off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid

Lack of original
research work 


Most of the presenters from Pakistan at medical conferences organized in the country present research carried out by overseas investigators and they take the information which his available on the internet. It is very rare that some original research work is presented which they have performed themselves. These speakers are so expert in “cut and paste” that many of them copy even the slides which are available on the net on various free access websites. Even for a fifteen minutes presentations they come with about hundred slides and would go on showing them despite the reminders from the chair or moderators that their time was up and they must conclude their presentation.

Actually it is the responsibility of the scientific committee of these conferences which most often “ exist on paper only” to communicate with the speakers that they should present original research work if any and try to make their presentation within the allotted time so that time management is not disturbed and the whole conference programme proceeds smoothly. By presenting the data available on the net and insisting to show it all, amounts to not only insulting the intelligence of the audience but also embarrassing the organizers.
The situation is changing and now some of the chairpersons have started pointing out such things to the displeasure of such speakers. One such recent example was of the golden jubilee celebrations of the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases. Prof. Kalimuddin Aziz who was chairing one of the sessions in his concluding remarks did not mince words when he reminded the speakers that the participants come from all over the country to such academic activities not to listen to the information which is freely available on the net. It will be better if the speakers could present as to what they have done.
Reasons for lack of original research work in Pakistan are many. Firstly in the past research was not given any credit for selection and promotion for academic and faculty positions. It is only recently that research work and publications have become mandatory. Secondly young researchers and faculty members are neither encouraged nor patronized and provided adequate facilities. Thirdly most of the senior faculty members in medical universities and medical institutions were never exposed to research work, they had neither any training nor they were interested. They are now occupying the coveted posts in these institutions. They may opt for some cosmetic changes to encourage and promote research culture but are not interested to formulate any policies which could adversely affect their own professional career. We wont see any worthwhile progress in the research field until proven academic and research accomplishments are given due weightage while selecting faculty members for these coveted posts in our institutions. Research is produced only in the universities and tertiary healthcare facilities affiliated with the medical and dental institutions and if the authorities and our health planners are really interested in promoting the research culture, they have to take some appropriate measures. Higher Education Commission has done a lot to promote research work and let it provide funding to the universities and institutions of higher learning based on their research output and publications. It could make a lot of difference in the days to come.{jcomments on}

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