PLoS One. 2023 Jan 25;18(1):e0273181. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0273181. eCollection 2023.
BACKGROUND/AIM: The ever-increasing population and life expectancy worldwide increase the prevalence of ophthalmic diseases, and the need for ophthalmic research expands accordingly. In our study, we aimed to evaluate many aspects of the barriers, especially gender disparities, confronting ophthalmologists who aspire to conduct scientific research (SR).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this descriptive quantitative study, we distributed an online questionnaire to ophthalmologists in Turkey with 21 questions presented on a five-point Likert scale and two open-ended questions. The survey was prepared with Google forms. Participants were recruited via e-mail and social networks. A multicenter survey was conducted between January 29 and February 20, 2021, and a total of 210 valid responses were recorded.
RESULTS: Participants’ responses were grouped into four types of barriers: motivation, time constraints, research support, and competence. Participants’ motivation to conduct research was above average (3.54±0.96), but most stated that they have time constraints (3.74±0.97). Participants did not agree that there is adequate support for research (2.35±0.76), and they self assessed their level of the required competence to be average (2.87±1.08). Women were more motivated to do SR than men (p = 0.008), but there were no statistically significant differences between women and men in terms of time constraints, research support, and level of competence (p = 0.853, p = 0.482, and p = 0.558, respectively). Although there is no statistically significant difference between men and women regarding time constraints, female physicians mentioned more about the barriers arising from their personal responsibilities (p = 0.038).
CONCLUSIONS: Our study revealed that ophthalmologists are enthusiastic about doing SR but encounter obstacles with regard to time availability and research support. In addition, there is a need to reinforce competence in SR. Although female physicians are more motivated than men, they must deal with competing domestic responsibilities.