Journal of Indian System of Medicine

: 2019  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 197--199

Approaches for increasing quality of research publications in Ayurveda

Dhirajsingh S Rajput 
 Department of Rasashastra & Bhaishajya Kalpana, Mahatma Gandhi Ayurved College Hospital and Research Centre, Wardha, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Dhirajsingh S Rajput
Department of Rasashastra & Bhaishajya Kalpana, Mahatma Gandhi Ayurved College Hospital and Research Centre, Salod (H), Wardha, Maharashtra 442001.

How to cite this article:
Rajput DS. Approaches for increasing quality of research publications in Ayurveda.J Indian Sys Medicine 2019;7:197-199

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Rajput DS. Approaches for increasing quality of research publications in Ayurveda. J Indian Sys Medicine [serial online] 2019 [cited 2021 Jul 25 ];7:197-199
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Publication is a powerful tool for generalization of research at international platform. In recent times, the significance of publications has been considerably increased in academics and become one of the major criteria in evaluating eligibility as well as level of skills. It is understood that compared to modern medical sciences, the trend of publications in traditional medicines was not much popular till the nineteenth century. Currently, increased interest of world toward traditional medicines, especially Ayurveda has contributed in establishing research and publication as one of the major requirements in accessing qualities of individuals as well as of organizations. It is also clear that publications increase the progress and popularity of science and also help in updating special knowledge gained or discovered through research. This can be successfully achieved only through publications having sufficient quality, and quality is not a matter of just hard work, it is a combination of few skills such as correlative approach, good communication skill, writing skill, deep applied understanding of related field, insight in research, and reading and understanding of current research. That is why publication is considered as difficult as well as stressful task, which consumes much more time. On one hand, the increased significance of publications has been forcing the employees to write articles, and on the other hand, ban over predatory journals as well as recommendation for acceptable publications that are published only in University Grants Commission (UGC), Scopus, PubMed, and Web of Science indexed journals has made it much more difficult.[1]

According to few opinions, the emphasis given on publication has led to decreased value of academic works as employees and scholars have to spend much time to publish whatever they can deal with, rather than spending their time in developing contributing research agenda or in teaching and guiding.[2] Up to some extent, this view is acceptable; however, if one considers the capacity of human beings to do multitasking, the need of science, the increased competition, need to hours, consistency as active personality, the skill of time, and work load management, then publication seems to be a must task rather than a burden. However, there is still one major obstacle, which researchers of traditional system of medicines are facing; it is the consideration of nonscientific articles (and thus rejection in most cases) when the manuscript is written in a way, which is understandable to related traditional system only. Most of Ayurveda publications are considered as nonscientific because of such obstacle. In fact, this is not an obstacle because for globalization of every science, it must be made flexible in such a way that majority of peoples who are actually not related to that science will also be able to understand the gist of the researcher’s findings. In the context of Ayurveda, most of the journals that were publishing Ayurveda research written in Ayurveda way are not included in aforementioned recommended journal database. This has clearly highlighted the need of improving quality of Ayurveda publications. There are many published research articles in Ayurveda journals, which have maintained great significant quality, and the pattern of those papers gives a clear idea regarding how to increase the quality of publication. For increasing the quality of Ayurveda research publications, the applicable points from the observed pattern can be expressed as given onward.

 Making a Review and Not Just Compilation

Before the effective implementation of recommendation of UGC, most of the publications in Ayurveda were under the category of review articles. In fact, most of the reviews were actually compilation of Ayurveda literature. Compilation is collection of information from different sources to make a report.[3] It involves only arrangement of scattered information but does not involve correlation with current updates as well as interpretations of controversies, problem, and solutions. On the contrary, reviews are focused on comprehensive understanding of the topic with applied outcomes.[4] In other words, the review must be on a narrow topic emphasizing related clarification from every possible angle. Keen summary from trusted sources, systematic arrangement in easily understandable way, and establishing correlation with recent research and authors’ own view are the key components expected in a quality review. Because of these expectations, the review can be claimed as most difficult type of publication, still considering the vast literature of Ayurveda, there is much scope for review publications only if written by fulfilling above expectations.

 Adopting Specified Guidelines and Completeness of Information

The introduction, methods, results, and discussion (IMRAD) is the general format for most research publications.[5] However, authors must be aware of the other guidelines such as Standard Protocol Items: Recommendations for Interventional Trials (SPIRIT), Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT), Strengthening The Reporting Of Observational Studies In Epidemiology (STROBE), Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments (ARRIVE), and Case Report Guidelines (CARE). Articles written without following specified guidelines that are applicable for their research types are most likely to get rejected. These guidelines help in insuring the completeness of information that too in sequential and systematic way. In any standard research work, information related to undertaken topic should not be missed or hidden, not only in describing literature or observations but also while writing the discussion.

 Mentioning Valid Supportive Evidences as References

No research work can be said as complete if it has not mentioned similar valid supportive evidences of research conducted previously. Here the word “valid” is specifically used to highlight that not all research can be used as evidence. It is up to the judgement of author to search and find the “valid” supportive evidence. Laboratory experiments and clinical trials are preferable as evidence, and it is best to avoid references of Internet sources of professional organizations. Emphasis must be given on clarifying how the evidence is supportive and up to how much extent. These supportive evidences are expected in Observations (in review articles) and in Discussion part of all types of research article. The textbook or information published in newspaper and blog are not considered as valid evidence.[6] Classical Ayurveda texts are valid but it is better to also give priority to recent scientific research. The information obtained from the source must be expressed in author’s words without changing the meaning. Simply copying information even from authors’ own research will increase the similarity percentage, which is considered as plagiarism.

 Avoiding Unnecessary Sanskrit Words

Ayurveda classical texts are written in Sanskrit language, and the significance of Sanskrit in understanding Ayurveda is undeniable. It is true that all Ayurveda words cannot be expressed in English language. However, only few journals are available in the field of Ayurveda,[7] and only these journals allow Sanskrit words that too only up to some extent and mostly after mentioning equivalent English terms in bracket after the Sanskrit words. Baghel et al.[8] have successfully carried out standardization of Ayurvedic clinical terminologies, and National Institute of Ayurveda has performed standardization of nonclinical terminologies of Ayurveda.[9] Ayurveda research must take the benefit from these two sources to choose English words at places of Sanskrit words and make the article more suitable for publication in indexed non-Ayurveda medical journals.

 Maintaining the Flow in a Paragraph and Sequential Flowing of Paragraphs

Systematization of scientific approaches makes it possible to determine the differences in the observations, views of science/scientists, used methodology, and scientific schools.[10] Systematized approaches are represented by maintaining the flow in a paragraph and sequential flow of paragraphs. Sudden turn in information leads breaks the flow and thus decreases the quality of a publication. Considering the research paper writing like a story and describing it from beginning to the end in accordance with details of each and every step along and last clarifying each methodology and finding sequentially in Discussion is the key to achieve this step.

 High-quality Analytical Data

The scientific journals approved by UGC and journals indexed in Scopus, PubMed, and Web of Science require high-quality data. For example, basic analytical findings of a formulation, such as total ash, acid-insoluble ash, and extractive values, are not enough to reach definite conclusions and thus are not much supportive for publications in indexed journals. Similarly, clinical studies with results presented in descriptive statistics are also not completely acceptable. Data obtained by advanced analytical testing and appropriate use of parametric or nonparametric statistical tests increase quality and thereby acceptability.

 Scientific Interpretation of Presented Data/Observations

It is the most difficult requirement of Discussion part in the research article. Observations can either be qualitative, quantitative, or both, but they do not provide clarification of what they are representing, how they can be confirmed, the relationship between observations, and their comparison with literature and other valid research. Scientific interpretation of observations is needed to answer all these questions. Interpretation is the data where the intellect of the researcher is reflected. Detailed and precise interpretation plays a major role in the acceptance of researchers’ finding by scientific community. In most Ayurveda publications, in spite of critical study and detailed observations, the discussion is made comparatively less and is mostly occupied by repeated presentation of values obtained in observations. This is one of the reasons behind rejection of Ayurveda research in indexed journals of multidisciplinary sciences. Scientific interpretation is a skill that can be developed through journal clubs, group discussion, taking feedback from peers as well as by keen reading and understanding of discussion part of articles published in indexed journals.

Approaches for increasing quality of research publications in Ayurveda involve all aforementioned criteria and those too without plagiarism. The practice of taking someone else’s ideas or work and passing them off as one’s own is known as plagiarism.[11] Expressing Ayurveda in terms of modern science by avoiding plagiarism is the gist of quality publication for Ayurveda research. In fact, every science has its own concepts, and the science can be best proven only if the concepts are expressed in its own way. This view is mostly expressed in Ayurveda community and it is correct too; however, for globalization of Ayurveda at international platform, it is necessary to present Ayurveda by fulfilling the guidelines made by scientific community.


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