|LETTER TO THE EDITOR
|Year : 2015 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 158-159
Race for publications: Isn't it killing the real purpose of research?
Senior Resident, Department of Community Medicine, Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India
|Date of Web Publication||25-May-2015|
Ashok Sadan, Near DAV School, New Shimla, Shimla - 171 009, Himachal Pradesh
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Chauhan R. Race for publications: Isn't it killing the real purpose of research?. Indian J Public Health 2015;59:158-9
In this day and age, if one wants to progress in one's career in the medical field or wants recognition, then one has to get publications. It is not your merit, or your passion to make a difference in the community, but publications that are used to assess your performance at various levels. The performances of students, selection in job interviews, promotions, etc., all have publications as an important determinant.
As a result, there is a mad race for publications going on in our field. The focus is not on genuineness of research or benefits achieved from research, but on the publications that a research project can generate. The major purpose of conducting a research project is publication. A research project that does not result in publication is considered a failure.
New journals are coming up very frequently, leading to an increase in the quantity of the research literature, but simultaneously leading to deterioration in its quality. The long-term impact of this phenomenon on Indian academics is going to be harmful. No longer is there a level playing field to judge academic excellence based on publications. The dice are loaded heavily in favor of unscrupulous researchers and predatory publishers.  Genuine researchers may toil hard on a paper, taking months and sometime years to develop an article, and get it published in a peer-reviewed journal. On the other hand, those who resort to these predatory journals may get a dozen papers published with the least effort in so called "peer-reviewed, indexed" journals and get recognition far sooner than their genuine colleagues.
During student life, preference is given to people who can publish papers, rather than to those who have a passion for true research with the purpose of making a difference in community health. This is resulting in a generation of medical researchers who are good at publishing papers, but have no interest in genuineness of research or the impact pure research might produce.
The true results are modified, beautified, and made statistically and medically significant so that they may get published. All this is baffling for a naive researcher, and is confusing in terms of the real purpose of research.
Research constitutes an important learning activity. With some effort, problems faced by teachers and students can be minimized and research output can be improved. To make research a useful and enjoyable exercise, there is a need to change the attitude of students as well as teachers. It is a waste of time to try to reinvent the wheel. Literature should be searched to gain an idea of what is already known and how the new research will add to current knowledge. 
Among academicians, the maxim "publish or perish" is a threatening reminder of the importance of publication. No doubt publishing is an important aspect of research, but it should not be the main aim of initiating a research project. That leads to results that pose a serious threat to both the internal and external validity of the research.
Coupled with the financial benefits from the funds generated for a research project, this publication race is killing the real purpose of research. This race for publication may become a public health concern soon if no measures are taken to encourage true research and less emphasis is not laid on publications. Research with the right intent that is useful for society is the need of the hour. If we really want to take our research quality to new heights, let us shun the "rat race" and take the "road less traveled" in the future.
| References|| |
Banerjee A. The publication rat race: Who will bell the cat? Med J DY Patil Univ 2013;6:219-20.
Sukhlecha A. Research publicatons: Should they be mandatory for promotion of medical teachers? J Pharmacol Pharmacother 2011;2:221-4.