Indian Journal of Dental Research

: 2008  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 87-

Scientific writing: The Indian scenario

B Sivapathasundharam 
 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Meenakshi Ammal Dental College and Hospital, Alapakkam Main Road, Maduravoyal, Chennai - 600 095, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
B Sivapathasundharam
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Meenakshi Ammal Dental College and Hospital, Alapakkam Main Road, Maduravoyal, Chennai - 600 095, Tamil Nadu

How to cite this article:
Sivapathasundharam B. Scientific writing: The Indian scenario.Indian J Dent Res 2008;19:87-87

How to cite this URL:
Sivapathasundharam B. Scientific writing: The Indian scenario. Indian J Dent Res [serial online] 2008 [cited 2023 Feb 8 ];19:87-87
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Full Text

The mortal human, in an unrelenting urge to remain immortal, resorted to recording his life-related observations and experience in the form of writing, as observed from the cave paintings and stone engravings of the prehistoric era. This ancient habit has now grown leaps and bounds to the present day high resolution paper printing and sharing information over the World Wide Web.

The need to disseminate scientific knowledge and expertise for the betterment of humanity led to the concept of writing in scientific journals. Scientific publications that resulted thereof provided additional benefits such reputation among peers and monetary benefits, beyond spreading knowledge. Interestingly, publishing scientific content in journals regularly is a prerequisite for appointment or promotion in several institutions across the globe. In India, quite appreciably, the governing body of the dental fraternity, the Dental Council of India (DCI) has included scientific publications as a compulsory requirement for appointments to senior positions such as head of the department in dental schools. Thus, with scientific publications becoming synonymous with job survival, the dental faculty across the country have started publishing aggressively in the recent years.

This sudden surge in scientific writing has resulted in the flooding of journal offices with manuscripts based on original research, reports on interesting cases and treatment case series, and well-structured reviews on contemporary topics. Unfortunately, repeated research, studies with poor design, and poorly written papers constitute a significant part of these submissions.

There is another disturbing side of this publication scenario. Publishing in the so-called FOREIGN journals has become glamorous among our authors, with the result that we see countless authors and teachers kneeling down at the doors of foreign journals with well-written papers. It is immaterial to them whether it is an indexed journal or not; because all that is needed is a foreign nation of origin for the journal, even if it is a non-indexed journal from Pakistan or Hong Kong. At a time when Indian brains are demanded by foreign countries in the software and technology fronts, it is pathetic to note that many Indian authors prefer foreign journals to express their ideas.

A major fact that is being forgotten about the quality of a journal is that it depends on the quality of manuscripts submitted by the authors, qualified referees, standardized peer-reviewing and suitable and demanding readers, more than the editor and his/her team. If only the excellent papers submitted by the Indian authors to foreign journals find a way to our Indian journals, we can soon boast of journals that would be a destination for foreign authors to publish their papers. Without doing so, the so-called teachers of dentistry (I still consider myself as a student), who learn and earn from India have no moral right to exploit the national journals' standard for their hilarious talk at conferences. Indian journals should never be considered as a dumping ground for second grade manuscripts. I remember with great disdain the days I used to receive articles with covering letters addressed to foreign journals, exposing this shameful attitude.

Previously wider circulation was cited as one of the reasons for seeking publication in foreign journals. This however does not hold good at present since most of the Indian journals are available online, providing increased visibility to the international readers. In fact, Indian journals have cost-effective subscription rates and provide free access to the full text of the manuscripts online. It is important to note that an epidemiological study done in India or a research carried out on an Indian medicinal plant would be more beneficial to and would be better appreciated by the Indian readers when it is published in an Indian Journal rather than a foreign journal. The authors and researchers should make a vow that they would share their knowledge and experience primarily through our national journals. This can only enable the message to reach the target audience more appropriately and can raise the standard of our journals to appreciable heights. Also, in a noble endeavor like sharing knowledge though scientific publishing, publicity and monetary benefits should never rule the decision making regarding where to publish.