Surgery is one of the vital components of the global health, as the president of the World Bank said, “Surgery is an indivisible, indispensable part of health care and of progress towards universal health coverage” (Kim, 2014). Global surgical research is one of the major aspects that play an important role in improving the surgical global health.
However, conducting research in developing countries is more difficult than developed ones, such as the countries of North America and Europe. Developing countries may not have well-developed registries for each disease, and they may not have strong health and research infrastructure. Surgical researchers in developing countries may not have extra hands to help them in collecting the data or managing the research, and they may not even have dedicated time to conduct research. Thus, the researcher may have to work harder to conduct the research. At the same time, the researcher will not be paid for their extra work. I believe that developing countries need to develop their solid research infrastructure, and I think they are working on that in different degrees and ways.
There are several efforts worldwide to advance the role of global surgical research. In fact, a lot of American institutions, like the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the Association for Academic Surgery (AAS), are supporting and encouraging the global surgical researches, in the form of research collaborations, mentorships, grants, and different global research awards. In spite of a lot of ongoing global research projects and several completed projects, we are not sure about the rate of the publication of these global surgical researches. During our last meeting of the Global Affairs Committee in the AAS annual meeting, we discussed the outcome of those projects and the publication status. Although we do not know the correct publication rate, we agreed that global researchers face difficulties in publishing their work in the well-known surgical journal. Of course, I am not speaking about the surgical journals with very high impact factors.
I personally faced that with one of my papers because that research will not add a novel discovery to the field. While I totally agree that that specific research does not add a novel discovery to the field, but it adds more information about a disease in different population. I do not think that a global research needs to discover novelty to be published in an average surgical journal. These researches will help global researchers to find global deficiencies like the importance of health education and screening programs in my country, which I am working to confirm and then I will work to improve them. Therefore, generally speaking, the global surgical research will help surgical researchers to advance the global health practice based on different areas’ needs and budgets.
One may ask global researchers to publish their works in local journals or other journals, which is really an option, but a hard-working researcher (who works with less resources, are not paid, and no deducting time for research, other help, and grants are provided to them) would like to be publish their work in a good journal with reasonable impact factor. Unfortunately, the majority of the local global surgical journals has a low impact factor. Some open access journals with good impact factors are interested in global work, but the publication fee is very expensive.
Such authors need support and encouragement to continue their work. In my opinion, that can be accomplished by continuing to work in supporting the global research in the form of mentorship and collaboration programs, creating more global research grants and awards, and accepting their works for publication. I suggest adding yearly one to two global supplements for the surgical journals in which the global health researchers can publish their work. In addition, offering a proofreading service free or with a minimal charge for authors who speak English as a second language, can make a huge difference. Keep in mind that the research should meet all the ethical criteria and usual standards of surgical research. In addition, authors need to mention all the research limitations and discuss the surgical treatment modalities based on the availabilities in that specific area since advanced treatment modalities are not available everywhere (world-wide).
Finally, I am looking for complete support from the surgical journals in this matter. In addition, I want to thank the AAS for supporting the surgical global research and giving me the chance to write for its blog.