|FROM EDITOR'S DESK
|Year : 2011 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 159-160
Can his research become my publication?
Division of Allergy and Pulmonary Medicine, SMS Medical College, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
|Date of Web Publication||19-Aug-2011|
Division of Allergy and Pulmonary Medicine, SMS Medical College, Jaipur, Rajasthan
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Singh V. Can his research become my publication?. Lung India 2011;28:159-60
With changing norms of University Grant Commission (UGC) and Medical Council of India (MCI), now regular publications are required for promotion of medical teachers in most of the medical institutions. Pressure of publication sometimes leads to adoption of unfair means.  Thesis of postgraduate students is proving a tempting material for publication. Most of the time, students do not care for publication and move out after completion of their post-graduation studies. An alert and attentive guide sometimes enables publication in such a situation.
When both student and guide do not prepare paper from a thesis, it lies neglected as an unpublished work. Sometimes, people from ancillary departments try to publish such work, mostly with the consent of the student and guide of the thesis. Ideally, it is not permissible and many journals have started asking exact contribution of every author and co-authors at the time of submission. There is now a clear authorship policy adopted by most of the journals. 
However, we recently encountered a little bit different scenario regarding authorship. A thesis was done almost a decade back under the guidance of persons from two departments. It remained idle without publication till recently. People from the second department used this thesis work to publish a paper in Lung India, including the name of student in the last. They also did not include names of thesis guides even when one of them was from the same department. Since other authors have withdrawn their names from the article and the article in present shape does not represent views of the complaining author, we had to take a painful decision of withdrawing the article. The most significant fault of authors was that they did not involve thesis guides in the publication.
This issue can be a lesson to all potential authors and highlights the fact that many authorship disputes are avoidable by giving a due credit to the persons who have done work. Lung India authorship policy, as written in the instruction to authors, states that authorship credit should be based only on: 1) substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; 2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and 3) final approval of the version to be published. All conditions must be met.
| What Should be Done to Prevent such a Situation?|| |
Though editorial responsibility is important, an editor cannot be a policeman. Journals should give the authors clear instructions regarding authorship and should not accept articles till all major issues are clarified. Similarly, the authors may be asked to declare the source of data. If a thesis work is submitted, the student should be asked to send a certificate from the head of department.
| Additional Means to Prevent Misuse of Data|| |
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) sponsored Clinical Trial Registry of India (CTRI) has evolved a solution to such problems. Any research work involving intervention may be related to thesis or not, is required to be registered in this registry. It solves the problem of authorship automatically since clear responsibility is fixed usually from the beginning of the research project. If a similar body takes responsibility of registering all the theses from medical colleges across the country, it will further enhance ethical publications. Students should be asked to verify raw data during the process of registration. A similar role can be taken up by local ethics committees and review boards of institutions.
Each and every step is not without faults and variation to the rules is often formulated. Therefore, the most important step would be to stimulate authors regarding maintenance of fair practices in the publication. This can be done by Continuing Medical Education (CME) activities, or through regular notifications even in the form of warning. One should always remember the rule that maintaining honesty is the best policy and it sure won't let anyone down.
I would like to bring to your notice that the Lung India has now adopted CTRI compliance requirements. Details of requirements are available in the instruction to authors of the journal and on CTRI website http://ctri.nic.in/Clinicaltrials/login.php.
Finally, it has been observed that authors responsible for making corrections in the proofs are not taking it seriously. I request all authors to make necessary correction in authors proof as soon as they get it so that the publication of an issue is not delayed. If the authors do not respond appropriately within the specified time limit, final decision on their article may get deferred.
| References|| |
|1.||Sharma BB, Singh V. Ethics in writing: Learning to stay away from plagiarism and scientific misconduct. Lung India 2011;28:148-50. |
|2.||Zaki SA. Gift authorship - A cause for concern. Lung India 2011;28:232-3. |