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With an emphasis on practising evidence-based medicine, medical schools encourage students’ participation in research as well as providing opportunities to present their findings at conferences. Recognition of such work is a credit to the individual, adding to the list of achievements in their portfolio. In the UK, as part of the standards laid out by the General Medical Council in Tomorrow’s Doctors, it is expected that doctors should function as clinicians and scientists by being able to critically appraise medical literature to provide the best possible patient care.1 This can encourage students to become involved in projects to gain experience in these skills and also to publish this work in academic journals.
However, the motivations of medical students to engage in academic publishing must be questioned. Rather than to advance medical knowledge, we must be careful not to promote undergraduate participation in research due to a pressure to publish, motivated by fear of falling behind on their portfolio. After qualification, in the UK, junior job postings are appointed according to academic performance at medical school, publications and further extracurricular achievements.2 This can apply pressure on students to attain as many portfolio points as possible to boost an application for competitive posts. Worryingly, previous work by Nikkar-Esfahani and colleagues3 has supported a notion …
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