Do students eventually get to publish their research findings? The case of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome research in Cameroon
Background Scientific publication is commonly used to communicate research findings and in most academic/research settings, to evaluate the potential of a researcher and for recruitment and promotion. It has also been said that researchers have the duty to make public, the findings of their research. As a result, researchers are encouraged to share their research findings with the scientific world through peer review publications. In this study, we looked at the characteristics and publication rate of theses that documented studies on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome in Cameroon.
Materials and Methods: To check if a thesis resulted in a publication, we searched: A database of publications on HIV in Cameroon, African Journals Online, PubMed and Google scholar. For each publication we recorded if the student was an author, the position of the student in the author listing, the journal and where the journal was indexed. We also looked at the impact factor of the journals.
Results: One hundred and thirty theses/dissertations were included in the study, 74.6% (97/130) were written as part of a medical degree (MD), 23.8% (31/130) a postgraduate (PG) degree and 1.5% (2/130) for a Doctorate/PhD. On a whole, 13.9% (18/130) of the theses resulted in at least one publication in a scientific journal with a total of 22 journal articles, giving a mean publication rate of 0.17 article/thesis, 86.4% (11/22) were indexed on PubMed, 9.1% (2/22) on African Journals Online and 4.6% (1/22) on Google scholar. One PG thesis led to two book chapters. The student was the first author in 22.7% (5/22) of the articles and not an author in 9.1% (2/22) of the articles. Student supervisor was an author in all the articles.
Conclusion: This study reveals that most students in Cameroon failed to transform their theses/dissertations to scientific publications. This indicates an urgent need to sensitize students on the importance of presenting their research findings in scientific meetings and peer reviewed journals. There is also a great necessity to build capacity in scientific writing among university students in Cameroon.
Keywords: Cameroon, Graduate and medical students, Human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, Publication rates