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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 4-5

The need to publish

Editor in Chief, Journal of Laryngology and Voice, Department of ENT - Head Neck Surgery, Base Hospital Delhi Cantt, New Delhi, India

Date of Web Publication7-Feb-2011

Correspondence Address:
Rakesh Datta
Assoc Professor, Department of ENT - Head Neck Surgery, Army College of Medical Sciences, Base Hospital Delhi Cantt, New Delhi - 110 010
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2230-9748.76129

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How to cite this article:
Datta R. The need to publish. J Laryngol Voice 2011;1:4-5

How to cite this URL:
Datta R. The need to publish. J Laryngol Voice [serial online] 2011 [cited 2022 Jan 21];1:4-5. Available from: https://www.laryngologyandvoice.org/text.asp?2011/1/1/4/76129

With a rough estimate of prevalence of 2-4%, a populous country such as India should have approximately 26-50 million cases of obstructive sleep apnea. Even if only 10% of these seek medical management, there should be a case load of at least a million. The clinical data so generated would be enormous even if a further 10% of them are documented, giving a grand figure of 100,000 cases. In contrast, if we search published medical literature, of all the original articles published on obstructive sleep apnea in 2010, barely a handful arises from data generated from this clinical data bank. It is also obvious that the vast volume of clinical exposure by our colleagues is largely unreported. While in itself this mismatch is striking, it also carries an important message, that is, a majority of "evidence based" reports are based on "evidence" gathered from a population which is different from our own population in many respects. These vast demographic and clinical data that go waste without even the basic analysis is unfortunate. So, why is it that the number of publications in the literature is not commensurate with the clinical exposure of an individual?

Let us look at a scenario. A young medical student striving to be a doctor expects to be not only a clinician, but also additionally, a good scientist and a researcher. His high school exposure initiates in him a dream of discoveries and innovations in the scientific field. However, during the educational process, by the time he finishes his basic medical qualification, the young budding doctor is already deprived and disillusioned by lack of research. Whatever drive he may still have is further hammered down during residency days when dissertations and other research activities are invariably on a lowest priority. Baring a few institutions, topics for thesis are handed down from generation-old archives. The resident soon discovers that collecting data and maintaining follow-up is a "headache" he has to undertake against all odds. He finally produces a text that is scrutinized intensely for grammatical errors, correct bibliographical methods and appropriate illustrations. Scientific content, methodology and results take a back seat and are hardly ever the prime reason for rejection of a thesis. The acceptance is soon followed by a pressure to publish and the teacher and resident now try to extract some research paper out of the text so produced, invariably finding fundamental flaws in the design of the study itself! After modifications, some journal finally accepts it for the publication!! As time passes on, now, the "not-so-young" specialist is expected to guide a new generation of "researchers" and so on…

If the above scenario strikes a chord, at least in some aspects, it would have served its purpose. And the purpose is basically to make us introspect. I suppose it is here that the roots of this mismatch between clinical exposure and original research publications lies. Acceptance of a problem is the first step toward its solution. The need is to inculcate correct research habits in the formative years of the professional. And the best place to nurture this temper is right from medical school. Medical educators and policy makers need to seriously look at developing curriculum which capitalizes on the research drive of an individual. Research driven activities need to be meaningful and taken seriously. Post-graduation is a great opportunity not only to acquire new specialty specific skills, but also to pursue systematic organized research activity under supervision. A well-guided resident would always believe in conducting more research activities and understand the importance of maintaining raw data.

Clinical practice too needs to be integrated with research. Only then can the immense bank of clinical knowledge be tapped for larger benefit of humanity. Regulatory bodies need to provide more incentives to research and publications. Objective health outcome parameters need to be well defined in day-to-day clinical practice. Using standardized outcome measures will help a meaningful analysis and comparison of data. Journals, on their part, need to play a constructive role in improving the quality of publications through methodical and disciplined peer review. This would not only enable improved quality of publications but also provide guidance on correct research methodology to the authors.

As we bring out the first issue of Journal of Laryngology and Voice, we need to reiterate our commitment to provide to our authors and readers a world class platform to interact professionally. The journal will strive to deliver quality at all costs. Globalization has made us all stand on a stage as equals and we must stand tall to the occasion. Toward this philosophy, an opportunity to showcase basic and clinical research would be available worldwide without bias to any region. The aim and scope of this journal has been amply elucidated by the Chairman of the editorial board. Likewise, the guest editorial on voice disorders by one of the leading professionals in the world encourages us to strive to higher standards. So, we bring to you the Journal of Laryngology and Voice and hope for a long and fruitful association with you, our authors and our readers.


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