Rob Verpoorte (Chair) and Chunming Wang (Co-Chair)
This interest group has published a paper during the period of the EU project of GP-TCM (Chan et al., 2012) in which a number of guidelines for good practices have been dealt with that concern publications. These were both for authors and for reviewers. During all past meetings of the GP-TCM RA, 1.5 hrs courses were given on how to write a scientific paper based on these GP guidelines.
We see that there is a clear need for the future to further teach these aspects of research, including ethical aspects. Obviously, certain rules have been published (e.g., in instructions to authors in the journals in the fields of traditional medicine such as Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Phytomedicine, Planta Medica, Fitoterapia, etc.). For some of methods and tools used in traditional medicine research such as molecular biology, diverse “-omics” technologies) or clinical trials, it has been already determined how to report various types of data, and there is no need to further discuss these topics. For the specific aspects of TCM research, the interest groups will come up with suggestions for GP guidelines in order to design experiments and report the results in a proper way.
To strengthen the impact of research on traditional medicine, we should further develop teaching aspects for academic education and try to spread the knowledge to as many students as possible. Proper writing of a paper, of a grant application, or of a registration file for clinical trials is crucial for success.
Presently, we offer a 2 hrs course on the various aspects of writing a scientific paper. It is about many technical as well as some ethical aspects. What would be needed is also a lecture on the English language and terminology in order to avoid the most common pitfalls in this context. A third lecture might be useful on how to review a paper. That will also help to understand how to write a paper. Altogether these topics might result in a 3-4 hrs workshop. This course could be given several times per year with participants from different universities and institutes. It might also be organized for a specific university.
The course could be organized as a live event organized by the GP-TCM RA in which the organizing universities pay the costs of the event. Alternatively, this course can be offered online. Obviously, this should be a permanent activity in the future, meaning that it could be implemented in the curriculum of a university, where traditional medicine is taught. Face-to-face courses might be longer and include some individual practical training. Such activities will of course cost time as well as money. Universities might be asked for a contribution to support these GP-TCM RA workshops. The 1000 pound/year contribution from universities, institutes, and industry, might give them the right to have such an online course every year. It would be a way to generate money for the activities of the Society and to offer institutes a tangible service for their financial contribution. GP-TCM RA can reach out to the younger generation and in this way really contribute to increase the quality of the research done on traditional medicines.
K. Chan, D. Shaw, M.S.J. Simmonds, C.J. Leon, Q. Xue, A. Lu, I. Sutherland, S. Ignatova, Y.-P Zhu, R. Verpoorte, E.M. Williamson, and P. Duez (2012) Good practice in reviewing and publishing studies on herbal medicine, with special emphasis on traditional Chinese medicine and Chinese materia medica. J. Ethnopharmacol. 140, 469– 475