
  • Researchers have to be more creative, hardworking, and patient (in terms of submitting the article to another journal, if rejected by an earlier journal)
  • Maintain a balance between research work and other works, and do prioritize the research activity, if the need be
  • Editorial Board of the journals has to be vigilant and discourage all such unethical practices.[1],[2],[3],[4]


However, it is important to realize that the problem of publication misconduct cannot be dealt with punishment alone.[4] If we want long-term solutions, we have to educate the doctors about the same and this has to start right from the time of their entry into medicine.[4] They should be sensitized about plagiarism, paraphrasing, and the need to acknowledge or obtain permission for the work done by someone else.[2],[4]

In conclusion, the field of research is seriously affected with publication misconduct, but it can be rectified, provided we start from ourselves first, instead of changing the system. In addition, the editors, institutions, and faculty members have a big role to play in the coming years.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Committee on Publication Ethics. Committee on Publication Ethics flow charts on suspected publication misconduct. Maturitas 2009;62:208-24.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Dhingra D, Mishra D. Publication misconduct among medical professionals in India. Indian J Med Ethics 2014;11:104-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Hadji M, Asghari F, Yunesian M, Kabiri P, Fotouhi A. Assessing the prevalence of publication misconduct among Iranian authors using a double list experiment. Iran J Public Health 2016;45:897-904.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Al-Lamki L. Plagiarism and other types of publication misconduct: A case for teaching publication ethics in medical schools. Sultan Qaboos Univ Med J 2009;9:1-4.  Back to cited text no. 4
    




 

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