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Editorial
7 (
1
); 1-3
doi:
10.25259/JISH_39_2024

Training in scientific writing in homoeopathy: A need of the hour

Department of Repertory, Dr. M. L. Dhawale Memorial Homoeopathic Institute, Rural Homoeopathic Hospital, Palghar, Maharashtra, India
Corresponding author: Dr. Nikunj J. Jani, Department of Repertory, Dr. M. L. Dhawale Memorial Homoeopathic Institute, Rural Homoeopathic Hospital, Palghar, Maharashtra, India. drnikunj@gmail.com
Licence
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike 4.0 License, which allows others to remix, transform, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as the author is credited and the new creations are licensed under the identical terms.

How to cite this article: Jani NJ. Training in scientific writing in homoeopathy: A need of the hour. J Intgr Stand Homoeopathy. 2024;7:1-3. doi: 10.25259/JISH_39_2024

Publication of scientific papers is extremely critical for the evolution of any science; this is a crucial step in the growth and development of the science. However, the process has its responsibilities. An author/team of authors who consider publishing their work must be aware of Good Publication Practices (GPPs). The onus to adhere to GPP is the responsibility of not only the author but also of the publishers of scientific journals. Drawing and publishing conclusions from fabricated or manipulated data can be detrimental to the growth of the science, particularly if said data pertains to health research.[1]

Homoeopathic journals have played a significant role in the growth and spread of homoeopathy. Several published cases and studies have promoted its increased popularity, which can further be attributed to the publication of such cured cases and the ensuing discussions.

A paper in a peer-reviewed publication not only contributes to the author’s curriculum vitae but also provides them a chance to share their clinical experience with fellow professionals.[2]

Publishing in peer-reviewed medical journals is essentially seen as knowledge transfer, and the onus of giving priority to this action rests with the academic world.[3] Unfortunately, cut-throat competition, association of publications with promotions, grants, the need for mandatory accreditations, and other professional gains have led to the adoption of unethical practices in the journal publication industry.

Unfortunately, the homoeopathic world is also a party to this menace. We are seeing a sudden surge in homoeopathic journals, with numerous homoeopathic institutes, societies, and organizations in a race to ‘launch’ them. Their focus is more on social media marketing than the ethics of publication. There are often no clear-cut processes, misleading information about the journal indexing and abstracting partners, and indulgence in sham peer review or no peer review at all!

Thankfully, organisations exist which give recommendations and develop guidelines to assist authors, editors, and reviewers to ensure that the correct, clear, and scientifically accurate research papers are published. The organisations involved with publication ethics are as follows:

  1. International Committee of Medical Journals Editors (ICMJE).[4]

  2. World Association of Medical Editors (WAME).[5]

  3. Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).[6]

All homoeopathic journals have to adhere to the professional and industry guidelines and best practices in scientific publications, including the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals (ICMJE) and Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing. The authors, before submitting their work to these journals, also need to check if the journal’s website mentions adherence to the best practices.

Most of the time, young researchers, postgraduate trainees, and even doctorate-level scholars are not aware of the details regarding scientific writing and publications. A survey conducted in Kolkata, India, in 2018 among 140 homoeopathic interns, new graduates, and postgraduate trainees reported inadequate knowledge and compromised attitudes toward research and scientific publications. The study highlighted that despite Research Methodology and Biostatistics being a subject in the postgraduate programme, many students still had a poor understanding of the process of scientific writing and publication and felt a need to learn it along with the peer-review process, the format for scientific articles and the necessary skills in writing for peer-reviewed journals.[7]

Lack of knowledge regarding scientific writing is felt not only by the learners but also by the faculty and consultants. An online survey was carried out in Karnataka State, India, among 600 teachers in a medical and educational institutions (having an academic rank starting from Assistant Professor to Professor) and medical consultants in a non-teaching hospital (a doctor of senior rank within a specific field), reported that 40.4% of the participants did not have publications to their credit, thus highlighting the lack of medical scientific writing in India. Moreover, 40.6% of the participants had not attended any workshop on scientific publications and felt a great need to attend such programmes. Majority of the survey participants stated that including the basics of scientific writing and publication training in the post-graduate (PG) curriculum can improve the medical literature appraisal skills and thus contribute to the quality of overall publications in the future.[8]

It is heartening to note that the National Commission for Homoeopathy has made a course in scientific writing mandatory for all MD (Homoeopathy) Part-II PG students irrespective of specialty in the Homoeopathy PG degree course-Doctor of Medicine in Homoeopathy Regulations, 2024. This will surely help in developing scientific writing skills among homoeopaths and enhance the quality of future scientific publications.[9]

In this issue, we have papers that adhere to the GPP. We have a collaborative research paper by the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, the National Metallurgical Laboratory, Jamshedpur, and the National Institute of Homoeopathy, Kolkata. This is a rare occurrence when a premier technology institute teams up with the country’s top research laboratory and a national-level homoeopathic institute to bring out an evidence-based research paper demonstrating the potentisation process of homoeopathic medicines. This paper will open up newer vistas to study the process of many more homoeopathic medicines and help provide scientific evidence supporting homoeopathy.[10]

We also have two interesting review articles, one dealing with authorship issues in a scientific manuscript[11] and another giving insights on childhood insomnia and its homoeopathic management.[12]

We also have evidence-based case series and case reports which will help demonstrate the role of homoeopathy as an effective system of medicine.

Quality scientific publications reflect the quality of the science and the quality of the people who strive for it. It reflects the qualities of the minds who strive to improve that science. I recollect the lines from a poem by stalwart American poet Emily Dickinson:

‘Publication – is the Auction

Of the Mind of Man–

…… In the Parcel–Be the Merchant

Of the Heavenly Grace –

But reduce no Human Spirit

To Disgrace of Price –’[13]

In the poem, Dickinson says that publishing one’s work is like selling one’s own mind to the highest bidder. However, God gave us thought, and all thought thus belongs to Him. A writer’s job is to deliver God’s heavenly blessings and wisdom through their work, and it would be utterly degrading to the human spirit to put a price on God’s grace.

Homoeopathy needs its clinicians, educationists, and researchers to disseminate accurate, correct, and scientific homoeopathy which adheres to international publishing standards. In doing this, we will surely help science to gain more scientific fervour and help countless people across the world to be relieved of their ailments.

References

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  3. , , , , , , et al. Knowledge transfer in Tehran University of Medical Sciences: An academic example of a developing country. Implement Sci. 2008;3:39.
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  4. . Recommendations for the conduct, reporting, editing and publication of scholarly work in medical journals. . Available from: http://www.icmje.org/icmjerecommendations.pdf [Last accessed on 2024 Apr 12]
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  5. . About us: What is WAME? . Available from: https://wame.org/about [Last accessed on 2024 Apr 12]
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  9. National Commission for Homoeopathy notification New Delhi, the 18th March 2024. Available from: https://nch.org.in/upload/Gazetted-PG-regulation.pdf [Last accessed on 2024 Apr 10]
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  10. , , , , , , et al. Understanding of potentization process of homoeopathic medicine of Aurum Metallicum and its characterisation. J Intgr Stand Homoeopathy. 2024;7:4-18.
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  11. , . Authorship issues in a research article. J Intgr Stand Homoeopathy. 2024;7:28-33.
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  12. , . Insights on childhood insomnia and it’s Homoeopathic treatment approaches–A narrative review. J Intgr Stand Homoeopathy. 2024;7:19-27.
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  13. , . The poems of Emily Dickinson Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press; .
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