December 2022
Interview Scientific Journals News

Why Is the Latest Issue of Scripta Scientifica Salutis Publicae Special—Assoc. Prof. Klara Dokova Tells Us

A few days ago the Varna Medical University Press online platform for periodicals provided free access to the latest issue of Scripta Scientifica Salutis Publicae. This time the English-language edition, which publishes articles in the field of public health, presents a different issue, Supplement 1 for 2021, presents a total of 13 new authors.

Assoc. prof. Klara Dokova tells us who they are and why the issue is special.

Assoc. prof. Dokova, the latest issue of Scripta Scientifica Salutis Publicae is composed entirely of articles by students from the Medical University of Varna. Tell us more about this idea and its realization.

We are extremely thankful to Varna Medical University Press for supporting this mission—to provide a platform for all our students to publish their works.

Let us explain that the authors in the special edition of Scripta Scientifica Salutis Publicae (SSSP) are medical students (from our English-language program), who have been enrolled in the elective discipline: Medical Sociology and Psychology, in the 2020–2021 academic year.

The practical training in the discipline, taught by Ch. assist. Nikolay Mihaylov, introduces and provides skills needed to work using quality methods of sociological research. During the lectures we present basic theoretical sociological models applied to problems in the medical profession and the organization of medicine and healthcare. The theoretical models must be part of the basis of scientific research.

During the semester the students, individually or in teams, conducted their own quality research on a topic selected by them. The best works, chosen by the assessing team (Ch. assist. Mihaylov and I), were invited to this special issue of our faculty journal after proper revisions according to the requirements for a scientific article.

You are part of the editorial team of the journal. Are there plans for such collaboration with students to become a regular event?

We, the lecturers from the Faculty of Public Health and the University, believe it is our task and responsibility to encourage and prepare the students for conducting research. The fruits of these mutual efforts and work with the students bring us a feeling of satisfaction. In addition, we believe in the students themselves—researchers and authors. Each person who has participated in the creative scientific process and seen their work on the pages of a scientific journal knows the joy and meaning that this process brings. The interest in the elective discipline is very high. This year we will have more students who are motivated and ready for work.

This convinces me that the good start will lead to more such initiatives. We are sure that each year we will have one student’s issue of Scripta Scientifica Salutis Publicae, which will document the first research attempts of future famous, world renowned scientists.

What advice will you offer to future authors of publications? When are they ready to produce their first article and to what must they pay attention?

Each student, admitted to our University, is prepared and encouraged right from the first year to not only read critically and use scientific research results, but also to participate in the research of the academic staff of the University.

There is no exact moment of being “ready”. It is more of a constant process of learning by doing throughout the entire life, which should start from the first year of training. As experienced as one might be, each consecutive research topic brings something new, new skills, which are always useful and will open doors in the future.

My advice is never to compromise with scientific ethics and quality standards. In this regard we must be absolutists. I also encourage students to try research without any apprehension—in the beginning it may seem difficult, because it is unknown, but they can receive support from academic mentors.

In this respect, even though the articles included in the special issue of SSSP are done entirely by students and there are no lecturers’ names among the authors, we are not worried. The publications are sound and will serve as a model for presenting quality studies still searching for their place in the field of public health research in our country.

The entire issue, Supplement 1 of Scripta Scientifica Salutis Publicae from 2021, is available online here.
Have fun reading it!