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ORIGINAL ARTICLE  
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 34-40
Research and publishing practices, attitudes, and barriers among dental faculty: Results of a survey study of 200 teachers across India


1 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Faculty of Dentistry, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India
2 Department of CTVS, Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi, India
3 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, SDM College of Dental Sciences and Hospital, Dharwad, Karnataka, India
4 Department of Oral Pathology, Vananchal Dental College, Garhwa, Jharkhand, India

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Date of Web Publication11-Oct-2017
 

   Abstract 

Objectives: Research experience imparts skills such as literature search, analyzing data, and critical appraisal of evidence and is associated with continued academic development, evidence-based clinical practice, and future research activity. There is a paucity of literature reflecting attitude of dental faculty toward research and publication. This study aims to ascertain research and publishing practices, attitudes, and barriers among dental faculty.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional survey of dental faculty (mean age 37.6 years, 100 males/100 females) from dental colleges across India was done between June and August 2015. A 24-point questionnaire was framed and validated, and data from 200 participants were collected after seeking informed consent.
Results: This study revealed that 138 (69%) teachers were involved in research projects and 180 (90%) had articles published in journals. The most common reason for not being involved in research was lack of time (25.8%) and for not having publications was lack of opportunity (50%). The main motivation to consider publication was career progression (53%) and selection of journal was mainly based on journal's prestige (40%). Majority of faculties were aware of impact factor, plagiarism, and H-index; however, 45% were unaware of MeSH keywords. Forty-three percent had training in research methodology, scientific writing, or publishing practices, and 93% were willing to participate in such a conference. The entire faculty agreed that research methodology should be made part of the curriculum at postgraduate level, 96% agreed that research hours should be allotted separately in the curriculum, whereas 51% of teachers approved that the completion of research project should be mandatory for promotion.
Conclusion: This study revealed the positive attitude of teachers toward research and publication.

Keywords: Attitudes, barriers, dental faculty, dental teachers, publishing practices, research

How to cite this article:
Rai A, Kumar A, Abraham L, Chandra A, Kaur M, Hasan S. Research and publishing practices, attitudes, and barriers among dental faculty: Results of a survey study of 200 teachers across India. J Educ Ethics Dent 2016;6:34-40

How to cite this URL:
Rai A, Kumar A, Abraham L, Chandra A, Kaur M, Hasan S. Research and publishing practices, attitudes, and barriers among dental faculty: Results of a survey study of 200 teachers across India. J Educ Ethics Dent [serial online] 2016 [cited 2020 Apr 7];6:34-40. Available from: http://www.jeed.in/text.asp?2016/6/1/34/216512



   Introduction Top


Research comprises “creative work undertaken on a systematic basis to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humans, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications.”[1] One of the best measures of scientific progress in a country is the research situation in their scientific communities.[2] Research and publication are an important aspect of medical and dental sciences. Research experience imparts skills such as literature search, analyzing data, and critical appraisal of evidence and is associated with continued academic development, evidence-based clinical practice, and future research activity. Research, evidence, and information are the foundation for sound health policies. With the aim to promote health care, there has been an increase in medical and dental research in many developing countries.[3] Yet, there is a paucity of literature reflecting attitude of dental faculty toward research and publication. There is an increasing competition among dentists for jobs and research, and didactic activities are considered a form of assessment of career and personal development. “Publish or perish” is a phrase coined to describe the pressure in academia to rapidly and continually publish academic work to sustain or further one's career.[4] This study aims to ascertain research and publishing practices, attitudes, and barriers among dental faculty.


   Materials and Methods Top


A cross-sectional survey of dental faculty from different dental colleges across India was done between June and August 2015. A 24-point questionnaire was framed and validated for this study. A thorough review of the various studies already conducted in various parts of the world through structured, semi-structured, or nonstructured interview schedule or questionnaires was taken into account for item selection of this tool. An intensive discussion with the faculty of dental colleges was carried out, and the questionnaire thus prepared was reviewed by a specialist panel including specialists from all branches of dentistry and epidemiology. The questionnaire which was developed was administered to a convenience sample of twenty participants after written informed consent. The responses obtained from the pilot trial were reviewed by the specialist panel for their expert opinion on the content of the questionnaire. All questions were reviewed for language and wording to provide clarity of meaning and avoid duplication of the issues addressed.

The draft questionnaire developed was administered to 219 participants after seeking written informed consent while maintaining anonymity of all the participants. The participants included teachers from all the nine specialties of dentistry holding academic positions such as professor, associate and assistant professors, and tutors. The questionnaires were distributed, and data from completed questionnaires (200) were analyzed. The results were tabulated and analyzed.


   Results Top


The present study questionnaire was completed by 200 participants (200/219; response rate of 91.3%). The average age of the participants was 37.66 years (standard deviation [SD] 6.508). The study participants were equally divided among sexes, 100 males and 100 females. The mean number of experience that the interviewed faculty had was 8.43 years (SD 5.714). The demographics of the study population are shown in [Table 1].
Table 1: Demographics of the study population

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This study revealed that 138 (69%) teachers were involved in research projects and 134 (67%) had applied to institutional ethical committee for a research project. Majority of the faculties, 180 (90%), had articles published in journals (including case reports, reviews, letter to the editor, and original research). The mean of the number of research projects undertaken by the participating faculty was 3.05 (SD 4.001), and the mean number of articles published was 11.65 (SD 10.347). One hundred and sixteen teachers (58%) of the study population had reviewed at least one manuscript, and the mean number of manuscripts reviewed was 6.70 (SD 12.563).

The most common reason for not being involved in research project [Figure 1] was lack of time (25.8%) followed by inadequate facilities (22.5%). When the most common barrier for not having articles published in journals was analyzed, it was found that lack of opportunity was the predominant reason (10, 50%) followed by lack of time due to other commitments (7, 35%). Fifteen percent (three study participants) also reported that they had done research but did not know how to write an article and therefore could not publish their research work.
Figure 1: Pie chart showing the reasons reported by the dental faculty for not being involved in research

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The study participants were enquired regarding the key motivating factor to consider publication [Figure 2]. Career progression (53%) and improving academics (29%) were two major motivating factors for being involved in the publications of articles in journals. Comparing among senior (professors and associate professors) and junior faculty (assistant professors and tutors), we found that career progression was the most motivating factor among both, but 12.7% of the senior faculties considered relaying information compared to 1.8% of junior faculties. Furthermore, 11.3% of junior faculties were involved in publication due to interest compared to 6.3% of the senior faculties.
Figure 2: Pie chart showing the key motivating factors to consider publication

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The choice of the journal selected for submission of the articles was mainly based on the journal's prestige (40%) and relevance of the particular journal to the study participant's career (26%) [Figure 3]. Comparing among senior (professors and associate professors) and junior faculty (assistant professors and tutors), we found that the choice of article submission was most commonly motivated by journal's prestige in both the cases, but 25% of the junior faculties considered likelihood of manuscript acceptance compared to 12.7% of senior faculties, in choosing the journal for manuscript submission.
Figure 3: Pie chart showing choice of the journal selected for submission of the articles

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The knowledge of the study participants regarding publishing practices was evaluated by a set of four questions. Majority of faculties were aware of impact factor, plagiarism, and H-index; however, 45% were unaware of MeSH keywords [Figure 4].
Figure 4: Bar diagram showing response of the study participants to four questions asked regarding their knowledge of publishing practices

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The attitude of the dental faculty pertaining to the research and publishing practices was studied. Forty-three percent had training in research methodology, scientific writing, or publishing practices, and 93% were willing to participate in such an activity. The entire faculty agreed that study of research methodology should be made compulsory at postgraduate level, 96% agreed that research hours should be allotted separately in the curriculum, whereas 51% of teachers approved that the completion of research project should be mandatory for promotion.

Summary of the statistical comparisons

The number of research projects undertaken by the faculty was compared [Table 2], and it was found that 98 females and 94 males had up to 10 research projects compared to 2 females and 6 males who had done more than 10 research projects (Pearson's Chi-square test, P = 0.149). The number of research projects (0–10 and 11–20) was compared among different dental specialties, and oral medicine and radiology and conservative dentistry and endodontics had the highest number of research project. Statistically significant difference was observed in the number of research projects carried out among the faculty holding different academic positions in various departments such as professor, associate professor, assistant professor, and tutor (Pearson's Chi-square test, P = 0.000*).
Table 2: Summary of the statistical comparisons comparing the number of research projects undertaken with all variables

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Most of the faculty interviewed had at least one article published in journals. The number of articles published by the faculty was compared [Table 3], and it was observed that statistically significant differences were present when publication range was compared between the two sexes, different dental specialties, and the academic position held by the faculty.
Table 3: Summary of the statistical comparisons comparing the number of publications undertaken with all variables

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The main motivation to consider publication (P = 0.000), knowledge of plagiarism (P = 0.006), training received by the faculty in regard to research methodology, publishing practices, and scientific writing (P = 0.014), and willingness of the study population to participate in such a workshop (P = 0.002) showed statistically significant differences when compared among different age groups, whereas choice of journal for submission of article (P = 0.079), knowledge of MeSH keywords (P = 0.118), H-index (P = 0.766), and impact factor (P = 0.061) did not show statistically significant differences across different age groups. Similarly, the main motivation to consider publication (P = 0.001), knowledge of plagiarism (P = 0.000), MeSH keywords (P = 0.029), impact factor of journals (P = 0.003), and willingness of the study population to participate in a workshop related to research and publishing practices (P = 0.000) showed statistically significant differences when compared among different experience range varying from 1–10, 11–20, 21–30, and >30 years.


   Discussion Top


Research extends the frontiers of knowledge and discovers rational correlations and principles. Health research has bearing on not only the diagnosis but also treatment and prevention of diseases which, in turn, impacts the health policy of the nation.[5] It is the foundation of scientific advancement and improvement in the quality of health care. Research is an integral part of professional development for the faculty and students, and the need of the hour is to keep one abreast with the latest developments. There are three main factors that impact success of any research: attitude to, knowledge of, and barriers toward research.[6]

Research in dentistry has evolved at a steady pace worldwide. However, unfortunately, the representation of India toward dental research on the international stage is negligible.[7] We have an impressive number of dental institutions which are imparting dental education in the country, and the notable number of dental faculties has the potential for improving the dental research scenario. Therefore, this study is aimed at exploring the prevalent practices of research and its publication in the field of dentistry, attitude, and barriers faced by the dental faculty in carrying out research and its implementation in India.

The present study revealed that 138 (69%) teachers were involved in research projects and 180 (90%) had articles published in journals (including case reports, reviews, letter to the editor, and original research). Similar results have been noted in a study among dental postgraduate teachers in which majority of the study groups (82%) were involved in the publication.[8] A nationwide survey on barriers for dental research in India though reported that 47.23% of the 1541 respondents were involved in administrative and educational work rather than research.[7]

The mean number of research projects undertaken by the participating faculty was 3.05 (SD 4.001), and the mean number of articles published was 11.65 (SD 10.347). It was observed that the involvement of faculty in research activity is less than that in publication. This situation though is expected as publication includes all types of articles other than original research, but the significant difference in the mean number of research articles and total publications deserves attention.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) in 2010 introduced academic performance indicators (API) which has always been a contentious topic of discourse, ever since its introduction. The Medical Council of India has laid down guidelines for appointments and promotions of teachers in medical institutions in India. Among the criteria used for promotions, publication of research is an essential requirement. The Dental Council of India also mandates publications for teachers to be eligible for becoming PG guides.

The mandatory requirement for promotion drives many to publish articles for the sake of publishing totally ignoring the purpose of research which is the foundation stone for the development of medical education. It places a great pressure that breaks scientific integrity, the basic core of research. A negative consequence of the rapid growth of scholarly open access publishing funded by article processing charges is the emergence of publishers and journals with highly questionable marketing and peer review practices. Jeffrey Beall coined the phrase “predatory publishers” to describe such publications.[9] Another term that has been suggested is pseudo-journals.[10] A longitudinal study (2010–2014) identified 613 predatory publishers and journals from a total of over 11,000 journals.[11] A massive estimated 420,000 articles were published by around 8000 active predatory journals in 2014. The regional distribution of both the publisher's country and authorship was found to be highly skewed, in particular, Asia and Africa contributed three-quarters of authors, of which 27% of publishers and 35% of authors are from India. India dominates the single-journal predatory publisher stratum where the share is 42%. Comparing the size of predatory publication to the production of high-quality article from the same country for the years 2013–2014, authors calculated the ratio of predatory to Web of Science-indexed articles and found that India had 277% and Nigeria a staggering 1580% contribution to predatory articles. It has also been noted that only 2.55% of all the published research papers in PubMed in 2011 had first author affiliation from India.[12] Xia et al. also studied the origin of authors in seven pharmacological predatory journals and found that 57% of authors were from Asia and 28% from Africa, with Nigeria, China, and India being the leading countries.[13]

Predatory publishing has damaged the very foundations of scholarly and academic publishing and has led to unethical behavior from scientists and researchers.[9] The “journal publishing industry” in India is a classical example of “predatory publishing,”[14] supported by researchers who are in a race to publish. “The introduction of API by the UGC, lack of clarity in identifying and evaluating journals, the focus on 'quantity' over 'quality', unhealthy competition between peers, and overall, a favorable nonscientific publishing environment have led Indian researchers to publish in mediocre journals wherein most manuscripts are published without any peer review. Perhaps, it is also the fear of peer review that has nourished predatory journals, making India one of the world's largest bases for predatory open access publishing,” notes a September 2014 Editorial in Current Science.[15]

In this study, lack of time and inadequate facilities emerged as most important barriers to carry out research whereas lack of opportunity was the predominant reason followed by lack of time due to other commitments for not being able to publish articles. Srinivasan et al.[8] have also reported that lack of time due to commitments was the main reason for not being involved in publication. Bishen et al.[7] studied institutional/departmental support-related barriers, financial and training support-related barriers, time-related barriers, and other general barriers for dental research. Their study highlighted barriers for dental research in Indian scenario which included bureaucracy and administrative overburden, lack of adequate and timely secretarial, technical, and computerial assistance, frustration from inter- and intra-departmental politics, lack of funds and inexperience in grant writing and approval, lack of training in critically appraisal, nonavailability of sabbaticals, no provision of jobs as research professionals, and lack of documentation of the dental data in the dental institution. In a survey conducted among the 2nd and 3rd year, dental PG students stated that lack of standard plan is the most difficult barrier to start a research work followed by lack of financial support.[16] A recent study identified several hurdles faced by medical teachers in research and publication including low levels of awareness, confidence, and motivation, deficient skills for manuscript writing and tracking, inexperience of senior faculty in research, inadequate knowledge on research methodology, lack of time in an otherwise busy schedule, inadequate level of cooperation and collaboration among different departments, poor standards of maintenance and utilization of data, and lack of emphasis on research and publication during student training.[17]

In this study, similar to previous reports,[8] the main motivation to publish was career progression and improving academics, and the choice of journal was mainly based on journal's prestige and its relevance to the study participant's career. The choices opted by senior and junior faculties were different. Relaying information was an important factor among senior faculty whereas a sizeable number of junior faculties were involved in publication out of interest. This is encouraging as the art of science is developed with an individual's interest of the subject and not by coercion or compulsion. If research work and publications are made a prerequisite for achieving degree or promotion when there is no genuine interest or facility for everyone, we can only get trash corrupting all good scientific data and statistics. Junior faculty considered likelihood of manuscript acceptance more than seniors while choosing a journal to submit their work, reflecting the pressure of “publish or perish” experienced by the junior faculty in the current times.

This study revealed a positive attitude of the dental faculty toward research and publishing practices. Although only 43% had training in research methodology, scientific writing, or publishing practices, 93% were willing to participate in such an activity. The entire faculty agreed that study of research methodology should be made compulsory at postgraduate level, 96% agreed that research hours should be allotted separately in the curriculum, whereas 51% of teachers approved that completion of research project should be mandatory for promotion.

Carrying out quality research along with practicing dentistry, teaching responsibilities, and administrative errands is a daunting task. This study, on the one hand, highlights several barriers faced by the dental faculty but, on the other hand, reveals their positive attitude toward research and publication. The term “clinician-scientist” is used for a holder of a degree in medicine and science who invests significant time and professional effort in scientific research and spends correspondingly less time in direct clinical practice compared to other physicians.[18] On a similar note, the term “dentist-scientist” could be used for the dental fraternity showing interest and participation in the field of research. The traditional role of “clinician-teacher” is being replaced with that of a new “clinician-teacher-researcher.” The need for acquiring skills for research and publication is being increasingly recognized. The need of the hour is to establish a supportive environment in academia. The problem can be addressed by the following short-term and long-term initiatives. Short-term initiatives which could be considered are imparting necessary technical skills of research methodology and scientific writing for the faculty, making these training absolutely tailors made to the needs of the group, for example, imparting more hands-on training, interactive sessions, and group tasks, compulsory publication of at least one paper in an indexed journal from the PG thesis work before the degree is awarded, setting up “research units” in each institution comprising of professionals with varied skills to help the research projects at all stages, identifying and black listing of the predatory publishers, incentives for good quality publications in terms of funding for further research, promotions, direct financial incentives and travel grants to attend scientific events, etc. Long-term measures include encouraging good quality research at UG and PG level by enhancing extramural funding, intensive advocacy initiatives to include research methodology training and good writing practices at UG level medical curriculum, stringent administrative and legal actions on people resorting to unethical practices, and creating more reliable platforms for people to publish their research work. Based on the focus group discussions and semi-structured interview with the medical faculty, Asokan et al.[17] have developed a model roadmap for improving and increasing research publications by the faculty. They have outlined the initiatives from regulatory authorities, institutions, and changes within the department along with motivation from the faculty itself, as vital steps to increase the quality and quantity of research publications.


   Conclusion Top


This study revealed the positive attitude of teachers toward research and publication. Dental teaching faculty was concerned about research capacity building and engaged in research in publication. Upgrading their skills for research and scientific writing and providing supportive environment would further enhance their role as “clinician-teacher-researcher.”

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
   References Top

1.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Frascati Manual: Proposed Standard Practice for Surveys on Research and Experimental Development. 6th ed. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; 2002. Available from: http://www.oecd.org/sti/frascatimanual. [Last accessed on 2012 May 27].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
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Vujaklija A, Hren D, Sambunjak D, Vodopivec I, Ivanis A, Marusić A, et al. Can teaching research methodology influence students' attitude toward science? Cohort study and nonrandomized trial in a single medical school. J Investig Med 2010;58:282-6.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
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Normile D. The promise and pitfalls of clinical trials overseas. Science 2008;322:214-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
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Publish or perish. Nature 2010;467:252.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
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Lavis JN, Oxman AD, Moynihan R, Paulsen EJ. Evidence-informed health policy 1 -synthesis of findings from a multi-method study of organizations that support the use of research evidence. Implement Sci 2008;3:53.  Back to cited text no. 5
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Memarpour M, Fard AP, Ghasemi R. Evaluation of attitude to, knowledge of and barriers toward research among medical science students. Asia Pac Fam Med 2015;14:1.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
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Bishen KA, Chhabra KG, Sagari S, Gupta P. Nationwide survey on barriers for dental research in India. J Pharm Bioallied Sci 2015;7:201-6.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
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Srinivasan MR, Poorni S, Sujatha G, Kumar SN. Research experiences, attitudes, and barriers to publishing among the dental postgraduate teachers: A cross-sectional study. Indian J Dent Res 2014;25:454-8.  Back to cited text no. 8
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Beall J. Predatory publishers are corrupting open access. Nature 2012;489:179.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
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McGlynn T. The Evolution of Pseudojournals. Dominguez Hills, CA: Small Pond Science; 2013. Available from: http://www.smallpondscience.com/2013/02/14/theevolution-of-pseudojournals. [Last accessed on 2017 Feb 25].  Back to cited text no. 10
    
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Shen C, Björk BC. 'Predatory' open access: A longitudinal study of article volumes and market characteristics. BMC Med 2015;13:230.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
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National Library of Medicine 2015. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/. [Last accessed on 2016 Jun 01].  Back to cited text no. 12
    
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Xia J, Harmon J, Connolly K, Donnelly R, Anderson M, Howard H. Who publishes in predatory journals. J Assoc Inf Sci Tech 2014; 66: 1406–1417. [Doi: 10.1002/asi. 23265].  Back to cited text no. 13
    
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Janodia MD. Dharmagadda S, Ligade V, Muragundi P, Musmade P, Udupa N. Spurt of scientific journal publishing in India – business or knowledge sharing? Curr Sci 2013;105:433-4.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
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Raghavan R, Dahanukar N, Knight JD, Bijukumar A, Katwate U, Krishnakumar K, et al. Predatory journals and Indian ichthyology. Current Sci 2014;107:740-2.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
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Shakeel Anjum M, Parthasarathi Reddy P, Monica M, Yadav Rao K, Irram A, Sheetal A, et al. A Survey on perceptions, opinions and barriers to conduct research among Dental postgraduates in Telangana state, India. WebmedCentral Public Health 2016;7:WMC005073.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
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Asokan N, Shaji KS. Methods to enhance capacity of medical teachers for research publications. Indian J Public Health 2016;60:154-8.  Back to cited text no. 17
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Brand RA, Hannafin JA. The environment of the successful clinician-scientist. Clin Orthop Relat Res 2006;449:67-71.  Back to cited text no. 18
    

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Correspondence Address:
Arpita Rai
Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Faculty of Dentistry, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jeed.jeed_14_17

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