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HomeFeb 15-29, 2024Large number of faculty members gotpromoted by publishing papers in sub-standardmedical journals...

Large number of faculty members gotpromoted by publishing papers in sub-standardmedical journals during the last five years

Junior faculty members, postgraduates are faced with the dilemma
as they cannot get any guidance from these seniors

ISLAMABAD: Hundreds of faculty members from all over the country serving in various medical universities, medical and dental colleges both in public and private sector have got promoted by publishing their papers in substandard medical journals during the last four years. As a result the junior faculty members working with them and the postgraduates are faced with a dilemma as they are neither getting any guidance nor assistance from their seniors with the result that they have either to look for gift authorship or find ghost authors if they wish to fulfill their requirements of publications. This has led to lot of unethical publication practices and gift authorship which is highly prevalent in Pakistan.

Some of these journals were not approved by the Paksitan Medical & Dental Council in 2018 and they were conveyed observations asking them to make up the deficiencies before they are evaluated again but then the PM&DC was dissolved and replaced with Pakistan Medical Commission which was also entrusted to look after the evaluation of journals. Once the PMC was disbanded and PM&DC was revived, it again started discharging its responsibilities of evaluation of biomedical journals. It was then when some of these journals were asked to provide peer review reports of the articles they had published, that it became known that they were not practicing any peer review system.

Some of these journals were just publishing papers as received. Since the faculty members were also keen to get their papers published immediately, they paid handsome publication charges which according to reports were starting from fifty thousand to over one lac rupees and most of these papers were published within few weeks to a month or two after submission. A critical review of these journals by the PM&DC Journals Committee revealed that they were neither following ICMJE Guidelines on authorship, nor they had any peer review system with the result that even very low quality research got published.

What is going to happen as regards credits for the papers published in these journals from 2018 to 2022 is not known. This has serious implications not only for these faculty members but the journals may also find it extremely difficult to convince the regulatory authorities which are determined to ensure that standard of the medical journals is maintained and in fact improved further. In order to help the journals PM&DC has now decided to organize training courses for the editors and other editorial staff members of medical journals all over the country for which necessary arrangements are being made. PM&DC is keen to help and facilitate the journals to improve their standard offering all sort of help and assistance but is not prepared to compromise on peer review, publication ethics and authorship criteria by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors which is available on the net as well. Those interested can contact the PM&DC Journals Evaluation Committee for further guidance.

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