Monday, 9 December 2013

Workload and authorship criteria deter Chinese clinicians from doing research

Letter from Dr Zhang Han of the Second Military Medical University, Shanghai in The Lancet:

"With a growing burden of surgical procedures and very large numbers of patients, Chinese surgeons should have an important role in seeking consensus on global strategies through participation in international collaboration. However, many obstacles are hindering their enthusiasm for joint studies, including considerable extra workload in clinical research besides a heavy clinical burden, difficulties in participant enrolment due to the deteriorated doctor—patient relationship, language barriers, and limited opportunities to communicate and cooperate with international colleagues.
We appeal to health administrators in China for an increased awareness of the importance of collaborative research and for supportive policies. For instance, appropriate assessment of the achievement of these research collaborations is an important issue. The present academic evaluation system in China recognises and rewards the position of first and corresponding authors for published studies, and the contributions of other participants tend to be neglected. Hence, how to encourage the active participation of more surgeons in future international research collaboration is an issue worthy of discussion for health policy makers in China and worldwide."
Source: Lancet

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