I started writing medical content in 2021. Before that, I had never published (or attempted to publish) anything related to medical content. Since then, I have published around 40-50 manuscripts, out of which, mostly are case reports. About 15 out of these are indexed in PubMed.

Still, I wonder, whether one is considered a researcher if they have not published any research per se, like me. Being a clinician who is not working in a university, opportunities to conduct research are minimal and it is out of your own interest that you continue academic writing.

Let me know your thoughts on this. Thank you!

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    Considered by who, for what purpose? Is your question distinct from "is a case study 'research'"?
    – Bryan Krause
    Apr 28, 2023 at 0:29
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    There is no universal official definition of a researcher. Some people will consider you a researcher; some people will not. Apr 28, 2023 at 0:49

2 Answers 2


We're sort of splitting hairs and atoms here, but yes, if I understand you well, you are a researcher. You actively, apparently, contribute to the peer reviewed academic literature, even if it's only in case reports. Just because you don't do pathbreaking work on medical statistics or whatever doesn't make you less of a researcher, it just makes you a different kind of researcher, and that's perfectly okay. If there were someone outside academia who just so happened to have my skills and expertise who was able to publish research, then yeah, they're a researcher all the same as I am.

  • It clears things up. Thank you Jared. Much appreciated.
    – Malaka
    Apr 29, 2023 at 10:38

I am a clinician who worked at tertiary / small hospitals for the first three years of my residency before transitioning to a university hospital.

Out of curiosity, I wonder where did you get all those cases from? Even by actively looking and reaching out to colleagues on a constant basis in my first years, I wasn't able to gather more than 3 or 4 cases per year that would add to the case report landscape.

Where are you located if I may ask? Also, what kind of case reports do you refer to? Clinical images? Classical case reports following CARE structure?

I can tell you that this is important. It will shape you as a research-minded doctor and increase your differential skills as well as your ability to think across disciplines. 15 PubMed-indexed case reports is an achievement!

  • Dear Dr. M, I worked as an Anaesthetist with a three-bedded ITU in a District General Hospital in Sri Lanka. We had several interesting patients presented to ITU. Reading out of interest and with colloborations with my colleagues, I noticed they were quite unusual and sometimes rare presentations of certain diseases. The collaborations continue even today and we discuss and write up important cases which include specialties of surgical, medical, anaesthetic and forensic medicine. We include images (with permission) if appropriate. Thank you for your valued feedback!
    – Malaka
    Apr 29, 2023 at 10:35
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    @ Malaka That is a superb achievement in my humble opinion - particularly in a world where many young residents argue that case reports "do not add to their habilitation" due to not counting as original work. My sincere congratulations!
    – Dr.M
    Apr 30, 2023 at 11:22

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