off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid



Manuscript Doctors and Manuscripts Clinics is a new concept which is becoming very popular in the medical institutions, universities all over the developed world. Academicians, Research scientists under pressure to publish for their academic advancements and particularly the young researchers are not well trained in the science and art of medical writing and they find it extremely difficult to prepare manuscripts which can be accepted for publication despite the fact that they have lot of useful data. Hence, in order to overcome this, many doctors have taken up the profession of full time manuscript writers in addition to professional medical writes and Manuscript Clinics are being established by the medical institutions to help the young researchers.

Some of the doctors who have taken up this profession call themselves Manuscript Doctors while professional medical writers are already playing an important role helping researchers, academicians as well as the pharmaceutical industry prepare their manuscripts in the developed world. American Medical Writers Associaton (AMWA), European Medical Writers Associaton (EMWA), European Council of Science Editors are some of the most important organizations active in this field. They hold their annual conferences; organize workshops and training courses for their members which attract many members of the medical profession as well.

According to Tom Lang an eminent medical journalist and President of American Medical Writers Association, a professional medical writer may require about seven to eight hours completing a manuscript. He himself, he said, charges US$ 100/- per hour ( one hundred US$ per hour) and to take out seven to eight working hours, it may need two to three days to complete the job.

Universities and medical institutions are establishing these “Manuscript Clinics” for the benefit of their faculty members, young researchers and postgraduates.  The importance of these Manuscript Clinics and the service which they provide to the healthcare professionals in preparing the manuscripts was also highlighted at the recently held Second International Medical Writing Conference held at Ajman, UAE from March 5-7, 2015. Services of Professional Medical Writers, Medical Journalists are acquired on full time or part time basis as per their requirements to man these clinics.  These professional medical writers then help guide the young researchers, academicians to write and improve their manuscripts to improve their chances of acceptance and publication by biomedical journals.

Various professional organizations like World Associaton of Medical Editors (WAME), Eastern Mediterranean Associaton of Medical Editors (EMAME), and Asia-Pacific Association of Medical Editors (APAME) are also providing help and assistance to the academicians and researchers. They not only organize their conferences regularly but also hold courses, hands on workshops for their members to improve their writing skills and Peer Review system. In Pakistan, Pakistan Associaton of Medical Editors (PAME) has been organizing seminars, Workshops, courses on medical writing, Peer Review, Publication Ethics, Basic Statistics for Editors for the last many years thereby promoting the art of scientific publishing.

A vast majority of the faculty members, postgraduates in Pakistan are also not well trained in the art of medical writing with the result that most often their manuscripts submitted to medical journals get rejected. It is up to the medical universities and other medical institutions to make arrangements to help their faculty members, young researchers and postgraduates working in close collaboration with experts in the field of medical writing and organizations working in this field. Manuscript Clinics is gaining popularity in the developed world and we in Pakistan can also benefit from this idea in an era of specialization.

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