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Sengupta's Research Academy

Five Tips for the Postgraduate to Start Publishing

Post graduation can be a daunting task with a lot to imbibe in very little time. In ophthalmology, the science is changing ever so rapidly that a three-year residency period is almost too little to grasp the nuances of the subject. In addition to learning examination skills, you have to learn surgical skills and read literature to keep yourselves updated. Amongst all this, how do you find time to publish papers during residency? Does it really matter whether you publish any papers during this time? Are there any advantages you score over your peers if you manage to publish a few papers? I certainly have experienced the riches of publishing some meaningful papers during my residency. How I managed to do it can be read here (Click here to read the article). In this write up, I will share with you some tips on how you can start publishing during residency itself :


Tip 1: Be in touch with the evolving literature

Subscribe to E-Table of contents of all the major ophthalmic journals and read full text of the papers that you find interesting. Once you read the full text you will discover topics which you can study yourself. Make PubMed work for you – it is possible to program PubMed to send you latest articles similar to your topics of interest once every week. This is a must for your thesis topic at least. With these tips you are sure to keep in touch with the latest research being published in your field of interest.


Tip 2: Learn how to communicate with a biostatistician

It is imperative that you understand how to communicate with a biostatistician if you want to be successful at publishing papers. Posing statistical questions that will bring out the best results from your data is very important and only you can do this best. A tip is to create dummy tables and send it to your statistician so that he/she can fill it up. Also look at previous literature and ask for meaningful graphs that will best depict your data and findings. A basic knowledge of some biostatistics is essential for you to communicate with your biostatistician effectively. So try and gain this extra bit of knowledge in the beginning of your residency.


Tip 3: Start writing early in your residency

It is well known that starting is the most difficult part of any creative activity. So consider starting “manuscript writing” during the first year of residency. Case reports and relatively easy to write, so are “letter to editor” and similar such communications. If written well, these can get published relatively faster which will give you a tremendous boost and make you hungry for more papers.


Tip 4: Publish your thesis:

Every resident must aspire to publish his/her thesis since a lot of hard work and dedication goes into completing it. But remember that to publish your thesis, you have to do it well first. So plan well before starting and execute it thoroughly and carefully so that it is publication worthy as soon as it’s written up. Your thesis can become the first original article you publish in your research career. In my experience, you will do the thesis well and with full commitment only if you aim to publish it, so aim for it. There is a proliferation of journals where you can send your thesis, but beware of predatory journals which can undermine your efforts. The joy of publishing your thesis is much higher than you can possibly imagine.


Tip 5: Learn to deal with rejections

Publishing papers is tough and highly demanding where, despite your best efforts, you are likely to face rejections from top journals often in the beginning. Try to learn from these and move forward. Getting rejected can be demoralizing and in my experience, it is the biggest reason why residents drop out from pursuing publications. But if you can overcome the first few and manage to get your paper published in an alternative journal, after incorporating the comments of previous reviewers, it gives you immense confidence. Dealing with rejections makes you humble and influences your overall personality. It teaches you to see the larger picture and makes you want to improve continuously, in every aspect of life, not just publications and academics.
I hope these 5 tips will motivate you to start writing manuscripts early in your residency and you will have a few publications even before you are a qualified ophthalmologist.

 

Online Courses from Sengupta's Research Academy:

50%discountThe entire online course contains a set of 22 online lectures that have been divided into 5 modules based on major concepts required to design, plan and execute your study and write it up for publication. Each 10-minute lecture is packed with information in a very lucid manner enabling you to grasp concepts while enjoying the learning process. Learn on the go and access lectures on your device anytime anywhere. The cost for All modules is Rs 1999 but there is currently a discount of 50% till 15th January using the code SRA50. Click Here to avail this offer

 

Dr. Sabyasachi Sengupta is an ophthalmologist and retina specialist based in Mumbai. He is the current associate editor of Indian Journal of Opthalmology and founder director of Senguptas research academy. He has been involved with clinical research since 2005, ever since he began his residency in Ophthalmology at the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Postgraduate MedicSabyasachial Education and Research (JIPMER, Pondicherry). He continued his residency going on to become a Diplomate of National board from Aravind Eye Hospital, Pondicherry, India and was awarded a gold medal by the National Board of Examinations. Despite having a rigorous clinical schedule, Dr. Sengupta was successful in publishing 20 papers in peer-reviewed journals during his residency. Following his residency, Dr. Sengupta went on to do a research & clinical fellowship at the renowned Sankara Nethralaya, where he was simultaneously involved in patient care and clinical research and was successful in publishing 12 papers over a two-year period. He has completed postdoctoral research fellowship at the world-renowned Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA. He also did a one-year course in Biostatistics at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University. During his stint at Hopkins, Dr. Sengupta was exposed to a very systematic and organized way of doing research. He was fortunate to be mentored by very experienced researchers at Hopkins. This experience made Dr. Sengupta well versed with the infrastructure and support required to conduct world-class clinical research, which he aspires to catalyze in India and the rest of the developing world.