A committee constituted to shortlist best-performing students for an award has pointed out a serious unethical practice going on at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, when it comes to publication of medical research.
As per the documents available with the Hindustan Times, a committee was constituted under the dean of the institute to select the best student of 2014 for the coveted Kataria Memorial Gold Medal. The award is given to the student who excels in every walk of life including research, academics and extracurricular activities.
Apart from the dean, the other members of the committee were sub-dean Dr S Varma and head, department of general surgery, Dr Rajinder Singh.
The committee found that the papers published on research carried out during thesis work of the students had their guides as first authors (whose names appear on top of the list of authors of the study). “This is in contravention to the guidelines for authorship laid down by the PGIMER,” the committee observed.
The committee further recommended that the student concerned should be the first author of that particular paper based on his/her thesis work and the guide concerned. The committee also said that the guide concerned can only become first author if the student fails to publish his/her thesis within a period of two years of completion of work.
Every student doing an MD or MS has to carry out a research on a particular topic and produce a thesis to get the postgraduate degree.
Since the number of publications is an important parameter in the faculty-promotion programme at the PGIMER, it has become quite a common practice that senior doctors put their names on research papers even ahead of the real researchers.
Every year the PGIMER produces around 800 research papers, of which, a large number appears in mediocre research journals. However when it comes to the top medical research journals, the institute is still struggling to produce quality research to meet the international standards.