Table of Contents  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 69-70

Ethics in research and publication

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Ragaas Dental College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication8-Jan-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Elizabeth Joshua
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Ragaas Dental College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jofs.jofs_121_17

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How to cite this article:
Joshua E. Ethics in research and publication. J Orofac Sci 2017;9:69-70

How to cite this URL:
Joshua E. Ethics in research and publication. J Orofac Sci [serial online] 2017 [cited 2022 Aug 7];9:69-70. Available from:

Ethical guidelines are receiving greater attention in all spheres of life. The medical and dental fields are no exception. Research and publications have become an intricate part of the dental profession in recent times.

Ethics can be viewed under two broad aspects as follows:
  1. Research;
  2. Publication.

Research: With the revamping of the Ethical Guidelines of Biomedical Research in the recent past, ethical aspects related to biomedical research have resurfaced. Clinical trial registrations are now mandatory with the clinical trial registry of India. Even in such trials, the products in Phase IV also have to be passed by an ethical committee that is registered with the Central Drug Controller of India.[1],[2] To the best of our knowledge, most of the dental colleges are not registered with the Central Drug Controller of India.[2] There are various reports that highlight this fact,[2],[3] and the same condition persists even after the public version of the 2017 guidelines of ethics was released by the Indian Council of Medical Research. The Medical Council of India has made a call to revamp their curriculum modules to suit preventive aspects and research and has made it mandatory that ethical practices have to be a part of the undergraduate curriculum with defined timings and syllabus. The Dental Council of India is trying hard to implement the same, and we as dental professionals should give our full cooperation in this respect. The primary difference in dental research is that there is a well-defined need for esthetic concern. The risk–benefit analysis, on where to consider the esthetic concerns alone, might make certain dental research projects to be shelved. Proactive policy makers need to give clear guidelines to address the gray areas. At the same time, no other cardinal principles of ethical research should be breached.

Publication: The end point of any research is publication. There are reports of serious malpractices in the Indian publishing scenario. Although there are no or limited reports of misconducts in dental research publications, the biomedical literature is full of examples to this ( This probably has prompted authorities at the University Grants Commission and other similar bodies to prepare a list of approved journals. The Medical Council of India also has come up with guidelines in this regard – but there are no clear-cut policies of punishments for those who indulge in such misconduct and malpractices. The policy framers need to come down with a heavy hand on those who intentionally commit unethical practices.

It is nearly a decade since the Dental Council of India made publications mandatory for promotions. We as professionals need to introspect on the effect of such an imposition and the need to further strengthen the objective for which these policies were framed. An upgradation could include stress on the number of citations or any similar qualitative or quantitative objectives. The head of the departments, as they bear the responsibility for the integrity and accuracy of the scientific data as well as the ethical principles involved, must be included as a responsible author. Ghost authorship and other forms of scientific and publishing misconducts can be avoided by clearly stating the role of each author in the development of the manuscript and the percentage of their contribution for the same. Each institution should have a central committee to frame a Standard Operating Procedure for Good Laboratory Practice as per the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines who can monitor the smooth conduct of research and publications without any unethical practices.

  References Top

Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical Research; 2017. Available from: [Last accessed on 2017 Dec 16].  Back to cited text no. 1
Janakiram C, Venkitachalam R, Joseph J. Profile of Institutional Ethics Committees in dental teaching institutions in Kerala, India. Account Res 2016;23:219-29.  Back to cited text no. 2
Aggarwal R, Gogtay N, Kumar R, Sahni P, Indian Association of Medical Journal Editors. The revised guidelines of the Medical Council of India for academic promotions: Need for a rethink. Indian J Urol 2016;32:1-4.  Back to cited text no. 3
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