The Herculean Effort of a Senior Surgeon to Foster the Culture of Research | Print edition

Views) :

All postgraduates and academics are familiar with the age-old aphorism “Publish or Perish” which emphasizes the importance of research to advancing their professional careers. However, until recently, research did not have its rightful place in postgraduate surgical training in Sri Lanka. Many said jokingly: “Good surgeons operate; bad surgeons do research ‘! Fortunately, in recent years, research has become an important component of postgraduate surgical education. From now on, it is compulsory to carry out research and to have publications before being able to claim the qualification of specialist surgeon in this country.

Sir Isaac Newton said: “If I have been able to see beyond others, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants”, indicating the importance of the existing knowledge founded by his predecessors. “Stand on the shoulders of giants” is Google Scholar‘s motto as it appears on the cover page of its website. Therefore, it is essential that we refer to the research already carried out, in order to plan and conduct better and more advanced research. This is crucial for the advancement and progress of a civilized society. Some believe that the advanced knowledge and skills in agriculture, irrigation, architecture and healthcare that we had in ancient Sri Lanka have been lost to future generations because they were not documented and preserved.

It is not difficult to locate research carried out in the recent past on surgical sciences, as most of the articles are available on the Internet and can be searched easily. Despite the extreme restrictions of some sources requesting payments, thanks to hackers and their websites, almost all published scientific papers are accessible for free. However, research published decades ago and beyond is still only available as hard copies in a few libraries, and searching for it is extremely difficult, if not impossible.

Professor Channa Ratnatunga (CR), Emeritus Professor of Surgery at the University of Peradeniya stepped in to fill this void by compiling a bibliography of research conducted in Sri Lanka on surgery and its related fields. As a distinguished scientific researcher and prolific writer himself, he took great care to list every article written by Sri Lankan surgeons from 1850 to 2021 in any journal and categorize them according to different specialties and sections, which facilitates research.

This colossal task was accomplished by CR himself despite ill health due to a cerebrovascular event suffered a few years ago. Professor AH Sheriffdeen, Emeritus Professor of Surgery at the University of Colombo and the eminent vascular and transplant surgeon who performed the first kidney transplant in Sri Lanka by writing a preface to the book, marvels at the amount of work and research that went into this valuable publication.

Entitled “A Bibliography of Sri Lankan Surgical Research”, the book has 286 A4 pages and the names of the authors of each publication are highlighted in bold for easy reading. The font size of 12 would help even visually impaired elderly readers to easily browse the content. The chapters on articles related to the history of surgery in Sri Lanka, surgical basics and overviews would be useful even to non-medical researchers and writers.

The topics of these chapters, especially articles published over 100 years ago, will inspire readers to rush either to the Sri Lanka Medical Library or to the University of Peradeniya Library to read and enjoy their content. interesting.

Ananda Press printers should be applauded for the elegant finish. The College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka has taken the initiative to publish this book as part of its Golden Jubilee celebrations. This gesture bodes well with their theme this year and will be a worthwhile investment to their younger members.

CR has also gone the extra mile to include summaries of presentations made in various scientific forums in that country. It must have been a Herculean task. Many of these proceedings and abstract books may not be readily available to researchers, and the content may not have undergone the rigorous peer review which is the hallmark of quality assurance in research. Whether this extra effort is worth it in the long run would be questionable.

Being modest and unpretentious, CR did not even print his name on the cover page, giving full credit to the publisher – The College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka which he chaired in 2003. This shows his clear intentions. by compiling this book – not for personal gain but to perpetuate a research culture among aspiring surgeons. In the prologue, he writes: “It is expected that this will help fuel future research on surgical diseases in Sri Lanka, and will also become a valuable resource for reviews of the literature on the same.” It is now up to young surgeons to pay tribute to RC for this tireless project, leading better research leading to better patient outcomes. Professor Channa Ratnatunga has given you the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of giants to see far! Please take the opportunity !!

The book is available at the College of Surgeons Sri Lanka, No. 6, Independence Avenue, Colombo 7. The electronic copy is available free of charge from the official website of the College of Surgeons of
Sri Lanka –

Book Info
A bibliography of surgical research in Sri Lanka
Compiled by Channa Ratnatunga
Published by the College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka
Commented by Anuruddha Abeygunasekera

Looking for an ideal partner? Find your soul mate on, Sri Lanka’s favorite marriage proposal page. With dating ads, you have access to thousands of ads from potential suitors who are looking for someone like you.

About Mark A. Tomlin

Check Also

Roadmap for a literature review

By Prof. RA Seetha Bandara, Board Member of the Sri …