How to know/find out if a Journal is PubMed-indexed? A link and explanation

PubMed-indexed Journal

You can find out if a journal is PubMed-indexed through the website of PubMed by searching something called “NLM catalog”. This is a link and above is a screen shot of the page. I noticed that you need to place your search terms between quotation marks (” “) in order for the desired journal to appear. Not using quotation marks will result in many unprecise results. I do not know why. For example, I want to search for the following journal: “Archives of Medical Research“.

Without quotations:

94 results and the journal does not appear within the first 20 results (link).

Archives of Medical Research

 

With quotations:

Three results and the journal’s name appears the first (link)

Archives of Medical Research (2)

 

Finally, after the journal’s name appears, click on it to move to its page. Look for the “Current Indexing Status“. Next to it, it will be written if the journal is currently indexed or not indexed for MEDLINE. Example of an indexed Journal: Archives of Medical Research (link):

Archives of Medical Research - Currently indexed for MEDLINE

DAAD’s 2015/2016 English Master Programs Scholarships for Jordanians (Two are Medicine-Related out of a Toal of 36 Programs)

DAAD Amman Jordanien
This is a copy-paste from a post published today by DAAD Jordan’s facebook page:

DAAD proudly presents its brand new brochure of its next intake for its Master portfolio “Developing-Related Postgraduate Courses”!!!

The funding line comprises 36 English Master programmes at different German universities in the fields Economic Sciences, Development Cooperation, Engineering,Mathematics, Regional Planning, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Public Health, Social Sciences and Media Studies.
All programmes are open for Jordanian applicants and there is full scholarships available.
Note: Applications have to be directed to the respective university and NOT to the DAAD. All information on the programmes can be found here : http://www.scribd.com/doc/135838156/Postgraduate-Courses-2015-16
Application deadlines differ from programme to programme but most deadlines are between September and October. Good luck with your application!

Source: DAAD’s Jordan Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/daad.jordan/posts/640757386006774

Notes from me:

# Prerequisites and Requirements for DAAD scholarhships: Are you eligible for a DAAD scholarship? https://www.daad.de/entwicklung/studierende_und_alumni/bildung_postgradual/ast/08164.en.html

# There are only two Medicine-related master programs and they are in Public Health. Their full details are on pages 101-108 of the DAAD’s brochure on Scribd.com. You can see the embeded Brochure below starting at page 101 (Master of Science in International Health (Berlin)). Alternatively, you can click here to go directly to page 101 on the Scribd website.

 

Postgraduate Courses 2015-16 by Daad Amman

Review: English for Writing Research Papers

English for Writing Research Papers
English for Writing Research Papers by Adrian Wallwork

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wanted to write a medical paper and I was totally lost. This book helped me a lot in my mission. This book guided me through every step in the process of writing. What I like most about the book is that it gives a lot of real examples from published papers, gives you the chance to learn by giving you pre- and post-correction versions of texts, and finally, that it has a collection of useful phrases, expressions, and words to use when you feel yourself not able to express yourself. I read at least 2/3 of the book. I am planning certainly to read it all and review it always because I am currently considering it as my “research-guidance bible”. I do not know if there are better books out there.

View all my reviews

When published papers become like YouTube videos: How comments can revolutionize research – PubMed Commons.

Have you ever used PubMed to search for a paper? Do you know how to tell a bad paper from a good one (i.e. critically appraise a paper)? Are not you sometimes afraid that certain papers contain mistakes? Did medical school equip you with enough skills to critically appraise the literature? Is there anyone to help you? Yes, there is help is since October 2013!

I believe that for most medical graduates in third world countries, where medical research is something rare, the answers to all the above questions is no. Understanding published papers, with their complex statistics and ideas was, and still, hard for me. This is not to mention critically appraising these papers and telling a good paper from a bad one. Did you experience this? Are you still experiencing this?

How can an inexperienced person tell a bad paper from a good one? Be this person a medical student, an inexperienced graduate, or even an experienced doctor who rarely does research. How can a person know the mistakes, which a paper contains? I believe that a good percentage of papers contain mistakes, whether scientific or linguistic, whether by mistake or with aim of fraud. The Abstract of the paper is only there on PubMed or in the Journal website. What is more important, the current system of “letters to the editor” does not seem to be effective. How often did you see such important feedback published? More importantly, do you think that many experienced people will take time to go through this lengthy and boring process of sending a letter to the editor?

When someone suggests a book to you, how do you make sure that it is a good book before going ahead and buying it? I believe that the easiest way is to read reviews or simply comments of people who read it. Very beautiful examples are Amazon, Bookreads, or whatever other website that allows users to publish comments and reviews in the books’ pages. Do not you benefit from reading these comments? Is not this a quick, relatively trustworthy, and incredible method that allows you to know how good a book is?

Comments allow users to decide wether a book is good or not

Source of the screenshot: http://www.amazon.com/Master-Boards-USMLE-Step-CK/dp/1609787609

3,522 reviews for this famous book

3,522 reviews for this famous book at gooodreads.com (link to this page)

 

In addition, we can consider the case YouTube videos. Do not you enjoy reading some of the comments that are posted under YouTube videos? Have you ever been curious to know how a magic trick was performed, and then you quickly knew what was going on through a comment that explained exactly what was going on? Have you ever not been impressed by a video explaining how to prepare something, and then was persuaded that the video is a piece of trash after reading some of the posted comments? Do not you like the discussions that break out below political or religious videos? Are not they sometimes more informative than the videos themselves?

Comments under a YouTube video featuring democratic candidates debating about the US Health Care System

Source of the screenshot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjA6eJ3R-UQ

Why do not they allow comments, reviews, and subsequent discussions under abstracts of published papers? Is not this a great way to allow inexperienced individuals to assess the quality of published papers? Why not to allow experienced users to expose the defects in published papers? The solution is simple then: Allow comments under published papers Just like Amazon and Goodreads allow comments in each book’s page or like YouTube allows comments under each video. Is not this a small change with great consequences? Did not anyone think of that?

Less than an hour ago, I was searching PubMed when an Ad talked about something called “PubMed Commons.” This was interesting and I immediately googled it. I found a great paper in the website of Stanford University (The world’s third best university according to the World University Rankings). A Professor called Tob Tibshirani wrote it. He is, according to his article below, one of the minds behind what I think would revolutionize research (all respect). I highlighted in red the important aspects of the article.

“PubMed Commons:  A system for commenting on articles in PubMed”

PubMed Commons:  A system for commenting on  articles in PubMed


The Need for a Comments System

Professor Tob Tibshirani, Stanford UniversityWe all read a lot of papers and often have useful things to say about them, but there is no systematic way to do this – lots of journals have commenting systems, but they’re clunky, and, most importantly, they’re scattered across thousands of sites. Journals don’t encourage critical comments from readers, and letters to the editor are difficult to publish and given too little space. If we’re ever going to develop a culture of commenting on the literature, we need to have a simple and centralized way of doing it.

Pat Brown, Mike Eisen and David Lipman

Last year, I approached my Stanford colleague Pat Brown, a founder of PLOS, with the idea of creating a site where scientists could comment on ANY published research article – something like comments on movies at Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB) or comments on books and other products at Amazon. Pat said that he been discussing similar ideas with his PLOS co-founder Michael Eisen, and that they felt strongly that a standalone site would be unlikely to work because it would not get enough traffic. They felt that the best way to develop a successful culture of commenting on science papers would be to make this an option at PubMed.  Pat introduced me to David Lipman, the Director of the NCBI (the home of PubMed), who said that the idea has been raised many times in the past, and that he was open to implementing such a system if I could demonstrate broad support in the community.

So I organized a group of 34 team leaders, representing diverse scientific fields. They recruited teams of prominent researchers in their fields – 250 in all, who were committed to the idea. David took the idea to the NIH leadership,  who approved the development of a pilot commenting system called PubMed Commons. The team of scientists I assembled agreed to beta test the system during development and to provide feedback on its design and operation. 

Who should be able to post comments?

A central issue for PubMed Commons was  the question of who should be able to post comments.  One would like the system to be inclusive as possible but many scientists would not be interested in posting comments in a system with a high proportion of irrelevant or uninformed comments.  NIH also needed a rule for who could post that would be pretty clear cut and not based on e.g. some judgment of the experience or knowledge of the participants. The decision was made that comments could only be posted by authors of papers in PubMed. This would make the situation symmetric in that all people who comment can have their own work commented on.  It would also include a large number of potential participants and would meet NIH’s need for something unambiguous.  Unfortunately it would leave out many people who could add valuable input, including many graduate students, patient advocates, and science journalists.  I’m a little worried about this restriction, as I want to make the system open to as many users as possible. But hopefully that is a pretty wide net, and it may be widened further in the future.  And a group commenting feature to be described below could help improve inclusiveness.

Anonymous comments allowed?

One big issue that we have faced was the question of whether anonymous comments should be allowed. After much discussion, the group remained deeply split on this issue.  Those wanting anonymous posts were concerned that many scientists, especially junior researchers, would be reluctant to make critical comments.  But those opposed to anonymous comments believed that the quality of interchange would be higher if commenters were required to identify themselves.  In the end, these differences weren’t really resolved and the decision was to start without anonymous comments and re-evaluate after the system had been fully public for a while.  While debating this issue various proposals were put on the table for ways to allow participants to review and essentially sponsor the anonymous post of another participant. 

Group comments

Gary Ward, an active member of the lead user group, was very keen on using PubMed Commons to post comments from a journal club for a class he participates in  at  the University of Vermont. He proposed that there should be some way for PubMed Commons to accommodate comments posted by a group.  David Lipman noted that group comments would also be a way to allow participation by a wider range of commenters:  A group could be initiated by a regular PubMed Commons participant (i.e. was an author of a paper indexed in PubMed), giving it a title, short description, and list of participants and then posting comments on their behalf.  While a group comment could be submitted by a particular group member, in many cases, they would reflect the consensus of the group and such collective comments  could  be quite valuable.

PubMed Commons is here!

The NCBI team developed a working version of PubMed Commons earlier this summer and I posted the first comment in the closed pilot on June 17.  Since then the user group has noted bugs and made a number of requests for modifications.  Jonathan Dugan of PLOS labs pulled together members of the publishing world for strategic advice, and has provided many valuable suggestions about the design of the system.  Hilda Bastian,  the editor of PubMed Health and a blogger at Scientific American rallied the community’s science bloggers to help get the word out.The current system is pretty simple – after registering you’ll see the PubMed Commons landing page which has all the most recent comments and links for information on how to use the system.  When you’re signed in you’ll see below each PubMed record  a box for posting comments or replies to existing comments as well as a place to indicate that an existing comment or reply was useful.  There are instructions for how to specify simply formatting of a comment and if you cite another PubMed record in your comment, there are links back from that cited paper to your comment.

We believe the system is now ready for a wider range of participants.  If you’ve been funded by an NIH Extramural grant (or in the NIH Intramural program), NIH has the information it needs to get you into PubMed Commons automatically.  Once you’re a registered participant, you can invite other published scientists to join.  NCBI is investigating ways to open Commons up directly and automatically to more groups of published scientists but if new participants invite their colleagues, the network effect could broaden membership and expand participation dramatically.

The system will still be in a closed pilot mode where only registered participants can see the posted comments but NIH leadership will be evaluating the closed pilot with the hope of making all comments visible to all users of PubMed. All comments are covered by Creative Commons Attribution license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ ) and if the decision is to make the system fully public, NCBI will provide an API so that other groups (e.g. publishers or other information resources) can make these comments useful to the community.

PubMed Commons was released for broad use on October 22, 2013

See the PubMed Commons Landing page

I am very excited by this initiative, and hope it can improve the quality of scientific interchange the community.

Rob Tibshirani, Stanford University

tibs@stanford.edu

http://www-stat.stanford.edu/~tibs/

N.B. I found this article through this nice blog.

Source of Prof. Tob Tibshirani’s photo: Professor’s page in Stanford University.


Some important links:

The official page of PubMed Commons in the PubMed Website:

Find all PubMed Citations with comments: This search results page contains all PubMed papers that has comments. Today, 8/3/2014, the number of PubMed Papers with citations is 876. This does not reflect the total number of comments as some papers has more than one comment.

How to join PubMed Commons? Can you?

“Joining PubMed Commons: A Step-by-step Guide”

Figure 2 – PubMed Commons home page that will appear for someone who is logged in to My NCBI but who is not a PubMed Commons participant. Click the indicated link to learn how to join PubMed Commons.

Source of the photo: http://ncbiinsights.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2013/10/23/joining-pubmed-commons-a-step-by-step-guide/

PubMed Commons on Twitter: The description of this account reads, “PubMed is piloting a beta commenting system. Get involved! Follow us and we’ll keep you posted.”

The description of this account reads, “PubMed is piloting a beta commenting system. Get involved! Follow us and we'll keep you posted.”

Examples of comments:


Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23146315/#comments


Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24429058/#comments

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22147807/#comments

Finally, why am I excited?

1) In the past, I depended on the number of citations that a paper has, in order to judge how good it is. But now, I can also more reliably depend on the comments posted under the paper in PubMed.  This is important especially for newly published papers that do not yet have many citations. Moreover, this is important for papers about topics that do not bring many citations.

2) In YouTube videos, when a person reads the different comments under a video, and sees, for example, how some users are proving or disproving an argument. Consequently, the person would learn to think in a new way. By seeing how others analyze a point of view, and then how they prove or disprove it, then a person will certainly learn this skill by time. Similarly, I believe that when inexperienced individuals see how experienced researchers criticize the information mentioned in a paper, then they will start learning how to do that. They will know, for example, what to look at when reading a similar paper. Imagine this situation: You read a paper and decide to cite it in your paper. You then remember PubMed Commons and go and read the comments posted under that paper. After reading a few comments, you will get that point of:

“How did I did not notice that when I read the paper? Yes, what the comments say is logical! There are huge mistakes in the study methodology and the results are therefore unreliable. I should not cite it although it has a good number of citations. Probably, the people who cited this paper did not read these comments in the PubMed page of the paper. I wonder if they know about PubMed commons!”

Woman thinking

Source of photo: http://pixabay.com/en/woman-sad-crying-thinking-old-71735/

3) Authors will benefit too, not only be embarrassed :). Firstly, this will provide them with a feedback regarding their work so that they can avoid repeating the same mistakes in the future. In addition, I believe that authors will start paying more attention to what they publish. The situation is now not like in the past and many people can in minutes expose to the whole world the mistakes in their lousy work.

4) I expect that experienced people do not have time to go through the lengthy process of sending a “letter to the editor.” I believe that the lag of time between sending the letter and the time for a reply will decrease enthusiasm. In addition, I believe that there is a limit to the number of “letters to the editor” that a journal will publish. Online comments can solve all of this.

That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind

Source: http://quotes-lover.com/wp-content/uploads/Thats-one-small-step-for-man-one-giant-leap-for-mankind.jpg

To sum up, I am really very excited about the implications of this “small step” on research and researchers worldwide. The scientific community should have thought of allowing comments on papers  since a long time ago. Nevertheless, as the maxim says, “Better late than never!”

Prof. Jean Decety in Amman and an interesting Lecture about the Neurobiological Mechanisms of Empathy and Caring for Others

I had the honor of attending a lecture by a French American Professor called Jean Decety from the University of Chicago. The lecture took place in the building of the Jordan Society of Scientific Research (JSSR) in Amman on Wednesday, 11/09/2013 (If you want to keep updated with the activities of the JSSR, here is a link to their facebook page). The title of the lecture of Prof. Decety was:

 الآليات العصبية الحيوية التي تشكل الأساس للتعاطف و الاهتمام بالآخرين لدى الإنسان 
Neurobiological Mechanisms of Empathy and Caring for Others

The topic of the lecture seemed strange to me. For minutes, I thought of not attending this lecture. Firstly, I could not imagine about what this lecture would be. Secondly, I did not know how important Prof. Decety is. Nonetheless, because I trusted my friend who recommended this lecture for me (Thank you Dr. Ali Alfar) and because I am interested in psychiatry my possible future specialty, then I googled the name of Prof. Decety. Quickly, I discovered that there is a detailed Wikipedia page about Prof. Decety. Can anyone have a detailed wikipedia page? I also found multiple articles mentioning him. Therefore, I decided quickly to attend because I thought that I would benefit something from this lecture no matter how boring the topic turned out to be.

A friend of mine and I decided to go to this lecture. My friend is also interested in psychiatry. We arrived a few minutes before the lecture started. Prof. Decety then arrived. From the first few minutes, I could deduce that he is a jolly person, funny, and to my relive, that I would not bored by the “weird” lecture that was to come.

The lecture started. A Dr. Rana Dajani introduced Prof. Decety. I understood that Dr. Dajani and Prof. Decety conducted are conducting researches together.

The lecture started with Prof. Decety talking a little bit about his family (From my short experience in attending conferences, this is something usual with western doctors). Prof. Decety explained briefly about the research center in which he works “The University of Chicago Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab (SCNL).” Prof. Decety is the head of this center. This information really impressed me because Prof. Decety is French. He had his Bachelor degree, three master degrees, and PhD in France [1]. Nonetheless, Prof. Decety’s un-American origin did not prevent the University of Chicago from appointing him as a head of a research center as important as the SCNL. What matters are qualifications! This reminded me of multiple articles that spoke about how the USA attracts scientists from all over the world. Why would not it? Is not the story of Prof. Decety an excellent example why this occurs?

As the topic of the lecture became more and more clear to me, I started enjoying the multiple researches about which Prof. Decety spoke. I was impressed a lot with a sentence that Prof. Decety used to describe himself: “I am an Evolutionary Psychologist.” I have never heard about a branch of science with that name. However, it was not hard for me to expect what this branch of study is about: Explaining pychology in view of evolution! [Here is a wikipedia article about Evolutionary Psychology]! This is very amazing! I love evolution and I think it is very logical to use it to explain biology. It turned out that it can also explain “psychology”… Those atheistic infidels!

Prof. Jean Decety, with active use of body language, answering the audience questions.

Prof. Jean Decety, with active use of body language, answering the audience questions.

Prof. Jean Decety, with active use of body language, answering the audience questions.

From the very first minutes of the lecture, Prof. Decety mentioned the “taboo” of evolution. An attending student raised his hand and asked a question that initially appeared to be related to the lecture’s topic. Nonetheless, because I come from this society, I knew from the beginning that it was a matter of the speaker wanting to prove that evolution is wrong. The questions did not stop and were more and more indirectly revolving about the correctness of Evolution. It is really a pity that many of the people around me still discuss whether evolution is correct or not! The world is way ahead of us. I do not think that this should be a topic of discussion anymore. The debate increased and another student joined. It was then consuming a lot of time that Dr. Dajani finally intervened and said (something like): “The discussion is now about Evolution and it will not end! Evolution is compatible with religion. Some think that it is not. Here at the society we will have a lecture that shows the compatibility of evolution with religion. Let us continue the lecture.” The lecture finally resumed!

Religious explanations are so wide! I really do not understand how accepting evolution contradicts the belief in God! // Source: religifake.com

Religious explanations are so wide! I really do not understand how accepting evolution contradicts the belief in God! // Source: religifake.com

Prof. Decety then explained about multiple studies. Of interest, Prof. Decety talked about the findings that the hormone oxytocin increased empathy. Prof. Decety then suggested jokingly, but also, almost seriously as of someone really concerned:

"Some studies show that the hormone oxytocin increase empathy in human beings" Prof. Jean Decety, the University of Chicago.

“Some studies show that the hormone oxytocin increase empathy in human beings” Prof. Jean Decety, the University of Chicago.

I did not feel the time pass before the lecture ended. At his last slide, Prof. Decety had put the links of the facebook pages of his two lab: The SCNL and the Child Neuro Suite. He asked if we could like it (The link for the SCNL is here and the link to the Child Neuro Suite is here). Next, the audience asked some questions and Prof. Decety happily answered them.

Next, I smiled a lot when I saw Prof. Decety holding a camera. What made me smile was that Prof. Decety was more interested to take photos more than the audience members who wanted to be photographed with him. When I saw the situation like this, I happily asked my friend [Thank you Dr. Fadi Walid Farah] to take a photo of me with Prof. Decety. Here I am now publishing it proudly (I hope that Prof. Decety does not mind that).

Jameel Hijazeen with Prof. Jean Decety, Amman, Jordan, September, 2013

[1] Jean Decety, Wikipedia, www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Decety

How do you qualify to be an author in a Medical Research? ما هي المعايير التي تؤهلك لكل تصبح مؤلف في بحث علمي

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!

Scientific Research in the Arab World: Reality or fiction?

imageLast year, during the period from June 26-30, I attended the 25th conference of NAAMA (National Arab American Medical Association) in Le Meridien Hotel in Amman. During the conference, I heard many Arab American doctors stressing the importance of Medical Research for medical students who want to pursuit their higher studies in the USA and other western countries.

Because of how much this subject was stressed, I went back to my faculty with the goal of starting a research in whatever field of medicine. I set up this goal only to be later on shocked by how unrealistic is such a goal!

Frankly speaking, my university curriculum does not require students neither to prepare nor to publish any medical research as part of their undergraduate studies. In the USA, on the other hand, it is a different story. Dr. Wael K. Al-Delaimy, an Iraqi-American professor told me during the same conference:

Dr. Wael K. Al-Delaimy

Dr. Wael K. Al-Delaimy

“In contrary to the situation in our Arab countries, before graduating, US students are required to prepare at least one research”

The above sad fact is the most important obstacle that faced me. Firstly, I will find hardship in finding a professor that will be available solely for the aim of helping me in doing a research. Secondly, the huge time that any student will spend in doing a research would not be compensated with marks. Certainly, this will affect the university marks of the students who will be subtracting time from studying their university curriculum and investing it in a research.

Dr. Aiman Hamdan, a Jordan Unviersity of Science and Technology graduate (second batch), who is now a cardiologist in the United States and certified with seven boards, had the following to say regarding this sad fact:

Dr. Aiman Hamdan

Dr. Aiman Hamdan

“During my University years in JUST, if my father knew that I am doing a research and not studying to get high marks, he would have KILLED me!”

Source: Dr. Aiman Hamdan said the above comment in a lecture he gave –with other Arab-American doctors- about studying in the USA in King Abdullah University Hospital in Irbid in June 2011 as part of the activities of NAAMA’s 25th conference.

Despite the hardship mentioned above, I enrolled in two researches; lucky me!

image“Finally,” I happily thought, “I will be doing what students in developed country are doing!”.  “But could this be a reality? Is that possible?” I found hardship in accepting this very happy piece of news. But at the end… Why should I not hope? How are students in Harvard university better than me?[3]

I felt like I was finally going to achieve something! I will not only be graduating with a certificate, but also, having mastered how to prepare and publish a research! I felt too proud of the notion of having my name on a published research in a medical journal. Can you imagine how important is this achievement?

imageMy happiness did not last long. The first research ended because we discovered that we were collecting “useless” data that no conclusions can be drawn from it [Update 09.04.2012: This was a wrong conclusion. Things went differently than I and my colleagues calculated… It is one of the times in which you are happy when your calculations turn out to be wrong! Read more!]

The second reserach was very succesfful. However, due to deduction of the amount of credit our supervising doctors will get from including us in the publication, I refused to be included in the publication “initially”. Still, the supervising doctor refused but to include us in the publication. “I have an enlightening plan!” The doctor said. “I came back from abroad with a main aim of letting you do what I was taught abroad”. Truthfully, this doctor is sacrificying a lot by including us in the publication. What he is doing would be normal where he studied abroad, but is the situation the same here in the Arab world? Do universities in the arab wrold care about scientific research? Do our universities provides incentives to both doctors and students to do scientific research?

Frankly speaking, it seems that we have a problem… a big problem… How did I come up with this conclusion? But most importantly, who is responsible?

image

Every year, a report is published on the Academic ranking of World Universities (ARWU), commonly known as the Shanghai ranking. During the year 2011, the following statistics came out:

Universities that have been included in the top 500 world universities on the Shanghai ranking 2011:

Arab Universities[1]

Israeli Universities[2]

A. King Saud University (201-300)B. King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (301-400)C. Cairo University (401-500) A. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (57)B. Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (102-150)C. Tel Aviv University (102-150)

D. Weizmann Institute of Science (102-150)

E. Bar-Ilan University (301-400)

F. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (301-400)

G. University of Haifa (401-500)

Total: 3 universities Total: 7 universities
Arab countries v.s. Israel

Arab countries v.s. Israel

To summarize the above table:
Israel, a country with less than 8 million people, has 7 universities among the top 500 universities in the world. While 22 Arab countries with 355 million people, have only 3 universities in the same list!

Finally, and again and again, the first step in solving any problem is to recognize its existence in the first place. Is there a problem in our universities in the Arab world? It is left to your judgment!

So… I belive it is too unfair to attribute the problem to a single doctor, a single university, or a single country! As you can read above, it is a problem of…

[1] “KSU ranked leading arab university by shanghai world rankings”, King Saud University, http://enews.ksu.edu.sa/2011/08/20/ksu-shanghai-world-ranking, retrieved: 05.02.2012

[2] Reuveni, R. “Israel’s Universities are among the 500 top universities in the world” http://thejewishpeopleandisrael-beesting.blogspot.com/2011/09/israels-universities-are-among-500-top.html, retrieved: 05.02.2011

[3] According to 2011 Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities, the world ranking of Harvard university is “1”!

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