|Year : 2015 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 238-253
Literature searches on Ayurveda: An update
Madhur G Aggithaya, Saravu R Narahari
Institute of Applied Dermatology, Kasaragod, Kerala, India
|Date of Web Publication||20-May-2016|
Madhur G Aggithaya
Institute of Applied Dermatology, IAD Junction, Uliyathadka, Madhur Road, Kasaragod - 671 124, Kerala
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
| Abstract|| |
Introduction: The journals that publish on Ayurveda are increasingly indexed by popular medical databases in recent years. However, many Eastern journals are not indexed biomedical journal databases such as PubMed. Literature searches for Ayurveda continue to be challenging due to the nonavailability of active, unbiased dedicated databases for Ayurvedic literature. In 2010, authors identified 46 databases that can be used for systematic search of Ayurvedic papers and theses. This update reviewed our previous recommendation and identified current and relevant databases. Aims: To update on Ayurveda literature search and strategy to retrieve maximum publications. Methods: Author used psoriasis as an example to search previously listed databases and identify new. The population, intervention, control, and outcome table included keywords related to psoriasis and Ayurvedic terminologies for skin diseases. Current citation update status, search results, and search options of previous databases were assessed. Eight search strategies were developed. Hundred and five journals, both biomedical and Ayurveda, which publish on Ayurveda, were identified. Variability in databases was explored to identify bias in journal citation. Results: Five among 46 databases are now relevant – AYUSH research portal, Annotated Bibliography of Indian Medicine, Digital Helpline for Ayurveda Research Articles (DHARA), PubMed, and Directory of Open Access Journals. Search options in these databases are not uniform, and only PubMed allows complex search strategy. “The Researches in Ayurveda” and “Ayurvedic Research Database” (ARD) are important grey resources for hand searching. About 44/105 (41.5%) journals publishing Ayurvedic studies are not indexed in any database. Only 11/105 (10.4%) exclusive Ayurveda journals are indexed in PubMed. Conclusion: AYUSH research portal and DHARA are two major portals after 2010. It is mandatory to search PubMed and four other databases because all five carry citations from different groups of journals. The hand searching is important to identify Ayurveda publications that are not indexed elsewhere. Availability information of citations in Ayurveda libraries from National Union Catalogue of Scientific Serials in India if regularly updated will improve the efficacy of hand searching. A grey database (ARD) contains unpublished PG/Ph.D. theses. The AYUSH portal, DHARA (funded by Ministry of AYUSH), and ARD should be merged to form single larger database to limit Ayurveda literature searches.
Keywords: Complementary and alternative medicine, integrative medicine, library science, psoriasis, search engine, systematic review
|How to cite this article:|
Aggithaya MG, Narahari SR. Literature searches on Ayurveda: An update. AYU 2015;36:238-53
| Introduction|| |
Literature searches for articles on Ayurveda continue to throw challenges, albeit Indian journals that publish on Ayurveda and other traditional Indian Systems of Medicine are increasingly indexed by popular medical databases. Previous work on systematic search for Ayurvedic papers and thesis identified 46 databases. In 2010, it was concluded that Ayurvedic articles were scattered and just 33 Ayurvedic journals published regularly either in print or electronically. Recently, biomedical journals also began publishing articles on Ayurveda and the number of exclusive Ayurveda journals increased. Currently, there are new and more comprehensive databases for traditional medicine. This paper is an update on Ayurveda literature search and its strategy to retrieve maximum publications.
| Methods|| |
The study was conducted using psoriasis as an example and limited to publications in English language. However, the word psoriasis does not appear in the glossary of Ayurveda. Kusta is the general term used for skin diseases. The search was not restricted to any type of studies or published year. Since there are very few randomized controlled trials (RCTs) available for Ayurveda, our search was extended to all types of study designs. Author adopted the methodology of our previous publication and improved on search for Ayurvedic literature.
Before conducting a search for relevant articles, the research questions were structured, that might yield maximum Ayurveda papers on psoriasis from traditional medicine and biomedical journals. The search focused on all types of interventions primarily because of the no/less availability of relevant articles and absence of options for narrowing the search terms in databases except in PubMed. A population, intervention, control, and outcome (PICO) table including all the words related to psoriasis and Kusta was developed [Table 1].Kusta is the terminology used to describe 18 types of skin diseases. Among them, Kitibha and Eka resemble chronic plaque psoriasis, Mandala similar to guttate psoriasis and vipadika for palmo plantar psoriasis. By keeping in mind the possibility of the different clinical subsets as inclusion criteria of clinical trial, the keyword Kusta which is a hyponym, rather than mentioning the 18 types of skin diseases separately was added. The different spellings used for Kusta (Kusta/Kustha/kushta/kushtha) were added to keywords list. Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases  were searched to find out the medicinal plants used for psoriasis, Dravyaguna Vijnana, (a textbook on compilation of herbs used in Ayurveda), to identify the vernacular names and the database of medicinal plants  for identifying different spellings for Sanskrit names of medicinal plants in English. For example, the drug Acacia catechu Linn. is Khadira which is also spelt as khadirah in English. The scoring systems used for psoriasis, the quality of life (QoL) tools in psoriasis, and general QoL tools used for dermatology  were used as outcome measures.
|Table 1: Population, intervention, control, and outcome table for psoriasis containing keywords of Ayurveda and biomedicine|
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The 46 databases listed in previous work were searched by author. The databases were categorized under Indian databases, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) databases, biomedical databases, Open access databases, clinical trial registries, and grey literature databases. We searched Google  and PubMed to identify new bibliographic databases using keyword, ayurved* AND bibliographic database. Author also searched Boehm et al., 2010, and contacted other research organizations  to identify any new Ayurveda databases. The current relevance of databases was determined based on the update status, search results, and journals cited and if they have updated the search options. Those databases which did not cite the clinical trials related to Ayurveda and the subsets of larger databases were considered irrelevant for the search strategy. For example, CAM on PubMed is the subset of PubMed, which lists the information available in PubMed. Current relevance of all 46 databases listed in our previous publication was re-evaluated [Table 2].
|Table 2: The current status and relevance of the databases listed in Narahari et al. (2010) for searching clinical studies of Ayurveda|
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A list of 105 journals publishing on Ayurveda was prepared by referring the international catalog of Ayurvedic publications  and a portal on systematic reviews in Ayurveda. These journals were searched in the databases which cite Ayurveda research publications. Annotated Bibliography of Indian Medicine (ABIM) and Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) have no option for searching based on journals. AYUSH research portal and Digital Helpline for Ayurveda Research Articles (DHARA) have separate option for journal search. PubMed search is done using [jou] as suffix for journal name.
The 46 databases listed in previous work were searched by author. National Union Catalogue of Scientific Serials in India (NUCSSI) was searched to identify the journals not indexed in any bibliographic databases. Using psoriasis as the keyword, the following databases were searched - the researches in Ayurveda-A classified directory of all India PG and PhD thesis of Ayurveda, Ayurvedic research database (5th ed., Institute of Post Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, Jamnagar, India), a CD-ROM containing full text version of Ayurvedic theses of Institute of Post Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, Jamnagar, National Institute of Ayurveda, Jaipur, and Digital Library initiative, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Karnataka, for postgraduate and postdoctoral theses.
| Results|| |
Only 5 databases among 46 listed in 2010 are now relevant [Table 3]. In open access databases, DOAJ is beneficial to search for Ayurvedic literature. There were two new open access initiatives in Ayurveda funded by the Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India, DHARA, and AYUSH research portal. AYUSH research portal cites bibliographic information of 19,839 articles. Among them, 13,656 articles are related to Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, (1396), Unani (2020), Siddha (607), and Homeopathy (2160) systems of medicine. DHARA had bibliographic information of 54,389 articles from 4476 journals and cited 13 journals related to Ayurveda and 129 journals not indexed in PubMed. ABIM contains more than 50,000 citations. In total, ABIM, DHARA, and AYUSH research portal contained maximum Ayurveda publications. PubMed cites the bibliographic information of Ayurvedic articles published in biomedical journals; DOAJ has 4 Ayurvedic journals which are not cited in other 4 databases and 14 journals which are not indexed in PubMed [Table 4].
|Table 3: The search strategy adopted for major databases citing Ayurveda publications|
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Eight search terms were developed for searching the above five databases for relevant publications [Table 5]. The number of articles retrieved by the search term psoriasis and ayur* [#3 of [Table 5] are ABIM (62), DHARA (46), AYUSH research portal (83), PubMed (21), and DOAJ (11). The journals and the articles cited in each databases for “Psoriasis and ayur*” are listed and compared for the purpose of the relevance and variability in citations [Figure 1]. There was variability in citations of each journal. For example, three databases cited them differently for “Journal of Research in Ayurveda and Siddha (JRAS)” – ABIM (11), DHARA (3), and AYUSH research portal (12). PubMed and DOAJ did not retrieve any articles. Although the journal “Ancient science of life” is cited in DOAJ, it did not yield the articles related with #3 [Figure 1]. Among 105 journals of Ayurveda, 43 (40%) are not indexed in any databases [Figure 2].
|Table 5: The yield for search terms in five major databases for Ayurveda literature search|
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|Figure 1: The yields from five databases while searching with “psoriasis AND ayur*”|
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|Figure 2: The journal citations of five bibliographic databases. Hundred and five journals, which publish Ayurveda research publications, were searched for citation relevance of databases|
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Search options for ABIM, DHARA, AYUSH research portal, and DOAJ are not uniform. ABIM allows simple search and does not support Boolean operators as in PubMed. It also displays the article names differently, for example, “Efficacy of \'sa\'s\=a\.nkalekhayoga on psoriasis” instead of “Efficacy of sasankalekhayoga on psoriasis.” AYUSH research portal has no option to use Boolean operators. However, it has an option for limiting the search into Ayurveda, Siddha, Homeopathy, Yoga, Unani, and Sowa Rigpa (called Amchi or Tibetan Medicine). AYUSH research portal showed 143 articles for “psoriasis” [Table 4]— Ayurveda (83), Yoga (9), Homeopathy (8), Siddha (19), and Unani medicine (16). When search was limited to “clinical research” under “Ayurveda” subcategory, 50 articles were listed. Six of them had evidence Grade B (evidence Levels IIa, b, and III) and 44 of evidence level C (evidence Level IV). DHARA also focused on journals which are not listed in PubMed as well as those listed in PubMed. Of 881 journals, 14 are related to Ayurveda and 15 journals are not indexed in PubMed. DHARA did not support search string with multiple Boolean operators. Only PubMed allows complex search strategy, and all other databases are inferior in limiting yield. Around 30 articles were retrieved in PubMed while combining the botanical names with psoriasis (search term #5 of [Table 5]). The search using search term #5 of [Table 5] was not performed in other four databases since they are not supporting complex search terms.
Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific Projects (CRISP) listed in our previous paper is currently not available. Center Watch is not relevant for search of Ayurvedic trials. International Clinical Trial Registry Platform (ICTRP) search portal  provides access to a central database containing the trial registration data sets provided by important registries worldwide. No separate search is needed to identify trials in individual registries such as Clinical Trial Registry of India (CTRI) and clinicaltrials.gov. ICTRP search portal yielded for ayur*221 trial; among them, CTRI yielded 200 trials, ClinicalTrials.gov 15 trials, and SLCTR 6 trials. The independent search of CTRI yielded 323 trials for ayu*.
Google Scholar yielded about 5640 articles for ayur* or ayur, about 60,600 results when searching Ayurveda, and about 4560 results when searching with keyword, “psoriasis AND ayur*.” The yield was very vague. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPE) is the collective information of 39 patent offices in which Intellectual Property India (IPI) is not included. WIPE yielded 68 documents, and IPI yielded nine documents for the keyword - psoriasis AND Ayurveda. However, they were prior to journal publication information. It was difficult to identify the Ayurvedic conference abstracts in any grey databases.
Among 105 journals which publish Ayurvedic literature, 25 (23.6%) journals are online only. Author searched NUCSSI to identify the journals holdings data, and the information on 65 (61%) of 81 print journals was available [Table 5]. The researches in Ayurveda-A classified directory of all India PG and Ph.D. thesis of Ayurveda, Ayurvedic research database was regularly updated. However, the National Institute of Ayurveda, Jaipur, and Digital Library initiative, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Karnataka, were not updated from 2005.
| Discussion|| |
Among 46 databases identified by us in 2010, only 5 databases are currently relevant in searching for Ayurvedic papers. ABIM, DHARA, and AYUSH research portal contain exclusively Ayurveda journals and studies. PubMed and DOAJ are biomedical databases citing the bibliographic information of Ayurvedic articles published in biomedical journals. Latter two also list Ayurvedic journals that do not appear in exclusive Ayurveda databases. In Narahari et al., 2010, there were no databases exclusively for Ayurveda except ABIM, created by Jan Meulenbeld from the Netherlands. There were two new bibliographic databases for Ayurveda after 2010. It is mandatory to search all five databases because all carry citations from different groups of journals, and although cited, all databases did not cite all the articles of a journal. Only PubMed allows complex search strategy. The term psoriasis and ayur* (#3 of [Table 5]) retrieved articles in all databases, that is, ABIM (62), DHARA (46), AYUSH research portal (83), PubMed (21), and DOAJ (11) [Table 5]. The journal citations in each of the databases vary [Figure 1]. Among 105 Ayurveda journals, 43 (40%) are not indexed in any of the databases [Table 4]. Thirty articles were retrieved in PubMed while combining the botanical names used for psoriasis, as mentioned in ethnobotany and Charaka Samhitha, with psoriasis (#5 of [Table 4]). There was no difference in PubMed yield while botanical names were replaced by keyword “ayur*” (#3 of [Table 5]).
Well-structured research question guides many aspects of the review process, including determining eligibility criteria, searching for studies, collecting data from included studies, and presenting findings. The “clinical question” should specify types of population (participants), interventions (and comparisons), and outcomes that are of interest (PICO table). Narahari et al. discussed an ideal method of developing a structured questionnaire. This is essential for both clinical trials and systematic reviews in Ayurveda. The PICO table should list the keywords thought to be helpful to search the publications that might have discussed the subject of research question. The criteria for considering population should be broad enough to identify diversified studies; albeit, sufficiently narrow to identify the studies relevant to the concerned research question. Age, gender, community, and setting of the patients of population are helpful to narrow the search in PubMed. Original descriptions of diseases in Ayurveda are written in Sanskrit. The name of the disease in Sanskrit language should be used for searching for papers. The synonymous words for disease name are identified and used (e.g., kitibha kusta or kitibha, mandala kusta or mandala in Ayurveda). The subtypes of the disease entity, if any, are also added as keywords. Since the disease name is written with different spellings in English, different spellings in use for the same word are also mentioned as keywords for our search. The biomedical disease comparable in signs and symptoms of Ayurveda disease entity should be considered (e.g. kitibha kusta correlated with plaque psoriasis, mandala kusta is synonymous with guttate psoriasis). The university degree curriculum in Ayurveda (graduate, postgraduate, and postdoctoral) includes many components from biomedicine. Several Ayurveda medical colleges and symposia offer training in equivalent biomedical terminology. Numerous English translations of Ayurveda terminologies are published in India as continuing medical education articles, historical translations, or medical text books  although not supported by clinical studies. These could be referred as easy guide to select more keywords.
The intervention may be traditional formulation written for the disease in classical books of Ayurveda. The botanical names of the ingredients of the classical formulations should be considered for searching. Single drug formulation should be considered for this section. The 10 general drugs used in the treatment of Kusta [Table 1] are also added as intervention for psoriasis. Charaka Samhitha has listed 10 important herbs (Agra Oushadha) which are widely used for the treatment of skin diseases. The botanicals also searched through Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases which is developed by James A. Duke, Fulton, Maryland. This database contains information on the activity of chemicals in plants, ethnobotanical uses for plants, and searchable by plant (scientific or common name), its chemical ingredient, or activity. Total 45 botanical names were found for psoriasis. They were used for inclusion in PICO. For broader search, terms such as herb*, indigenous, and Ayur* were used. Other important keywords used were from the therapeutics of Ayurveda such as panchakarma and shodhana. “Herbal” and “indigenous” are found in papers on phytomedicine and they too were included as keywords. The comparison may be classical formulation, active controlled, placebo controlled, or historical controlled. In search for articles related to vitiligo, the comparative trials with 2–6 groups of intervention, pre- and post-intervention (case series), and case reports were found. Although there are increased trends of controlled clinical trials, comparative trials are mostly found.
The Phalashruthi, the expected benefit from a formulation of Ayurveda, is described in all classical textbooks. In PICO, author used them as outcome measures either as keyword or its comparable biomedical term or clinical description. Specific terminology for phalashruthi of vitiligo is savarneekarana (repigmentation similar to surrounding skin color). However, there is no specific term used for psoriasis. This is because psoriasis is a comparable biomedical diagnosis of four different names of traditional Ayurveda literature. Different scales of biomedicine were included because Ayurvedic studies use them to show their effectiveness - for example, Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) score for psoriasis. In QoL tools, both disease specific health-related QoL tools were used to find out patient's QoL in our search.
As there is no option to restrict the search items, broader search terms were included. Only PubMed allows complex search application by combining multiple keywords in PICO manner. Other databases are not comprehensive to allow a complex search strategy. The keywords such as Kusta/Kushta/Kustha did not narrow the search to Ayurveda and psoriasis. For example, PubMed retrieved articles bearing author name “Kusta” for keyword kusta and author “Kuchta” instead of the keyword Kushta. PubMed retrieved articles of two different skin diseases mentioned in Ayurvedic literature when author used the search term #3 (Psoriasis AND Ayu*). They were Eka and Mandala. When author used Kusta/Kushta/Kushtha for search, all studies on psoriasis were not cited. This is because some article used keywords Eka Kushtha or Ekakushtha or Ekkakushtha. Hence, did not add kusta related keywords in search terms [Table 5]. It was difficult to narrow the search for relevant articles since the vernaculars are the same for multiple herbs. For example, Haritaki and Amalaki are also known as “Vayastha”(rejuvenate); Amrutha is also used for similar meaning (increased lifespan). Some papers used this name as an outcome measure (phalashruthi) due to its action. The change in spellings of vernacular names poses difficulty in searching. Another example is C. fistula. It is spelt as Aragwadha, Aragvadha, or Aragvadah in English. There are 18 variables for 6 vernacular names in Sanskrit for C. fistula [Table 1]. Dravyaguna Vijnana textbook was searched to identify the vernacular names and the database of medicinal plants  for identifying different spellings for Sanskrit names of medicinal plants in English. Author have searched these variables; however, six variables are found to be suitable for Aragvadha in PubMed.
When PubMed was searched using binary name of the species, it uses Boolean “AND” in between two words. For example, while searching C. fistula, PubMed searches Cassia AND fistula, that is, cassia (MeSH terms) OR cassia (all fields) AND fistula (all fields) OR Cassia fistula (all fields). The search yielded different species bearing Cassia; Cassia italic, Cassia occidentalis, Cassia grandis, and an author bearing the name “Cassia.” Search on PubMed using 45 plants listed in Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Database yielded 12 articles. The plants were Cassia tora, Juniperus oxycedrus, Momordica charantia, Nerium indicum, Nerium olendar, Oryza sativa, Piper longum, Psoralea corylifolia, Rehmannia glutenosa, Sambucus canadensis, and Sambucus nigra. While searching the 10 important herbs (Agra Oushadha) for skin diseases, as mentioned in Charaka Samhitha, A. catechu, Curcuma longa, C. fistula, and N. indicum yielded articles.
The current relevance of previous 46 databases was determined based on the update status, search results, journals cited, and if they have updated the search options. Those databases which did not cite the clinical trials related with Ayurveda and the subsets of larger databases were termed as irrelevant for search. The databases were listed under six subcategories – Indian databases, CAM databases, biomedical databases, open access databases, clinical trial registries, and grey literature database. In Indian databases, one is relevant (ABIM) and one is not updated (IndMed) and other 14 databases were not relevant. Among 13 CAM databases listed previously, none was relevant. Four of five biomedical databases were not relevant. In open access databases, DOAJ is beneficial to search for Ayurvedic literature. There were two new databases, AYUSH research portal and DHARA; both were funded by the Ministry of AYUSH [Table 3]. While searching for both databases using psoriasis AND ayur*, AYUSH portal yielded 12 articles of JRAS, a journal published by the department hosting it. DHARA, a project funded by the Ministry of AYUSH but hosted by The Ayurvedic Trust, AVP Group of Institutions, Coimbatore (AVP), yielded three articles of the same journal. AYUSH portal yielded only two articles of Ancient Science of life which are published by AVP. All other databases yielded five articles of ancient science of life. National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources (NISCAIR) has national science digital library which aims at providing comprehensive S and T information to students of science, engineering, and technology in India. There is one journal related to Ayurveda – Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge (IJTK). This is an interdisciplinary periodical of NISCAIR and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. IJTK is also cited in ABIM, AYUSH research portal, and DOAJ [Figure 1]. Hence, there is no need of separate searching of NISCAIR. Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) had maximum yields when compared with other databases. CCRAS is funding research activities in Ayurveda and publishes “Journal of Research in Ayurveda and Siddha (JRAS).” JRAS had a maximum number of publications on vitiligo. However, JRAS publications are now cited in ABIM, AYUSH research portal, and DOAJ [Figure 1], so searching CCRAS separately is not needed. The archives of Indian Journal of Medical Research were available in Indian Council of Medical Research website, now it is cited in ABIM and AYUSH research portal partially and PubMed has cited IJMR publications from 1945. The CAM databases were either subsets of other databases or contained no information regarding clinical trials. Hence, they were considered irrelevant.
There are an increased number of articles related with Ayurveda since 18 journals of our list are indexed in PubMed [Table 4]. Eight (72%) journals among them are not regularly published. PubMed has 11 journals when searched using the keyword ayur* in journals database, 56 journals while searching with ayur* OR herb*. Cochrane library retrieved Cochrane reviews, other reviews, and clinical trials in separate sections. Cochrane library retrieved four articles for the search term psoriasis AND ayur*. Two articles of AYU journal were cited twice. No systematic reviews were done for psoriasis in Ayurveda. South Asian Database of Controlled Clinical Trials  did not retrieve any article related to Ayurveda.
In general, 'electronic only' Ayurveda journals are available for free and 'print only' journals are available on subscription. DOAJ was the only source where maximum Ayurveda journals were cited [Figure 2]. Grey literature databases were the main sources of locating the literature that is not formally published in journals. They include proceedings of scientific meetings, dissertations, and nonpeer reviewed journals. Approximately, 10% of the studies referenced in Cochrane systematic reviews are from grey literature. Apart from published literature, Ayurvedic research information is mainly available on PG/PhD theses of different Ayurvedic institutions, conference proceedings, and blogs/other websites. It was difficult to identify the Ayurvedic conference abstracts in any grey databases. WIPE and IPI can be searched, and details would be obtained by contacting the investigator only. On searching Google Scholar the results were very vague. Clinical trial registries are important sources to retrieve ongoing studies along with the studies which are already completed. Clinical trial registries of India and Sri Lanka are the main sources to retrieve ongoing Ayurvedic trials. ICTRP search portal and a WHO owned search portal pool the results of 16 clinical trial registries worldwide. The trials registered in CTRI are updated on weekly basis. Apart from the clinical trial registries, ICTRP search portal retrieves trials registered in International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number (ISRCTN). The ISRCTN is a simple numeric system for the unique identification of RCTs and other forms of studies designed to assess the efficacy of health-care interventions worldwide.
Hand searching identifies studies in journals that may not have been indexed in any electronic database or may be indexed in such databases, where searching is impractical. Forty-four Ayurveda journals are not indexed in any bibliographic databases [Figure 2]. NUCSSI also not retrieved the journals not indexed in any bibliographic databases. Information on common paid CAM clinical journals is also not available in NUCCSI. This would pose challenge to Indian researchers to obtain the articles published in expensive CAM journals. The other major source of Ayurveda clinical data in India is the thesis works of postgraduate teaching departments. The National Institute of Ayurveda, Jaipur, and Digital Library initiative, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Karnataka, were not updated from 2005. Union Catalogue of Biomedical Serials in India (http://uncat.nic.in/) is not available now. IndCat citing theses of Banaras Hindu University is also not updated. This emphasizes the importance of hand searching, especially to identify Ayurveda publications. The information on few Ayurveda libraries is available in NUCSSI. There are Ayurveda colleges which have well-structured library with collection of printed journals which is not available elsewhere. Difficulty of hand searching in Ayurveda is explained in our previous paper. This is now made easier due to the constant effort of Prof. Baghel, Director of Institute for Postgraduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar. The researches in Ayurveda, International Catalogue of Ayurvedic Publications, compiled by Baghel, are the major sources to identify the research data which is not available electronically. Researches in Ayurveda have data on around 7700 thesis from all the postgraduate departments of Ayurveda colleges of India whereas International Catalogue of Ayurvedic Publications has over 4400 entries covering over 19 different subjects of Ayurveda. There is a new initiative “Researches in Ayurveda” a web edition of compiling 17,000 titles from more than 60 PG institutes of Ayurveda, from Prof. Baghel and Girish. This website is launched recently. In recognition of his pioneering contribution toward hand searching even before electronic version became popular in India, the hand searching method is named as Baghel's hand searching.
| Conclusion|| |
Comprehensive search is important before conducting research since it consolidates the evidence available on the same topic. Searching Ayurvedic databases continues to be difficult due to no options for searching complex search strings, poorly keyworded, and comprehensively not indexed, and existence of Ayurvedic literature outside electronic databases. Basic knowledge of Ayurveda and/or Sanskrit is an essential support to explore the complex Ayurvedic, Sanskrit terms used in study title and keywords. Author recommends medical subject headings for Ayurvedic literature. The listing of controlled vocabulary of Ayurveda search terms such as AYUSH tree (Ayurveda subject headings) is essential to create a standard thesaurus in Ayurveda. Also the postgraduate/postdoctoral curriculum in India should include proper training on current research methodologies. Proper training is needed for investigators, peer reviewers, journal editors, and members of research funding committees in India to ensure that high-quality research is done, documented, and listed. Institutional repositories should be encouraged to document postdoctoral/postgraduate Ayurveda theses. Many journals are emerging in Ayurveda and some are cited in comprehensive databases such as PubMed. However, there are many journals with substandard articles, without the peer review process. Many other journals are author pay; the charges range from $175 to $250. This is huge money for Indian authors where maximum clinical studies on Ayurveda are conducted. This limits publishing in such international journals. The Government of India, Ministry of AYUSH, should manage the database program more effectively by merging all databases under it or funded by it and adding search options. This would save resource sufficient to manage the unified AYUSH portal professionally.
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Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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[Figure 1], [Figure 2]
[Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5]