Latin American markets show robust growth for pharmaceutical industries

The growth in pharmaceutical sales was forecasted at just 3% in the developed world for 2017: North America, Europe, and Japan. Emerging markets were far more promising in driving robust pharmaceutical sales. In general, growth was robust in Latin America and Asia. They have witnessed a growth of 14% on an average from the period extending from 2008–2012.  For emerging markets, research analysts believe that the growth in pharmaceutical sales would be sustained at 12% in 2017.

Latin America: A major emerging market with sustainable growth in sales for the pharmaceutical industry

People in Latin America today consider healthcare beyond the basic essentials. This is because income levels have increased proportionately due to the following reasons: rapid urbanization, improved education levels, and higher women workforce in the organized sector.

Latin America is far more promising than Asia given the growth of middle class from 2002 to 2009. During this period, the middle class population increased by 60 million and 49 million in Latin America and Asia, respectively.

Factors that will ensure robust pharmaceutical sales in Latin America

1) Generics: Given the rapid urbanization and increased income growth of middle class, consumption patterns is something to watch out for: the demand for generics has increased consistently in this region. This is because Latin American governments have made concerted efforts to provide healthcare medications with economical pricing. Consequently, the access to healthcare facilities has increased.

Regardless of the penetration of multinational companies, the popularity of generic drugs produced by local manufacturing companies is increasing with each passing day. This is perhaps the biggest factor driving robust sales of pharmaceutical industry in Latin America. These local companies produce both branded and private labels, which are then dispersed through pharmacy outlets. In terms of pricing, generics are sold at 70% lesser costs as compared to patented medications. Therefore, local manufacturing units are witnessing a stupendous growth of 28% annually.

2) Pharmacy distribution pattern: There has been an overhaul in the distribution of drugs through pharmacies. Quite a few pharmacies have consolidated into groups, and medications are also available today in retail/supermarkets throughout Latin America. Independent pharmacies have become less in number.

Thanks to consolidation, there are fewer distributors today in the retail segment of pharmaceuticals. Nevertheless, they are making whopping gross revenue, at least by dispending prescribed drugs and over-the-counter medications. For the local manufacturing industry, the sales process has now been smoother and dependency for growth has now been restricted to fewer retailers. Consequences of these trends are as follows:

  • Product suppliers seemed to have lost their longstanding practices of monopolization. Erstwhile, the marketplace contained many individual pharmacies and so the price-cap was soared artificially due to middle-men trading. Today, the negotiations occur directly between retailers and manufacturers; therefore, the prospect of suppliers is declining continuously following consolidation trends.
  • Wholesale market of drugs is shrinking thanks to the proliferation of pharmacy chains throughout Latin America. Given the clout of pharmacy retailers, the price-cap has reduced and the wholesale to retail market transition has almost vanished.

3) Private healthcare: With higher purchasing power, Latin America is poised to show promising growth in private healthcare system. Not only has the number of private health insurance providers boomed but also the number of private hospitals and clinics.

The growing middle class prefers these facilities over government ones. Consequently, the demand for medical devices and surgical equipment has been increasing continuously. In other words, sales growth for medical device manufacturers has witnessed an upward trend.

Market summary of Latin American countries

Although the growth of pharmaceuticals is promising throughout the Latin American region, robustness differs: Brazil is the country that spends maximum in the healthcare sector. In fact, almost 43% of sales in the Latin American market hail from Brazil for the period ranging from 2013 to 2017.

Most market analysts believed that Brazil was the fifth largest market for pharmaceutical sales in 2016. Mexico is another country with robust pharmaceutical growth following Brazil. Although Colombia and Peru have witnessed high growth in pharmaceutical industry, small base in this country limits the total revenue when compared to Brazil. In totality, Chile is the country whose pharmaceutical sector is more organized and well-established than Peru and Colombia.

Chile has also witnessed a stable growth over the past few years. On the other hand, Argentina and Venezuela are countries facing economic instability and soaring inflation. This has impacted the growth of pharmaceutical sales in these countries and the picture is grimmer in these countries.

Conclusion: In the Latin American market, Brazil and Mexico are the key players with strong pharmaceutical growth and development. Results are also promising from Colombia and Peru, where pharmaceutical expansion is driving growth.

 

South Korean Scientists propagate basic science to the government following political overhaul

In South Korea, 10th March 2017 was a remarkable day for justice. President Park Geun-hye was impeached from power after being convicted in million dollar frauds. Science policymakers rejoiced along with many people on the street.

Following her impeachment, South Korea government is now implementing many reforms in its policies so as to include people’s viewpoint in science policy framework. The focus is now slowly shifting from applied sciences to basic sciences, and researchers are glad about this change in science policy.

Although the current administration has not yet rolled out an official change in science policy, researchers are making concerted efforts in putting across their views. At the Institute of Basic Science (IBS), the President stated that government would increase resource allocation to basic sciences.

South Korea scientists have strongly propagated that basic science should be encouraged to be at par with other scientifically advanced nations. To substantiate their viewpoint, they have cited a recent scientific event: Google’s DeepMind developed AlphaGo, an artificial intelligence program in London; this program superseded world-famous grandmaster Lee Sedol at an exhibition match of Go, the ancient board game.

With this shocking loss, South Koreans became wary of technological progress made by other countries in artificial intelligence and machine learning.  These innovative “smart” technologies are going drive the fourth industrial revolution in the world.

At this juncture, erstwhile President Park announced that it would launch an ambitious project on artificial intelligence worth 860 million USD in partnership with other Korean conglomerates: Samsung, LG, Hyundai, and Naver (The Korean internet giant). However, many scientists were of the view that this would not be beneficial for innovation incubation in South Korea as the government merely proposed to further develop a technology that originated elsewhere.

According to the President of the Institute of Basic Science, the fourth industrial would be driven by basic science: mathematics, algorithms, and computer science.

In terms of science resources, South Korea is among the top countries of the world as the government allocates about 4% of its GDP for research and development. However, the science policy framework supports applied research to a large extent since 1960s.

In other words, federal grants are easily available to research institutes that have industrial partners. At the same time, institutes of basic science were given second class treatment and received a humble pie of the total funds.

Sang-Mook Lee, a noted geophysicist worked at Seoul National University and regularly criticized the erstwhile government headed by Park Geun-hye for its corrupt practices in science expenditure.

Lee gave testimony in 2014 to the parliament and stated that research ships manufactured by South Korea should be used for basic science and not for digging minerals from deep sea. Lee exhorted the erstwhile Park government to recall the promises they made to the public of Korea on science and technology.

The lady President had promised to increase the government’s resource allocation to basic science from the 35.2% in 2012 to 40% in 2017. Moreover, she had promised to create a separate science department for nurturing start-ups and technological innovation. However, the government only paid lip service to basic science and invested all resources in applied research.

Without depending much on government funding, South Korean scientists are now trying to engage resources on their own for basic sciences. For example, a crowdfunding project launched in South Korea was able to garner 15 million won (13,300 USD); this main objective of this project was to understand health issues of transgender community in South Korea. This project received much more than required, almost double the amount. This is a trend in itself given that projects with minimal economic viability do not really get sufficient funding.

The funding platform was launched by ESL (Engineers and Scientists for Change).  Crowdfunding is launched by this organization for projects aimed at social progress and sustainability. This group has planned channels to gain funding in such a way that they are bound to powerful corporates or political parties.

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South Korea: world’s only country that invests big time into scientific research

South Korea is an advanced country that invests heavily into scientific research studies, with the hope of bagging Nobel Prize some day for their work. The results are already showing as South Korea overtakes China and USA in terms of GDP spend on scientific research: Concerted efforts have been made by industry experts into thriving basic scientific research. More than 4% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is spent on Scientific Research. This indicates that it spends double the amount spent by China and European Union. Thus, it is the country that spent the most on scientific research.

Although there have been many successful ventures between the government and industry in South Korea, about 75% of grants for R & D are attributed to industry while the remaining 23% is provided by the government. About 2% of grants are obtained from other sources. The experimental research industry is worth 38.4 billion USD, whereas resources allocated to basic and applied research is almost similar at 10.6 billion USD and 11.5 billion USD, respectively.

How is the experimental industry functioning in South Korea?

In an ordinary building in Daejeon, one would never imagine a sophisticated lab conducting an advanced experiment, but that is the true picture of science in South Korea. Although the first floor of this building is still being renovated and developed into a lab space, there is a secret pit into the basement. In the basement, a sophisticated lab is developed for research experiments. What catches my attention is a cylindrical apparatus made from precious metals, copper and gold.

Young researchers are building a prototype to understand axion-the particle believed to be a principle component of dark matter. The main objective of these researchers is to solve the mystery of Universe and how human life originated on Earth. In South Korea’s leading university of science and technology, physicists are offered 7.6 million USD per year as federal grant. The university is none other than KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology). What’s out-of-box here is the risk aspect of the project, because the existence of axions has not been proved yet, let alone its association with dark matter.

At a time when “March for Science” has been carried out in the United States, the encouragement received by the South Korean Government is truly appreciative. To encourage advanced research experiments in basic sciences, President Park Geun-Hye announced that it would increase funding for basic science by 36% in 2018. In the year 2017, South Korean government made concerted efforts, making its expenditure on science equivalent to 5% of GDP.

South Korea is making immense in achieving its ambitions in scientific and technology

Although many science policy makers and some renowned scientists say that it won’t be possible to sustain such generous spending on science amid a looming economic crisis, optimistic results are not too far away—Only 11 Korean students stayed back in the USA after receiving their PhD degrees in science and technology in 2008 from an American university; this data was released by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2014.

South Korean government’s policy makers are trying to drive hard basic science amidst its stupendous progress in industrial applications involving science and technology: South Korea is world leader in the manufacture of smartphones and semiconductors; their quality standards are high and they offer products at an economical value. Thanks to South Korean conglomerates LG and SamSung, the country has filed 4590.92 patent applications in 2014; this figure far exceeds Japan, the closest contender with 3659.39 patent applications. The US stands a distant fourth at 1611.20.

In terms of proportion of researchers, South Korea is just slightly less than the Scandinavian countries (Finland, Denmark, Sweden). As per employment statistics in 2013, there are 12.84 researchers per 1000 people in South Korea. Its closest contender Japan stands at 12.84, while USA is far behind at 8.81 researchers per 1000 people. Since 2005, its publication output has more than doubled and today it is has overtaken Spain in terms of volume; however, Japan still leads the race in terms of publication output. Most South Korean scientists publish papers in chemistry, physics, engineering, and life sciences.

Final verdict for success: partnerships between industry and academia

In Research & Development industry, South Korea has received maximum funding from its corporate giants: Samsung, LG, and Hyundai. As per the latest data released by the government, 63.7 trillion won (South Korean currency) was spent on R & D. More than 2/3rd of these resources were provided by industry, with estimated funding being as high as 49.2 trillion won. Although there is a steady rise of partnership between industry and academia for R & D ventures, most research facilities set up by industries are clandestine. That’s why the secretive, yet sophisticated laboratory in the basement of ordinary building seems a normal scene in South Korea.

 

 

 

Guidelines for writing an abstract with brevity

Abstract: It summarizes the entire manuscript in 250 words. It stands independently and most researchers refer the abstract for referencing the manuscript. A well-written abstract increases the chances of publication and boosts the impact factor.

Regardless of the manuscript type, an abstract has the following four sections

  • Study objective or Background
  • Study design and methods
  • Primary results
  • Principal Conclusions

Guidelines for Writing Abstracts of Original Data Manuscripts: Randomized Controlled Trial, Cross Over Trial, Cohort Study, Case-Control Study, Case Series, and Cross Sectional Study

Study objective and Background

  1. Context (Background): It summarizes the rationale of the study, providing the clinical reason for the study question (hypothesis). Just a sentence or two is sufficient
  2. Objective: The precise objective must be stated. If more than 1 objective is addressed, clearly mention the main objective; the secondary objectives need only a mention.

Example: The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of centamab combined with dinplatin/daxine as a first-line treatment in patients with unresectable/metastatic gastric or gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma.

Methods:

Study design is the first component of methods section: Name the study design and the duration of follow-up period

  • Intervention studies: randomized control trial; nonrandomized controlled trial; double-blind; placebo controlled; crossover trial; before-after trial
  • Studies involving screening and diagnostic tests: criterion standard is a widely accepted standard with which a new or alternative test is being compared, so it is called as the gold standard. This must be mentioned clearly. There may be studies with blinded or masked comparison.
  • For studies of prognosis: inception cohort (subjects assembled at a similar or early time in the course of disorder and followed thereafter); cohort (subjects observed forward in time, but not necessarily from a common starting point); validation cohort or validation sample if the study involves the modeling of clinical predictions
  • For studies of causation: randomized control trial; cohort; case-control; survey that is also known as cross-sectional study
  • For description of the clinical features of medical disorders: survey; case-series
  • For studies that involve formal economical evaluation: cost-effective analysis; cost-utility analysis; cost-benefit analysis

For new analyses of existing data sets, the data set should be named and the basic study design should be disclosed.

Example: Female patients with intestinal bowel syndrome and diarrhea were enrolled in a randomized, open-label study to evaluate the healthcare resource use, quality of life, and productivity following treatment with honctomycin versus traditional therapy for 24 weeks.

  1. Setting is the second component of Methods section: Study setting must be mentioned. Some of the commonly used study settings are as follows: general community, a primary care or referral center, private or institutional practice, or ambulatory or hospitalized care.
  2. Patients or Other Participants: It is the third component of the Methods Section–The clinical disorders, important eligibility criteria, and key sociodemographic features of patients must be stated.
  • Mention the number of participants
  • The criteria used to select the participants
  • Eligible subjects who refused to participate must also be mentioned
  • To do matching for group comparison (experimental and control group characteristics)

Matching characteristics must be specified

For the follow-up studies

Mention the proportion of patients completing the follow-up period.

For intervention studies

Mention the patients who withdrew due to adverse reaction

Selection procedure terms that are commonly used are as follows: random sample, population-based sample, referred sample, consecutive sample, volunteer sample, convenience sample.

Selection procedure terms indicate the generalizability of study

Intervention: Mention the method and duration of administration. Common clinical name and common synonyms must be mentioned. In case of a drug, the brand name may also be provided.

Example: We randomly assigned 525 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee to receive azumumab (administered at a dose of 10, 25, 50, 100, or 200 µg per kilogram of body weight) or placebo on days 1 and 56.

Main outcome Measures: The primary study outcome measurement(s) should be indicated; these were decided before collecting study data. In case of studies that do not emphasize on planned study outcomes, we need to mention this observation and the associated reason. In case the hypothesis is formulated during or after data collection, then this piece of information must be clearly mentioned.

Example (In a study of neoadjuvant endocrine therapy for breast cancer):The primary endpoint will be clinical response rate, as measured by calipers. Secondary endpoints include pathologic complete response rate, breast conserving rate, change in Ki67 expression, breast density change, and toxicity profile.

Example summarizing 4 , 5, and 6

This randomized-controlled pilot study was conducted at 19 acute stroke and rehabilitation centers. Forty-seven ischemic stroke patients with at least leg motor weakness admitted within 24 hours of onset were randomly assigned to receive continuous intravenous infusions of edavorone (30 mg) twice daily for 3 days (short-term group) or 10-14 days (long term group)

 Results

Mention the main results of the study, including the ones requiring explanation for the expected audience. As the results are meant to be indexed in electronic format, TABLE FORMAT IS NOT USED for presentation.

Blinding of observers included in patient groups must be mentioned for subjective measurements.

A subjective measurement depends on the observers’ perspective therefore the blindness of the study subject is critical for non-biased decision, for example, evaluation or staging of radiological (such as CT or MR) exam results by a pathologist.

Mention the confidence interval and exact level of statistical significance as appropriate. In comparative studies, confidence interval relates to differences among groups. When there are nonsignificant differences in the major study outcome measures, mention the clinically important difference. Moreover, the confidence interval for the difference between the groups must be mentioned.

In case of risk and effect sizes, absolute values must only be reported. The reader can assess the relative value of the finding.

Reporting of relative differences in inappropriate.

In case of screening and diagnostic tests, mention the “sensitivity”, “specificity,” and “likelihood ratio”

If you mention predictive values or accuracy, then you also need to mention prevalence or pretest likelihood.

DO NOT REPORT ANY DATA THAT DOES NOT APPEAR IN THE MAIN MANUSCRIPT.

Example:

The primary efficacy outcome occurred in 26 of 1502 patients (1.8%) in the group receiving huckdamycin and 44 of 1500 patients (3.0%) in the placebo group. The incidence of each component of the primary efficacy outcome was significantly reduced in the huckdamycin group as compared with the placebo group, except for the outcome of death (0.1% in both groups). The rate of pulmonary embolism or deep-vein thrombosis was 85% lower in the huckdamycin group than in the placebo group (0.2% vs 1.3%; 95% CI, 50 to 95; P < 0.001). Similar risk reductions were observed at day 77. Major bleeding occurred in one patient in each group. The incidence of serious adverse events was 0.7% with huckdamycin and 1.1% with placebo.

Conclusions

Mention only those conclusions that have been supported by evidence in the manuscript. Mention their clinical application and also indicate whether additional studies must be conducted before using this information in actual clinical practice.

Both positive and negative findings have to be reported with equal importance.

General: For facilitating electronic search, phrases may be used instead of complete sentence where technical keywords are involved.

For example: Design: Double-blind randomized trial

And NOT

Design: The study was conducted as a double-blinded, randomized trial.

Example

Despite numerous case series and reports of secondary gastrointestinal adenocarcinoma in carcinoid patients, in this retrospective case controlled series, there appears to be no difference in rates of adenomatous polyps, advanced adenomas, or adenocarcinoma in small intestinal and colorectal carcinoid patients compared to a control population. These findings advocate average risk of colorectal cancer in carcinoid patients.

 

 

 

 

The art of writing a good manuscript in biomedical sciences: points to consider

In a peer-reviewed biomedical journal, most papers generally consists of the following sections: Abstract, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion. In this article, we give you essential tips on writing a biomedical manuscript of high quality.

Abstract

The structure of the abstract should be such that it enables the reader to assess the study hypothesis and methods quickly and easily.

  • The context for research question and the hypothesis (objective) should be clearly stated (For example, To determine whether enalapril reduces left ventricular mass……..)
  • Methods: Mention clearly the study design (randomized control trial, crossover trial, cohort study, etc.), the population (diabetic patients, epileptic patients, asthma patients, etc….), and setting from which the sample was drawn. A basic explanation of statistical analyses ( For example, The screening test was validated using a bootstrap procedure and performance tested using an ROC curve)
  • Mention the main outcome (prognosis) of the study
  • Results: Some explanation of the effect size, if appropriate, with point estimates and confidence intervals to describe the results
  • Conclusion: There should be no over interpretation of the data

Introduction

  • A concise review of the relevant literature to provide the context for the study question and a rationale for the choice of a particular method
  • The study hypothesis must be clearly stated in the last sentence before the methods section
  • No results and conclusions must be presented in this section

Methods

This section should enough information to enable a knowledgeable reader to reproduce the study and verify the results with the reported data. Components should include as many of the following as are possible parameters

  • Study Design (Refer Types of Study Design)
  • Year(s) and (month if appropriate) in which the study was conducted
  • Disease or condition to be studied–how was it defined?
  • Setting in which subjects were studied (community based, referral population, primary care clinic, volunteers)
  • Subjects studied–who was eligible; inclusion and exclusion criteria. If all the subjects were not included in the analysis, reasons for exclusion; information consent and institutional review board approval when appropriate. If results for any of the subjects have been previously described, provide citations for all reports or ensure that different reports of the same study can readily be identified (eg, by using a unique study name)
  • Intervention, including the length of intervention and enough information to allow a knowledgeable reader to reproduce the intervention, or define the exposure adequately to allow comparison of different studies.
  • Outcomes and how they were measured, including reliability of measures and whether investigators determining outcomes were blinded to which groups received the intervention or underwent the exposure.
  • Independent variables and how they were measured–for example, demographic variables and risk factors for the disease.
  • Preliminary analysis: if the current study is a preliminary analysis of an ongoing study, then the reason for publishing data before the end of study should be clearly stated along with information about when the study is to be completed.
  • Source to obtain original or additional data if somewhere other than from the authors. For example, data tapes are often used from the US government; the source should be stated. The National Auxiliary Publications Service (NAPS) and the World Wide Web can be used to store or display data or information that could not be included in the manuscript. The source may also listed in the acknowledgment.
  • Statistical methods, including which procedures were used for which analyses, what level was considered acceptable, power of the study (if calculated before the study was conducted), assumptions made, any data transformation, multiple comparison procedures performed, steps used for developing a model in multivariate analysis, and pertinent references for statistical tests and types of software used. Results should be presented in terms of confidence intervals wherever possible.
  • If the study has been registered in a central trial registry, the name of the registry and the trial number should be provided.

Power:  ability to detect a significant difference with the use of a given sample size and variance; determined by frequency of the condition under study, magnitude of the effect, study design, and sample size. Power should be calculated before a study is begun. If the sample is too small to have a reasonable chance (usually 80% or 90%) of rejecting the null hypothesis for a true difference, then a negative result may indicate a type II error rather than a true acceptance of the null hypothesis.

Power calculations are important to perform when designing a study; a statement providing the power of the study should be included in the methods section of all randomized controlled trials and it is appropriate for many types of studies.

A power statement is especially important if the study results are negative to demonstrate that a type II error was not the reason for the negative result. Performing a post hoc power analysis is controversial, especially if it is based on the study results, but if included, it should be placed in the discussion section and the fact that it was performed post hoc must be stated clearly.

Example: We determined that a sample size of 800 patients would have 80% power to detect the clinically important difference of 10% at   = 0.05

Multiple comparison procedures: any of several tests used to determine which groups differ significantly after another. A number of general tests has identified that a significant difference exists but not between which groups. These tests are tended to avoid the problem of type I error caused by sequentially applying tests as the t test not intended for repeated use.

Some test result in more conservative estimates (less likely to be significant) than others. More conservative tests include the Tukey test and the Bonferroni adjustment; the Duncan-multiple range test is less conservative. Other tests include the Scheffe test, the Newman-Keuls test, and the Gabriel test.

Type 1 error: data demonstrating a statistically significant result, although no true association or difference exists in the population. The  level is the size of a type I error that will be permitted, usually. .05

A frequent cause of a type I error is performing multiple comparisons, which increase the likelihood that a significant result will be found by chance. To avoid a type I error, one of several multiple comparisons procedures can be used.

Bonferroni adjustment: statistical adjustment applied when multiple comparisons are made. The  level (usually 0.05) is divided by the number of comparisons to determine the  level that will be considered statistically significant. Thus, if 10 comparisons are made, and  of 0.05 would become  = 0.005 for the study. Alternatively, the P value may be multiplied by the number of comparisons, while retaining the  of 0.05. For example, a P value of 0.02 obtained for 1 to 10 comparisons would be multiplied by 10 to get the final results of P = 0.20, a nonsignficant result.

The Bonferroni test is a conservative adjustment for large numbers of comparisons (i.e. less likely than other methods to give a significant result) but is simple and used frequently.

Duncan-multiple range test: modified form of the Neuman-Keuls test for multiple comparison

Newman-Keuls test: type of multiple comparisons procedure used to compare more than 2 groups; the first thing is to compare the 2 groups that have the highest and lowest means. Then, we sequentially compare the next most extreme groups, and stop when a comparison is not significant.

Multivariate analysis: Any statistical test that deals with 1 dependent variable and at least 2 independent variables.  It may include nominal or continuous variables, but ordinal data must be converted to a nominal scale for analysis.

Compared to bivariate analysis, the multivariate analysis has three advantages:

  • It allows for investigation of the relationship between independent and dependent variables while controlling for the effects of other independent variables.
  • It allows several comparisons to be made statistically without increasing the likelihood of type I error
  • It can be used to compare how well several independent variables individually can estimate the values of the dependent variable.

Some examples of multivariate analysis are as follows: Analysis of variance, multiple (logistic or linear) regression, analysis of covariance, etc.

Results

This section must include the following

  • Number of subjects in the study at its inception
  • Statistics describing the study population
  • The Number of subjects excluded, dropped out, lost to follow-up
  • Discussion of prognosis (primary and secondary outcomes)
  • Discussion of post hoc analyses, but the content should clearly mention this analyses: it is used to generate hypothesis, NOT for testing hypothesis.
  • If one statistical test is used through the study, then mention it in the Methods Section. If more than one statistical test has been used, then they must be discussed in the Methods Section and the specific tests used must be reported along with their results in the Results Section

 

Discussion (Comment)

This section would elaborate the following

  • Whether the hypothesis was supported or refuted by the results must be elaborated
  • Study results must be interpreted in the context of published literature
  • Discuss the limitations of the study, including possible sources of bias that affect the generalization of results; they would create issues with conclusions
  • Evidence to support or refute the problems introduced by limitations
  • Implications of clinical practice
  • Specific directions for future studies
  • Conclusion should not be beyond data; it must be based on the study results and population.

 

How to select the right journal for manuscript publication

Most novice researchers find the process of academic publishing overwhelming given the strict standards of acceptance by SCI journals (about 15 to 20%). Besides writing an innovative manuscript, it is very important to select the right journal for submission. Even seasoned researchers find it difficult to select an appropriate journal for publication whenever they delve into interdisciplinary areas of scientific research. Some of the most important factors worth considering are the journal impact factor, the journal’s style guide, the scope of the journal, topics that are NOT included in the journal, disciplines that are beyond the coverage of the journal, etc.

All scientists strive to publish their work in top quality peer-reviewed journals of Elsevier, Nature, Springer, Wiley, etc. This is especially important for the growth of novice researchers and young PhD graduates as their research career entirely depends on their publication record in SCI journals. Peer review can be the most daunting task after the submission of a manuscript to a journal, but successful publication of a research work would help in dissemination of the findings of the experiments; it would invite collaborations with researchers in other university and it would increase your prospects of gaining research funding and grants. Journal selection is one of the trickiest aspects of academic publishing, which we discuss in detail in this article.

Many a times novice researchers and young graduate students submit their papers to journals whose scope does not comply with the objective of the research publication. Sometimes seasoned researchers also submit their work to an unrelated journal when they are just venturing into interdisciplinary areas of novel research topics.

Well-established researchers have the habit of submitting their work to the same journals, given their familiarity with journal editors and the peer review process of these journals. Today academic publishing is going through transformation by leaps and bounds, and experienced authors must explore the latest journals in open access publishing. Incorrect selection of journal can be a fatal error as even the best dissertation with high impact work may get rejected if the scope of the study does not align with the requirements of the journal.

The factors that need to be kept in mind for journal selection are as follows:

Explore the aims and scope of the journal: This information is normally given on the homepage of the journal’s website. Always read through the section “About the journal” to understand the content topics acceptable by the journal. Other titles that are worth considering on the journal’s website would be “Full Aims and Scope.” By browsing through this section of many journals, researchers can then pin-point which journal’s scope correctly aligns with the objective of the research study.

For example, the journal Clinical Cancer Research clearly mentions that the journal articles must have detailed laboratory procedures and animal experiments aimed at discovering novel drugs and anti-cancer molecular targets, which can be used in further clinical trials. Thus, the journal scope includes only specialized articles on oncological drug discovery. In contrast, there are journals with much scope for public audience. For example, PeerJ is a megajournal that accepts original articles from interdisciplinary fields of biomedical science.

Explore if the journal has already published articles that are closely related to your topic of research: After identifying journals whose scope and aims align completely with your topic of research study, peruse through the website of these journals to find articles that are closely related to your topic of research. You may type keywords (or title) of your research paper in the search tab of the journal’s website. Herein, the search engine would display all kinds of related papers that have been published by the journal in the past five years.

You must find at least 3-5 papers whose scope and aim is similar to your topic of research. For example, if you performed a research study on 250 diabetic patients but the related papers displayed by the journal only included 50 diabetic patients in their study, the journal may be more suitable for small-sized studies and may refrain from publishing your paper though similar papers have been published previously.

Evaluate the restrictions and limitation of a journal: Some journals do not publish case reports and systematic reviews; therefore, it is absolutely necessary to evaluate the restrictions and limitations of a journal before submitting the manuscript. Thus, even if the paper is well-written and completely compliant with the scope and aims of the journal, it may get backfired and rejected simply because it is a systematic review and not a randomized control trial.

The section “Information for Authors” must be reviewed carefully to understand the restrictions and limitations of the journal. This section is displayed on the website of all journals. Other limiting factors may be the wordcount of the article. For example, some journals publish papers whose wordcount does not exceed 4000 words. So if the author has written a lengthy paper of 6000 words, the editors would ask for substantial editing and revision of the manuscript prior to publication. Article processing fees is an important limiting factor as some top journals charge really high fees, especially in case of hybrid journals.

Evaluate the Impact Factor of the Journal: The impact factor of the journal is an important metric reflecting the overall journal quality and its reach in the academic community. The main of publication is that the paper must be read by many researchers across various countries. Although journal impact factor can never truly assess the quality of articles, it continues to remain a pertinent factor in enhancing the career of novice researchers.

For example, a novice researcher would have a brighter chance of international collaborations and research grant availability if the researcher successfully publishes a handful of papers in a high impact factor SCI journal like Science. On the other hand, an experienced researcher can publish original articles in a top Open Access journal like PeerJ, which may not have a high impact factor but it is truly authoritative in the international academic community.

 

Translation and Localization in Life Science industry

Pharmaceutical and medical device sectors today need translation and localization services for marketing and promoting their products on a global level. The demand for skilled language specialists with scientific expertise is increasing tremendously in recent times, as life science companies seek to make a foray across different countries and continents.

According to a market research survey conducted by a noted American firm, the specialized niche sector of translation and localization of life sciences was worth US$75.8 million in 2009. Moreover, translation and localization of medical devices was worth US$100.4 million. Interestingly, the European pharmaceutical translation sector was worth US$265.11 million in 2009, given that there were more than 10,000 pharmaceutical manufacturing companies. In other words, life science firms are today completely dependent on translation and localization services for overseas sales and marketing.

Language service providers (LSPs) need to have formal education in life sciences to work in this booming sector. The pharmaceutical and life science industry primarily consists of the following components: pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and clinical research. Translation and localization of life science is a very challenging field as the translated technical literature has a direct impact on the overall health of patients.

Very high accuracy levels are required in this field, and the specialized translators are trained scientists with bilingual fluency. Translators for life science products cannot be mere language specialists, who are mostly hired for translation of consumer products. The pharmaceutical and life science industry requires translation and localization for the following segments:

Pharmaceuticals:  Each drug requires documentation and packaging literature in the pharmaceutical industry. This includes information about the efficacy, side-effects, dosage, contraindications, etc. This information is critical in the sense that it is referred by doctors, nurses, and patients. For overseas sales and promotion of these drugs, translation and localization of this literature requires specialists as it is indeed a matter of life and health.

Medical devices: These are used extensively in hospitals, healthcare research centers, and laboratories. Medical devices are marketed and sold in various countries; technical documentation and literature of these medical devices has to be translated in various languages. Each word has to be precise and accurate so as to correctly convey the literature to healthcare professionals across various countries and continents. Translation and localization of medical devices has to be done by trained medical professionals as these devices are exclusively used by healthcare professionals.

Clinical research: These studies are conducted by healthcare research organizations in various countries. Nevertheless, these research studies are usually published in English journals; therefore, skilled healthcare professionals with bilingual expertise are required for translation of these clinical research studies. The findings of these studies are very important in the drug discovery process.

According to multinational companies in life sciences, the demand for translation and localization of their products is very high in Asian countries, such as China, Japan, Korea, and India. This is because the general population speaks regional languages in these countries; hence, the demand for scientifically trained translators is very high in these countries.

In other words, all the technical documentation of pharmaceutical products has to be translated from English to major Asian languages, such as Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Korea, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi, etc. Translation and localization is not just limited to drug documentation but also for clinical trials and studies as the participants are fluent in regional languages. Translation and localization of life sciences is a booming business in Asian countries.

Some of the important findings of market research study are as follows:

In life science industry, the demand for translation and localization experts with advanced scientific/medical education is increasing exponentially in European and Asian countries.

Most life science companies hire high quality translation and localization experts, so economical pricing is not the main criterion for hiring these experts.

As the 100% accuracy levels are required in this industry, it is very difficult to find high quality experts.

Most pharmaceutical and life science companies evaluate work samples of these vendors; they do not merely hire vendors with ISO certifications as they have low level of confidence in the accuracy of translators.

Life science companies hire translation vendors with the following qualities: high quality work samples, scientific/medical education, technical expertise, and high quality.

 

 

Effective Tips for Dissertation Writing

Pursuing a doctoral program in science and technology requires at least 3-4 years of rigorous work in a laboratory. A dissertation summarizes the research project that was carried out for three to four years.

Defending the dissertation is the important aspect of receiving a Ph.D. A researcher is entitled Ph.D. only after successfully defending the dissertation. It is an important landmark in the career of a researcher who can now be called an independent researcher or scientist.

Having said that, not all scientists are great wordsmith and a poorly written dissertation may be a death knell to one’s career. In fact, a researcher may not be able to receive Ph.D. if the dissertation is poorly written.

In this article, we explain steps that must be followed to write a dissertation effectively.

1. Start writing the dissertation right from the beginning of the research program: Most doctoral students tend to think that dissertation must be written at the final stage of their doctoral program.

They consider dissertation as just a scholarly paper that can be “written up” once the experimental study of their doctoral program is completed. They consider research experiments as the “real work” and scholarly communication as completely secondary.

Most doctoral students of science and technology are engrossed with work in the laboratory. They have to design the experimental study, perform complex experimental procedures, perform statistical analysis, derive results and finally present conclusion. With this rigorous work in the laboratory, most doctorate students procrastinate “dissertation writing.”

Although writing and defending thesis is the last component of a Ph.D program, science students should start writing their thesis/dissertation right from the start of their doctoral program. This is because the doctoral program extends for uptill three years and thesis must a cumulative reflection of their entire period. It is not something that can be “written up” at the fag end of the doctorate program.  

Dissertation writing rightly reflects the “art of science” as it is a skill that requires scientists to hone their skills as wordsmiths in science communications.  Every paper and presentation written from the first day of the doctoral program is important; doctorate students should start preparing their thesis from the very first day of their graduate careers.

2) Spend some time each on writing dissertation: It is essential that all doctorate students hone their skills in science writing. Therefore, science writing must be a part of your routine. There are many resources and style guides of science writing. Each doctoral student must spend some time daily reading these resources in order to get a grasp of science writing.

3) Consult your advisor throughout the process of dissertation writing: To pursue Ph.D. program successfully, it is very essential to have a rapport with the supervisor. It is essential to have an effective communication with your supervisor while pursuing your Ph.D.. This will certainly help a doctoral student in completing their dissertation in a timely manner. Most doctorate students feel afraid to show the rough draft of their thesis to the supervisor. Such an attitude can prove to be “fatal” in dissertation writing.

It is very important to communicate with the supervisor on a daily basis. Always seek advice on the progress of your work while pursuing your doctoral program. Professors and mentors would always help in different aspects of thesis writing, not just in terms of English language but also in refining the scientific aspect of this study.

If the student has a poor rapport with the supervisor, then it becomes very difficult for the student to defend their thesis at the fag end of their doctoral programs. Quite a few times, their dissertation is rejected as the supervisor is not just aware of the student’s research work right from the beginning. Following the rejection of dissertation, the student is crest-fallen as it is back to square one or ground zero for the student.

4) Students must maintain an annotated bibliography: This is a very important strategy for writing an effective dissertation. This strategy must be followed by a researcher throughout their career. Apart from compiling a conventional reference list of different papers, students must prepare an annotated bibliography that includes personal reading notes on each paper that they have read.

While writing a formal paper, a researcher must compile annotated bibliographies relevant to the topic. These may be personal reading notes obtained from several projects that serve as an interactive background for the current work in progress. Commentary, updates, and references are some of the kinds of additional writing that must be incorporated into a formal paper meant for publication in scholarly journals.

5) Students must consider “stepping stone” assignments:

Most PhD thesis of scientific disciplines contain “Introduction” and “Discussion”  sections in which previously published papers are referenced and quoted for arguments and evidences. Published papers are the resources on which the dissertation of the current study has to be based. Therefore, science students must write evaluative reports of all experiments periodically. It is important to write about failures and obstacles as they can be then included in the discussion section of the formal paper.

Apart from published papers, students may also refer to meta-analyses, literature reviews for referencing. A book review may also prove to a good resource in rare cases. New methodologies and techniques should also be evaluated periodically. All these types of scientific literature are very useful in writing a dissertation paper.

6) Attend workshops, conferences, and seminars: Students must present their research work at any relevant academic workshop, be it conference or less formal meetings of graduate students. When students make presentations at these events, they receive constructive feedback in improving the quality of the final draft of the dissertation.

Many universities hold formal meetings of students who are in similar stages of their doctoral programs. At these meetings, students discuss and review each other’s work to improve the quality of their work. It is highly recommended that students join such writing groups and workshops, wherein fellow students offer feedback and proofreading services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do researchers need ORCID account

We live in information age where everything is available at the click of a mouse and search engines are an integral part of our lives. Likewise, the world of scientific research has also undergone metamorphosis with onus shifting toward digital age. Check out the success of Google scholar, PubMed, ResearchGate, and Mendeley: the most powerful tools for researchers all over the world. Just a thought for magnitude: PubMed is the biomedical literature library that provides upto 1 million papers each year. PubMed makes medical literature available to the common man, a digital innovation of the US government.

With digital nature of publications, information science has also undergone metamorphosis. Today we live in a world of digital libraries, and a system was required to integrate and collaborate researchers all over the world. The latest data and science had to be available to researchers living anywhere in the world, thanks to the internet of things.

An ORCID iD account

ORCID is the acronym for Open Researcher and Contributor ID. It is an important digital platform that connects researchers with latest research publications and innovations all across the world. ORCID Inc was launched on October 16th, 2012. ORCID ID is a digital identifier, which is an alphanumeric, 16 digit code. It is a unique identification number, which stands for the digital identity of each individual working in the research industry: professor, independent scholar, post-doc researcher, science writer, academic author, doctorate student, etc.

These digital numbers are used by each researcher to get access to scientific research across the globe. At the same, ORCID creates a massive integration of the entire research publication process, right from submission of grants to the publication of manuscripts. It is a unique way of getting research work recognized, advertised and promoted.

Uses of ORCID ID

As an ORCID account holder, your efforts in terms of publications and conferences are provided to all members of ORCID; researchers across overseas and domestic frontiers can easily collaborate and gather resources for research grants and funding. ORCID number traces the following activities:

 

  • Research publications
  • Research papers related the researchers’ papers
  • Published patents
  • Research grants
  • Research blogs
  • Affiliations to institutions and research organizations
  • Awards and recognition
  • Evaluation scores
  • Wikipedia articles

In totality, ORCID account simplifies the manuscript submission/acceptance process for any scientist bridging the gap between academia and industry. ORCID is acceptable by all scientific publishers, so researchers can submit their papers easily to all publishers. They do not have to refurbish their information and credentials each time.

In terms of manuscript writing, ORCID account provides access to most scientific literature. Thus, scientists can easily scour the literature and cite relevant literature in their manuscript for improving the authenticity/quality of their research study.

Here is the list of prominent publishers which have mandatory ORCID requirements for authors:

  • Hindawi
  • PLOS
  • Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Science
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering
  • American Geophysical Union
  • American Chemical Society
  • Nature
  • Wiley

Today researchers from different universities and research organizations from across the world can collaborate and gather research funding, thanks to the most successful platform: ORCID. The most prestigious governmental research funding in Australia is received from NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) and ARC (Australian Research Council). They have made ORCID compulsory for all researchers in Australia for receiving grants. In the USA, the research funding agency NIH (National Institute of Health) has streamlined the process of integrating their user name with ORCID.

 

 

 

 

 

Avenues for Young Researchers on Research Grants

Although funding agencies have diminished resources today for research studies, scholars and budding researchers should never lose hope. Advanced countries continue to have funding for international students who are bright and innovative in research and academia. Principal investigators are senior professors in research labs, with scholarships and grants being offered to deserving scholars. To most young people from developing countries, it opens floodgates of international prestige as they get a chance to collaborate on the latest developments of science and technology.

An academic resume with high scores in bachelor’s and master’s degree is not sufficient for receiving research grants and scholarships in international universities. Young scholars from developing countries also need to submit a truly innovative research proposal that needs to be reviewed and approved by the supervisor at international universities; an eminent team of full professors includes subject matter experts in specialized fields. These professors screen various research proposals and academic resumes of candidates to select the eminent ones for funding.

In this article, we provide a gist of some of the most prominent channels advertising vacancies and openings for research grants and scholarships. These are channels that normally feature openings of research in various prestigious universities all across the world.

1) The World Academy of Sciences: https://twas.org/

Based in Italy, this is a prestigious organization geared toward helping scientists in developing countries through collaboration. The organization provides research grants, fellowships, prizes and awards to deserving young researchers from developing countries. The fellowships received by these researchers can be used to pursue doctoral and post-doctoral studies. Researchers with terminal degrees (PhD) from their home countries may work as post-doc researchers, independent scholars, and visiting professors with these research grants. This prestigious organization has regional offices in India, Egypt, China, South Africa, and Brazil: these are countries that are now known as emerging economies.

2) EURAXESS https://euraxess.ec.europa.eu/

Researchers in Motion: This is a unique initiative by this organization that is backed by the European Union. Its main objective is to provide funding to scientists and researchers with an aim of increasing mobility of science. Thus, various initiatives are laid down to building concerted efforts for dissemination of scientific expertise from European scientists to the rest of world. Scientists from developing world can gain access to scholarships and funding to work as researchers in Europe and in other emerging/developed countries (Japan, India, etc).

 

Science4Refugees: In a war-torn world, the number of people fleeing their home countries to foreign land is increasing tremendously; these people are known as refugees and they are simply victims of their circumstances. This organization is geared toward providing support to scientists migrating as refugees to foreign lands.

 

  1. NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program    https://www.nsfgrfp.org/

National Science Foundation (NSF) is the federal government organization of the United States of America. Deserving students receive grants and fellowships for pursuing post-doc research in various prestigious universities of the USA. Most fellowships are geared toward sophisticated advancement programs in science, technology, engineering, and math. The candidates receive grants based on their Intellectual Merit Criterion, which is a cumulative average of their grades as well as the experimental study design of their research proposal. Previous research publications also add weightage to the candidates’ resume.

  1. Fellows from AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science)

https://www.aaas.org/ http://www.sciencemag.org/careers

At this platform, there are many jobs advertised for scientists; these are not just restricted to research and academia. This website advertises many positions and opportunities for pursuing doctorate, post-doctorate, and research careers are advertised at this website. These opportunities are available not just at leading universities and research organizations but also at various scientific conglomerates. Moreover, it provides complete guidance to master’s and bachelor’s students on how to pursue their admission and research proposal while applying for doctorate programs.

Conclusion: Research grants are very competitive and strict; however, most research proposals having an interdisciplinary study design are usually approved by the principal investigating team of professors. Funding is a prestigious honor and it creates great room for innovation; funding grants provided at these channels also cover benefits such as travel and health insurance, including when researchers are required to go to international conferences.