Thursday, October 11, 2018

Beware of predatory or potentially predatory journals

Predatory journals from Chew Keng Sheng

This slide set is the presentation that I gave at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak on the issue of predatory or potentially predatory journals. “Predatory journals” refers to entities that prey on academicians for financial profit via article processing charges (APC) for open access articles, without meeting scholarly publishing standards. At the outset, allow me to make my stand clearly that I do not believe that "predatory" journals are illegal, but the issue with predatory journals is that they lack the scholarly and scientific rigour as expected in the academia. Although I would admit that it is hard to draw the line to say whether a journal is predatory or not predatory in nature, there are a number of tell-tale signs that may help us to identify that a journal is probably predatory in nature.

My 2 main references in this presentation are:
Shen C, Björk B-C. ‘Predatory’ open access: a longitudinal study of article volumes and market characteristics. BMC Medicine. 2015;13(1):230. Click here to access

Shamseer L, Moher D, Maduekwe O, Turner L, Barbour V, Burch R, et al. Potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: can you tell the difference? A cross-sectional comparison. BMC Medicine. 2017;15(1):28. Click here to access

Other resources mentioned in the presentation:
Laine, C & Winker, MA. Identifying Predatory or Pseudo-Journals (available in World Association of Medical Editors website). URL:

Think-Check-Submit website

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The modern Physcian's Pledge to replace Hippocratic Oath?

One of the oldest professional oaths is the Hippocratic Oath, which is now as old as 2400 years old.
The practice pledging this oath begans at the University of Wittenberg in Germany in 1508.
The contents of the oath are still relevant, although pledging in the name of long forgotten medieval Greek gods is probably what makes it out-dated.

A new modern version of the oath, known as ‘The Physician’s Pledge’, encapsulates the essence of the Oath while removing the peripheries has been published in JAMA (click here).

The full text of the 2017 pledge now reads as:

I SOLEMNLY PLEDGE to dedicate my life to the service of humanity;

THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF MY PATIENT will be my first consideration;

I WILL RESPECT the autonomy and dignity of my patient;

I WILL MAINTAIN the utmost respect for human life;

I WILL NOT PERMIT considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing, or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient;

I WILL RESPECT the secrets that are confided in me, even after the patient has died;

I WILL PRACTISE my profession with conscience and dignity and in accordance with good medical practice;

I WILL FOSTER the honour and noble traditions of the medical profession;

I WILL GIVE to my teachers, colleagues, and students the respect and gratitude that is their due;

I WILL SHARE my medical knowledge for the benefit of the patient and the advancement of healthcare;

I WILL ATTEND TO my own health, well-being, and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standard;

I WILL NOT USE my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat;

I MAKE THESE PROMISES solemnly, freely, and upon my honour.

A very interesting addition to the oath compared to Hippocratic Oath is this:
I WILL ATTEND TO my own health, well-being, and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standard”
This addition has been lobbied by Dr. Sam Hazledine.

To quote,
Dr Sam Hazledine from Queenstown, New Zealand made history by petitioning for the amendment last year, where he obtained 4,500 signatures to include a clause for doctors to focus on their own health as well as of their patients.

I guess it is a solemn reminder that physicians should do what they preach.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Doctor-Patient Communication

The slide deck of a short sharing I gave to a group of first year medical students of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS). It is indeed a good move to talk about doctor-patient communication early in their medical studies, to expose them to the intricacies, the skill and the art of communicating with patients, including how to break bad news.

Doctor-Patient Communication Skill from Chew Keng Sheng

The best resource on doctor-patient communication that I have found is Skills for Communicating with Patients by Jonathan Silverman, Suzanne Kurtz and Juliet Draper (Amazon link). This text is the first entirely evidence-based textbook on medical interviewing, describing the core skills which represent the foundation for doctor-patient communication

I have found a number of sample chapters that can (still) be downloaded free (these 2 chapters, Chapter 2 and 3, are already informative enough to give us a good grasp on this subject matter):
Chapter 2
Chapter 3

A chapter from its companion volume, Teaching and Learning Communication Skills in Medicine, can be downloaded here:
Chapter 1

Google book also provides a good sampling of the book and the full e-book version can be purchased at the cost of about RM150. Click here for the google book preview version.

And download an article by one of the co-authors of the book (Suzanne Kurtz) here.

Watch a lecture on the art of communication in medicine by Dr. Jonathan Silverman here:


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