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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 12-16

Knowledge, attitude, and practice of publication of manuscript in a scientific journal: A cross-sectional study among health-care practitioners


Department of Pharmacology, DY Patil Deemed to be University, School of Medicine, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission21-Oct-2020
Date of Acceptance02-Jun-2021
Date of Web Publication18-Nov-2021

Correspondence Address:
Anant Patil
Department of Pharmacology, DY Patil Deemed to be University, School of Medicine, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra.
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/dypj.DYPJ_8_20

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  Abstract 

Objective: To understand knowledge, attitude, and practice of health-care professionals related to the publication in a scientific journal. Materials and Methods: In this cross-sectional study, health-care professionals responded to a questionnaire consisting of 14 close-ended questions related to manuscript writing and submission. Results: One fifty healthcare professionals were included (mean standard deviation age 38 (8.8) years; clinical 79 (52.7%); nonclinical 20 (13.3%) and para-clinical 51 (34%). One hundred and eight (72%) participants were postgraduates by education. A total of 19 (12.7%), 85 (57.4%), 60 (40%), 31 (20.7%), 42 (28.8%), 115 (77.2%), 133 (88.7%), 59 (39.3%), 82 (55.4%), 125 (85%), 125 (84.5%), 141 (94%), and 97 (64.7%) were aware about quantitative indices other than impact factor, need of registration of clinical trial in clinical trial registry, guest author, ghost author, reporting standards, referencing styles, plagiarism, redundant publication, declaration of conflict of interest, need for permission for reproducing images/tables/figures, need of ethics committee permission for clinical studies, and open access journal, respectively. A total of 64 (43%) think about journal before writing the article. Sixty-three (42%) reported preference for open access journal and 93 (62.8%) favored online submission. Sixty-four (42.7%) respondents training for improving quality of manuscript, whereas 81 (54%) reported both training and inclusion of a chapter on manuscript writing in curriculum will be useful for improving quality of manuscript. Conclusion: There is a need to improve the awareness related to manuscript writing among health-care professionals.

Keywords: Manuscript, publication, writing


How to cite this article:
Patil A, Langade D. Knowledge, attitude, and practice of publication of manuscript in a scientific journal: A cross-sectional study among health-care practitioners. D Y Patil J Health Sci 2021;9:12-6

How to cite this URL:
Patil A, Langade D. Knowledge, attitude, and practice of publication of manuscript in a scientific journal: A cross-sectional study among health-care practitioners. D Y Patil J Health Sci [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Nov 27];9:12-6. Available from: http://www.dypatiljhs.com/text.asp?2021/9/1/12/331113




  Introduction Top


It is ethical and moral responsibility of every doctor to provide best possible care to the patients based on the currently available evidence. In order to do so, it is important for the health-care professionals to remain updated with the current developments in the field of medicine. Updating knowledge is mostly possible by reading the published articles and guidelines. In the era of evidence-based medicine, doctors should also try to contribute in the generation of evidence by conducting the research. In the planning stage of research, literature search plays a critical role in the identification of topics.

Understanding principles of manuscript writing and ability to critically analyze a scientific paper is important for all medical professionals whether it is a medical teacher, pharmaceutical physician, or clinician. For promotion of medical teachers, Medical Council of India mandates the publication of original research papers.[1] Scientific communication is an integral part of routine work profile of a pharmaceutical physician.[2] Private practitioners and clinicians need sound ability to critically analyze the scientific papers to understand the claims made by the pharmaceutical companies for their products or other evidences. Several issues (author, statistics, related, ethics, submission, and conflict of interest) are involved in the manuscript writing.[3] Methodology of article writing differs based on the type of article.[4],[5] Several articles related to guidance on manuscript writing are available in the literature.[6],[7],[8],[9],[10]

A review of available published literature suggests limited information regarding knowledge, attitude, and perceptions of health-care professionals regarding manuscript writing and publication in the scientific journal.

Objective

The objective of this study was to understand the knowledge, attitude, and practice of health-care professionals related to the publication in a scientific journal.


  Materials and Methods Top


In this cross-sectional study, validated and pretested questionnaire consisting of questions related to awareness, attitude, and practices related to manuscript writing and submission was administered to health-care professionals. Questionnaire was administered either face to face or online through a survey form. Health-care professionals were included by the convenience sampling method.

Questionnaire consisted of total 14 close-ended questions. A question related to factors considered for the selection of journal for manuscript publication was answered on a 5-point Likert scale.[11] The study was conducted after taking permission for the Institutional Ethics Committee.

Statistical analysis

Categorical data are presented as numbers and percentages, whereas continuous data are presented as mean and standard deviation (SD). Intergroup comparisons were performed by using the Kruskal–Wallis Test.


  Results Top


A total of 400 health-care professionals were approached. Out of them, 150 responded to the questionnaire giving response rate of 37.5%. The baseline characteristics of respondents are shown in [Table 1]. The mean (SD) age of the participants was 38 (8.8) years. A total of 79 (52.7%) participants were from the clinical field, whereas 20 (13.3%) and 51 (34%) were from nonclinical and para-clinical branches. A total of 108 (72%) participants were postgraduates by education.
Table 1: Baseline characteristics

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Out of 150 respondents, 101 (67.3%) had experience of writing at least one publication. Those who did not have any publication, gave following reasons for it-lack of time 8 (16.3%), lack of skill 28 (57.1%), and no knowledge 13 (26.5%).

A total of 85 (57.4%), 60 (40%), 31 (20.7%), 42 (28.8%), 115 (77.2%), 133 (88.7%), 59 (39.3%), 82 (55.4%), 125 (85%), 125 (84.5%), 141 (94%), 97 (64.7%), and 19 (12.7%) were aware about the need of registration of clinical trial in clinical trial registry, guest author, ghost author, reporting standards, referencing styles, plagiarism, redundant publication, declaration of conflict of interest, need for permission for reproducing images/tables/figures, need of IEC permission for clinical studies, open access journal and quantitative indices other than impact factor, respectively [Table 2].
Table 2: Awareness related to publication of an article

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A total of 70 (46.7%) respondents knew of Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion (IMRAD) format for writing original article. The rankings given by participants regarding different factors for selecting journal for article publication are presented in [Table 3].
Table 3: Factors considered for selecting journal for article publication

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A total of 82 (55%) respondents said that they will not submit their manuscript to a journal only based on an impact factor, whereas 46 (30.9%) reported that they are not sure.

Comparative analysis of these parameters between clinical, nonclinical paraclinical streams did not show significant difference for indexed journal (P = 0.301), ranking of the journal (P = 0.702) and journal with print option (P = 0.537). For two parameters, i.e., target audience and scope of journal (P = 0.047) and indexed journal (P = 0.043), there was significant difference between the groups. There was no difference for any of the parameters in intergroup comparison of graduates, postgraduates, and super speciality health-care professionals (target audience and scope of journal P = 0.289; peer review journal P = 0.986; indexed journal P = 0.986; ranking of the journal P = 0.712; journal with print option P = 0.792).

A total of 64 (43%) respondents reported that they consider about journal before writing article, whereas 63 (42.3%) reported that they consider it after writing the article. A total of 22 (14.8%) were not sure about timing of selecting journal [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Timing of selecting journal for manuscript submission (n = 149)

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When asked about preferred journal for submission of article, a total of 63 (42%) respondents mentioned that they prefer open access journal, whereas 13 (8.7%) prefer subscription journal. Type of journal does not matter to 74 (49.3%) respondents [Figure 2].
Figure 2: Preferred journal for manuscript submission

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A total of 148 health-care professionals responded to question on preferred method of article submission. Ninety-three (62.8%) respondents favor online submission, whereas only 5 (3.4%) prefer submission in print copies. Fifty (33.8%) respondents mentioned that they are fine with either option [Figure 3].
Figure 3: Preferred method of manuscript submission to the journal

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A total of 64 (42.7%) and 20 (13.3%) respondents suggested that training and including a chapter on manuscript writing in curriculum, respectively, will be useful for improving the quality of manuscript. According to 81 (54%) respondents, both of these measures will be useful for improving the quality of manuscript.


  Discussion Top


The publication of original research work is significantly important for scientists or academicians.[12] Ability to critically analyze the scientific publications is desirable for all health-care professionals considering their profile of work. In this study, we evaluated knowledge, attitude, and practices of health-care professionals in regard to manuscript writing and publication. The study population was mix of clinical, para-clinical, and preclinical branches. The response rate from those contacted for face to face interview was good.

A cross-sectional study among dental faculty (n = 200) reported that publication in journals by 90% participants.[13] The percentage of respondents having at least one publication was less in our study, because some of the participants were not from the teaching institute while some were newly joined postgraduate students. In a study conducted by Pawar et al.,[14] lack of time was cited as obstacle for research by 74% residents. In another study, 25.8% dental faculty reported lack of time as reason for not conducting research.[13] In our study, lack of skill was cited as reason for not writing manuscripts by large number of health-care professionals.

Authorship is an important aspect of manuscript. An author is person who has given significant intellectual contribution in the scientific study.[15] Guest author and ghost authors are another concern in the scientific publications.[16] A study documenting views of health researcher‚s view from low/middle-income country reported common occurrence of guest authorships in their institutions.[17] In our study, 40% participants were aware about meaning of guest author. Awareness about ghost author was much less than that of guest authors.

The authors should refer consolidated standards of reporting trials while writing manuscript based on the results of a randomized controlled trial, strengthening the reporting of observational studies in epidemiology if reporting the results of observational studies, and preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses while writing systematic reviews and meta-analysis.[12] Adherence to guidelines ensures uniformity in the reporting and also avoids chances of missing important information. Awareness about reporting standards was not satisfactory in our study. Plagiarism is an important hazard in scientific publications.[12] In our study, most (88.7%) of the participants were aware about plagiarism. Awareness of impact factor and plagiarism was also reported by the majority of dental faculty in another study.[13]

Authors can use available plagiarism detection tools to avoid plagiarism and subsequent consequences after the detection of plagiarism. Referencing can be done in different styles (e.g., Vancouver, Harvard) and journal may recommend one specific style for referencing. The authors should read the guidelines of journal carefully before writing manuscript.[12] More than three fourth of study participants were aware about Vancouver and Harvard type of referencing styles.

IMRaD is widely used acronym for following the structure of manuscript while writing manuscript related to original research.[18] However, in our study, only 46.7% respondents knew about it.

Choosing an appropriate journal is an important consideration for the publication of a manuscript.[12] In our study, 43% participants were in favor of selecting journal before writing article. We strongly feel that journal should be selected before initiation of manuscript writing, so that later time is not wasted in editing the manuscript as per the requirements of journal. Most authors face dilemma regarding the choice of journal. We strongly feel that the journal should be selected based on the scope of the journal, expected readership, indexing, and peer review status. Indexation of a journal is one of the parameters indicating quality of the journal.[19],[20] The publication of original research in a peer-reviewed and indexed journal is valued much higher because of its quality. In our study, 88% participants agreed/strongly agreed in selecting journal based on the target audience and scope of journal. Similarly, agreement for submission to indexed journal and peer reviewed journal was high in our study participants.

Indexing is also an indicator for the quality of journal. Some of the examples of indexations include MedLine, Index Medicus (regional and national versions), PubMed, EMBASE, SCOPUS, etc.[19],[20] Most of our study participants agreed/strongly agreed for publishing paper in indexed journal.

The awareness of impact factor was present in the majority of dental faculty in a study.[13] Another study involving physicians specializing in internal medicine reported that impact factor may be a reasonable indicator of quality.[21] It is important to note that impact factor is a controversial measure for deciding the quality of journal considering bias involved in its calculation.[19] The authors should also be aware that funding agencies may not consider journal index factor in their decision to approve funds.[22] In our study, 55% respondents said that they will not submit their manuscript to a journal only based on an impact factor.

Selecting open access journal versus subscription journal is a topic or debate. The results of a study suggested that authors should not ignore/reject open access journals for submission of their original work just because they are open access. The author should rather check the quality of journal before the submission of article.[23] In our study, 42% respondents mentioned that they prefer open access journal, whereas 49.3% reported that type (open access/subscription) of journal does not matter.

Suggestions by the participants to improve quality of manuscripts included training and incorporation of chapter in teaching curriculum. We too feel that regular trainings on manuscript writing should be conducted in all medical colleges.

Small sample size and use of convenience sampling for the sample selection are the limitations of our study. Larger studies are required to confirm our observations.


  Conclusion Top


Our study results showed varied responses in knowledge and publication practices among healthcare professionals. The results also suggest the need for improving awareness related to manuscript writing and publication.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Medical Council of India. Minimum Qualifications for Teachers in Medical Institutions Regulations, 1998 (Amended Upto 8th June, 2017). Available from: https://www.mciindia.org/documents/rulesAndRegulations/Teachers-Eligibility-Qualifications-Rgulations-1998.pdf. [Last accessed on 2018 Apr 01].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
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Rai A, Kumar A, Abraham L, Chandra A, Kaur M, Hasan S. Research and publishing practices, attitudes, and barriers among dental faculty: Results of a survey study of 200 teachers across India. J Educ Ethics Dent 2016;6:34-40.  Back to cited text no. 13
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Pawar DB, Gawde SR, Marathe PA. Awareness about medical research among resident doctors in a tertiary care hospital: A cross-sectional survey. Perspect Clin Res 2012;3:57-61.  Back to cited text no. 14
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Rohwer A, Young T, Wager E, Garner P. Authorship, plagiarism and conflict of interest: Views and practices from low/middle-income country health researchers. BMJ Open 2017;7:e018467.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
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