In Mu’tah faculty of Medicine, and Jordan University faculty of Medicine, there is no formal teaching or training to allow Medical students to conduct research by themselves. Almost certainly, this runs also on the remaining two faculties of Medicine in Jordan (At Jordan University of Science and Technology, and Hashemite University). I haven’t read or heard about the situation there so I can’t confirm this conclusion.
Back to Mu’tah and Jordan Universities, preparing a research, not to mention publishing one, is not part of the degree requirements to become a medical doctor. Therefore, students do research as an extracurricular activity.
During the past two years, I had the luck of dealing with many students doing research. One important thing that struck me is that many students have a misconception of how much contribution is enough to make someone eligible to be a co-author. During a study that I took part in, I asked some friends of mine to help me with distributing questionnaires and collecting them from university students. A comment that I always seemed to hear, “Well, I have collected 100+ questionnaires for you so far, why do not you make me a co-author with you in this study?”. Many think that if they simply help in data gathering, doing a literature review, data entry, data analysis, etc., then they can be eligible for authorship. But what could I have told them? From now on, I will be citing the following which happened with a colleague of mine.
My colleague submitted a paper to the Saudi Medical Journal (SMJ). As part of the reviewing process, SMJ sent him the following regarding who should qualify to be an author. The following would be a very good explanation to anyone who is new to the world of research:
“Authorship credit should be based on 1) substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; 2) intellectual content; and 3) final approval of the version to be published. Acquisition of funding, collection of data or general supervision of the research group, alone does not justify authorship.”
To sum it up, to be eligible for authorship doesn’t only require you to finish one task; be it a literature review, study design, data collection, data entry, data analysis, or manuscript writing. On the contrary, becoming a co-author means a combination of all of the above. Or at least, most of which.
Finally, as I sometimes say when I finish my talk about research: Happy researching!