The mandatory regulations from the Medical Council of India: Facts, opinions and prejudices

Bhaskar SB. The mandatory regulations from the Medical Council of India: Facts, opinions and prejudices. Indian J Anaesth. 2016 Nov;60(11):793-795. PubMed PMID: 27942050; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC 5125180.

In the Jan 2016 issue of QMedCONNECT we had mentioned about an article – “Revised Guidelines of the Medical Council of India for Academic Promotions: Need for a Rethink” – Aggarwal R et al. This article was published in practically all medical journals in India because it discussed the MCI’s guidelines on faculty publications, several of which were confusing, or difficult to implement. The authors, after a brainstorming session at the WAME conference held in Oct 2015, put down a set of recommendations for amendment

In this article by Dr Bhaskar, he comments on the previous article and provides additional inputs. While agreeing with several points in the article by Aggarwal et al, he adds that when a faculty member needs to have four publications for two levels of promotions, the MCI could permit at least one of the four to be either a Brief Communication or a Case Report, because these kinds of publications also are contributory to scientific writing and the literature overall. 

He also suggests that faculty members should introspect and see how best they can accept about learning to do research and publish and how together everyone has to ensure that better training is available and a good research environment is created. Till then, he also suggests other methods that the MCI could include, for faculty assessments for promotion. 

 

Another interesting publication on the same subject is a letter to the editor:
Juyal D, Thawani V, Thaledi S, Dhawan B. Medical Council of India circular on research publications: Flaring up the fire. Indian J Med Microbiol 2016;34:563-4

In this, the authors express concern that if faculty have such a large pressure to publish (after all it is finally a bread-and-butter issue as well) – there are great chances of fudging data, publishing in predatory journals and more. And since there is the lack of training and the right atmosphere for research, the time invested is so high, that that it definitely does take some significant time away from students. The authors suggest that secondary research like systematic reviews and meta-analyses should counted, not primary research alone. Authorship issues are also discussed. 

Overall – from both these articles, it emerges that 

  • There is a need for lots more training in publication & ethics
  • Encouragement for faculty research needs to be just that – encouragement and not a stress factor
  • The time spent on research has to be fruitful, and not time wasted in wrong methods

We at QMed can add that we observe huge wastage of time in literature searching and reference management. When this is true even for regular research, it is even more true for systematic reviews and meta-analyses, where the methodology for searching is much more detailed. And there is practically no training available in these areas. And that is why QMed is focused on teaching these skills and mentoring authors on these

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