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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 234-235

The pressure to publish for a post

Consultant Oral Physician and Maxillofacial Radiologist, Karjodkar and Ansh Dental Clinic, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission06-Sep-2021
Date of Acceptance06-Sep-2021
Date of Web Publication28-Sep-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Freny Rashmiraj Karjodkar
Consultant Oral Physician and Maxillofacial Radiologist, Karjodkar and Ansh Dental Clinic, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jiaomr.jiaomr_258_21

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How to cite this article:
Karjodkar FR. The pressure to publish for a post. J Indian Acad Oral Med Radiol 2021;33:234-5

How to cite this URL:
Karjodkar FR. The pressure to publish for a post. J Indian Acad Oral Med Radiol [serial online] 2021 [cited 2023 Feb 5];33:234-5. Available from: http://www.jiaomr.in/text.asp?2021/33/3/234/326899

The evolution and development of dentistry can be measured in direct proportion to the advancements made through research, and this connection has always been relevant. However, the dedication to research in today's current education model does not seem to be as strong. When questioned about what is absent from the dental curriculum when it comes to the world of research, it is hypothesized that the faculty who are the archetypal of behaviors of curiosity and critical thinking are often in short supply.

Academic institutions and universities regularly use the number of publications to an individual's credit as the measure of competency. Administrators are using this as an important criterion during recruitments. Academicians, who publish infrequently or who focus on activities that do not result in publications like instructing undergraduates, may find themselves out of contentions for many teaching positions. The phrase “Publish or Perish” is now becoming a harsh reality. It reflects the fact that the faculty are under immense pressure to continuously produce outputs, with career advancement dependent upon them.

The emphasis on publishing has decreased the value of the resulting research outcome as scholars must spend time scurrying to publish whatever they can manage, rather than spend time developing significant research plans. The pressure to publish or perish also detracts from the time and effort professors may devote to teaching undergraduate and post-graduates. The rewards for exceptional teaching are seldom equitable to the rewards for exceptional research, which encourages the faculty to favor the latter whenever they conflict. Most universities do not focus on the teaching ability when they hire new faculty and simply look at the publications list.

This pressure to increase the number of publications has led to unethical practices. The increase in the number of publications has led to the growth of many new journals. Every other day, we see a new journal cropping up; every university, college, academy, the association at state and local levels has a journal to their name. So, the question arises, are we heading in the right direction? The acceptance and appreciation of a publication are frequently gauged by the citation index. A majority of the publications still go uncited. This means that neither they are appreciated by their peers nor they are of any importance to the dental industry or patients. Most of the published research works are done just to improve the curriculum vitae (CV) of the researcher and they do not find any merit in practical terms.

Scientific publication is immensely important to the dental endeavor. There is, however, concern that rewarding the academic researcher primarily on the basis of publication creates a perverse incentive, permitting careless and fraudulent conduct to thrive, which is compounded by the fact that research facilities in our universities and colleges are fraught with bureaucracy and administrative overburden, lack of adequate research facility in terms of infrastructure, technical assistance, funds, etc., and the penchant of top-tier journals toward novel, positive findings rather than investigations confirming the null hypothesis.

In the currently trending race to get more and more publications to one's credit, the persons are forced to create publishable research which has led to a rise in unethical practices and dubious research practices such as salami slicing (same research is split into many fragments and published), plagiarism, duplicate publication (researchers publish the same material in different journals with different keywords, captions, and co-author variation), fraud (fabrication or falsification in reporting research results), ghost authors, etc.

There should be a more dominant attitude toward medical education rather than research and publication thirst. The universities may state that teaching is the most important category on which tenure and recruitment are based, but the truth is that we cannot measure it. We are very proficient, however, at measuring publications, so insufficient publications are almost always the reason that someone is denied tenure.

Publishing has now become not just optional but obligatory. It is frequent to find that the head of departments and senior professors are producing a dozen publications in a year. This means that the persons have conceived the idea, submitted the protocol, got Institutional Review Board clearance, done the research, wrote the paper, and published it every month. Is this practically and honestly possible?

In the faculty selection process, the criteria for giving points should not only be based on the position of authorship and journal but on the content of the published paper. Time and energy should be expended on determining the continuity and subject of publications. The time duration of the author's first publication and current publication and the subject matter of the publications should be an evaluation criterion. Some persons suddenly become authors of some random publications on varied subjects, just before a job interview, clearly signaling the intent and reason of the sudden spurt in the research activity.

Scientific publishing is not fundamentally flawed, and complete, unbiased publication is crucial for scientific progress. But the potential consequences of a system where publication is the dominating measure of academic success strongly suggests that we should reconsider the consequences of our incentives, and look at changing how academics are evaluated. This key is not only to recognize the exceptional pressures wrought upon researchers by a strict publish or perish imposition but to improve science itself. This would not only benefit those working in the field but is crucial if public trust in science is to be maintained.

Understanding the role and importance of research in dental education and practice requires an appreciation of dentistry as a learned profession. That improved patient care results from technical advances made possible through research are undisputed. This single-minded focus on the professor- as-researcher may cause the faculty to detract from the time and effort they can devote to teaching undergraduate and post-graduates and to perform other responsibilities. What is less apparent, however, is the role of research in the education of dentists and in the broader life of dental schools, where, the exact role of research in the educational process is still open to debate.


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