The International Summit on Medical Research and Publication (ISMRP)
Editor-in-Chief of the journal Gut; Director of the Microbiome Research Centre at St George Hospital, Sydney. Professor El-Omar graduated in Medicine from Glasgow University, Scotland, and trained as a gastroenterologist. He worked as a Visiting Scholar/Scientist at Vanderbilt University, TN, and National Cancer Institute, MD, USA, and was Professor of Gastroenterology at Aberdeen University, Scotland, for 16 years before taking up the Chair of Medicine at St George & Sutherland Clinical School, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. His research interests include the gut microbiome, inflammation driven GI cancer and IBD.
Correspondent: Professor Omar, welcome to China. Thank you for giving us such a wonderful talk. And I'd like to, first of all, thank you for accepting our invitation, coming to the second international summit on medical research and publication. I know you have been invited to so many conferences worldwide, and may I ask what made you to decide to accept our invitation to come to the conference?
Prof. Omar: Well, thank you very much. It's a great pleasure and honor to come to this meeting. As you know, I'm a great friend and supporter of China and Chinese science and medicine. And indeed, I have been to China so many times, but this particular conference is dedicated to research and excellence in research and for this reason and in terms of publication and communicating research is a very important conference for everyone in China. And I'm very happy to contribute to this conference. So, for me, this was just the remit that I think is most appropriate for publication and research in China.
Correspondent: Do you think these summits may have some significance or impact on the scientific research field in China?
Prof. Omar: Yes, definitely. I've always been very impressed by what's been happening in China and the scientific in the medical front. There's been a huge investment from the government in science and opportunities to train, uh, your researchers at highest level across the globe that all coming back and all contributing to the advancement of science and knowledge. And for that reason, I think it's just a matter of time before China becomes the world leader in scientific output and impact. And for me, as an editor of a journal, we have certainly benefited from this Chinese revolution. And we published so many excellent papers from Chinese researchers. So, for me, it's just a wonderful development.
Correspondent: Thank you. And just now I heard you mentioned the vision of our summit is due to research and achieve the innovative results publish quality papers and establish a wonderful journal, good journals. So, may I ask in your opinion, what's the advantages and disadvantages for Chinese researchers in all the industry aspects like in doing research publication and for the Chinese publishing industry to establish good journals?
Prof. Omar: Sure. It's a very important question and indeed all four of these aspects are being dealt with in China. I think there's massive investment and excellent research certainly on the basic science side, it's as good as anywhere in the world. It's competing at the highest level. You see Chinese papers appearing in the top journals in nature and science and so forth. On the clinical front, there was always a little bit of a lag between, you know, the potential of Chinese medicine and the publications. But I'm very very glad to report that this is actually also catching up. So there's a huge advancement in clinical trials and clinical research, and this, when it delivers at the highest level, would be wonderful for the world. I think what we're lacking is perhaps the development of excellent, Chinese journals that will be communicating this high quality research, not just from China but from across the world. But it's just a matter of time. I think you have all the potential to put together outstanding scientific journals that will be able to compete with the best of them.
Correspondent: Thank you. And just now your topic is about what Gut is looking for. So, may I kindly ask you to use this news facility to summarize what does Gut look for in Chinese authors, particularly?
Prof. Omar: Well, because, uh, as I said, we view China as potentially contributing a major impact in the world and has the opportunity to deliver amazing developments. I want the best of the Chinese output, and we have strive to obtain this, uh, excellence in basic science that has translation of relevance, excellent clinical trials. All of this work will be very welcome. And in my journal, and indeed we collaborate, we actually work with you in partnership to encourage the development of those studies that will yield those excellent papers. So, from my point of view, I'm very excited about the future with the potential for publishing even better papers. And I look forward to it very much.
Correspondent: And just now you mentioned Gut ranks number two in the field of all the gastroenterology and hepatology journals. Congratulations for that. You are doing a fantastic job. And may I ask you, in your opinion, what differ Gut from other gastroenterology journals? What's unique characters and attractions to the authors?
Prof. Omar: Sure. So I'd like to think that we are very fair and very prompt and efficient, but we also target work that is making a difference both to science and to clinical practice. So, we negotiate a very fine line between basic science and clinical practice. And I think this was always, distinguished us. We are able to, uh, utilize our links with basic scientists, but also our embedment in clinical research. So that's what defines Gut. It's the interface between basic and clinical research, but ultimately, it's about work that is going to make a difference to patient care. I think that's what we’re very proud of. And what really identify this is the quality of our original articles. Our original articles are perhaps the best and the most highly cited because they have major impact.
Correspondent: Thank you. And actually just now you said you are particularly interested in the translational research, right? So that's called like echoes with what you said you like to find good papers which can be really tending to for the clinic application and also of the journal uh editor, you just mentioned it's very important to write a very good paper. So in your opinion do you think polishing like language editing is important for publishing of a good paper and especially for the non-English speaker authors?
Prof. Omar: Sure. Yes. So when you're telling any story, you have to communicate it very clearly and well to make that good first impression. And obviously, having the appropriate language that allows you to present your work in the best possible light would be very helpful. That's not to say if it's poorly written, it's automatically rejected because of the poor language, but it just doesn't help. It's much easier for us to see the better science if it's communicated well, and it's one of those situations where I think the excellent researchers invest time and effort in optimizing the presentation of their work. But China is advancing at an amazing rate. The young generation are all very fluent in English and we should encourage them to become, uh, superb communication. It's not difficult to do. You can plan, you know, workshops and conferences and so forth, to try and increase that. It doesn't have to be a dedicated scientific writing, company does that polishing for you, but you have to invest in it. And I think it actually enhances the chances of eventual success, because the journals want to see that best science coming through. And if you communicate it well, trust me, it's much, much easier.
Correspondent: Thank you. Ok, so come to my last question then. You know, in the past three years, there were a series of this incidence of retraction, incidence of Chinese authors, papers by several journals. The latest one happened in last year in March by the Tumor Biology, like more than one hundred articles were retracted by the journal because of the fake peer review process. So, many Chinese authors are wondering, well, this affects the chance of the paper being accepted by the top journals, like such as Gut.
Prof. Omar: So genuine researchers, honest researchers that submit their excellent work to journals like Gut and higher even have nothing to fear because we always assess the quality of the science. Now it's fair to say that the more established and higher impact journals know the field very well, so they know who is reviewing. So it's less chance that we would fall into that trap of sending our, you know, our manuscripts to unknown people. And from that point of view, I'm confident that this would not have an impact, certainly on Gut. We ought to weigh of it, we’re very, very sensitized to it, but it doesn't automatically count against Chinese researchers. It's very unfortunate that the really hard working, genuine top class researchers have to suffer because of the few that try and take shortcuts and try to cheat. But ultimately good work will always triumph and will always welcome back in our journal.
Correspondent: Thank you. Just now you mentioned you have come to China for several times and we are so honored to have a friend like you. So welcome to China again. Then we look forward to seeing you next time. Thank you very much.
Prof. Omar: Thank you very much. Thank you.