Commentary about article “Barriers to conduction or completion of research projects among orthopedic surgeons in Saudi Arabia”
How to cite this article: Hess D. Commentary about article “Barriers to conduction or completion of research projects among orthopedic surgeons in Saudi Arabia.” J Musculoskelet Surg Res 2021;5(3):221-2.
I read with interest the article about “Barriers to Conduction or Completion of Research Projects among Orthopedic Surgeons in Saudi Arabia” from Yousef A. Alrashidi and Hamza M. Alrabai (Taibah University and King Saud University), as my current role within the AO Foundation is to support surgeons in the conduct of research projects globally.
The first important point which I would like to state is that there are influencing factors regarding the barrier predictors of abandoning a research project or a project taking long to complete can be divided into two parts: (A) External factors that are difficult to influence and (B) factors that can be influenced by each individual surgeon researcher. To find solutions for the most important barriers, it is usually best to start with those factors that can be influenced.
The best starting point to overcome barriers in finishing research projects is research education. By providing education to young researchers with the first objective to understand the importance of research, its process, and how to write grants to be able to request for funding can make a big difference regarding the confidence in conducting research. By understanding the research process, it also becomes obvious that enough time and resources need to be allocated. With this knowledge, the expectations of the researchers regarding the duration of a project may also be more realistic, leading to fewer early discontinuations. Furthermore, helping the inexperienced researchers to find a mentor may make a huge difference regarding strengthening their confidence and providing support during challenging times during the different project phases.
There are also factors that cannot be easily influenced, such as adequate time resources or opportunities to get funding for the research. Still, it may be worthwhile for individuals who plan to advance in their research career to look for an institution with a good research mentality. There may be more room to allocate specific time for research activities, finding mentors, and also getting support to apply for research grants.
From my perspective and in my role of managing the AO Program for Education and Excellence in Research within the AO Foundation (www.aopeer.org), the barriers to complete a research project are very similar in all geographic regions. Research is a challenging endeavor, and it is important that the institutions recognize that to achieve high-quality results, the required quality assurance steps need to be in place, and it needs to be acknowledged that this important work needs time.
Financial support and sponsorship
This letter did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Conflicts of interest
The author certifies that she has an affiliation to the AO Foundation, where she is managing the AO Program for Education and Excellence in Research.