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Before I start explaining my experience, it is best to begin with part of my background and where I am from, because it will help understand my point of view. I am a paediatrician; graduated almost 2 years ago and have been working on research for 2 1/2 years; my formation on research has been online courses and some other courses. I live in the Dominican Republic, an island from the Caribbean region and it is an upper middle-income country supposedly by the World Bank statistics.
Therefore our country doesn’t have proper courses for research formation and has only one grant call annually in the country; so most of the research is by international projects with specific interest and other research done is mostly descriptive research.
Because of that, a variety of research topics can be approached here in a naïve form. But that also means that older researchers tend to work on specific topics that are the most profitable and locate them in more administrative levels; also research here is not a primary job.
With that background detailed; my experience as a junior researcher has been good experience; because of the lack of research on some areas and my area of expertise I have done mostly research on acute watery diarrhoea on infants approximately 5 to 6 studies on the topic. I have published 1 article in an international journal, 1 is still in evaluation, others are in national journals, and I have published a opinion article regarding diarrhoea in an international journal.
Also I have worked in thesis counselling and as a chief editor on a journal on my country because of my previous experience on research, and because of the lack of journals here, the idea of innovation to open a journal is well observed. As a junior researcher I have had a good experience, but it is mostly because I work with other friends and we decided not to work with profitable topics such as HIV, because it could generate conflict of interest here, so we tend to work with topics that are not researched but are important.
Also right now I am part of a phase 4 clinical trial regarding Hunter disease.
In my country depending on your goals you can work on research, but not as a primary job; mine is my paediatric profession and academic part; then the research part; after one comprehends that much, you need to think what line of research you would like to work on, and if that line of work in your country would generate conflict of interest (meaning that older researchers wont let you scale up the ladder), that is a very important part. When you understand those two things you need to work in a place which can innovate with your research and be seen, so you can network a lot; that is the reason of how I think I had a good experience so far.
Doing what you like, giving it all you got, and finding people that like what you like so you can exchange experience, information and ideas.