UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Increasing health policy and systems research capacity in low- and middle-income countries: results from a bibliometric analysis English, Krista M; Pourbohloul, Babak


Background: For 20 years, substantial effort has been devoted to catalyse health policy and systems research (HPSR) to support vulnerable populations and resource-constrained regions through increased funding, institutional capacity-building and knowledge production; yet, participation from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is underrepresented in HPSR knowledge production. Methods: A bibliometric analysis of HPSR literature was conducted using a high-level keyword search. Health policy and/or health systems literature with a topic relevant to LMICs and whose lead author’s affiliation is in an LMIC were included for analysis. The trends in knowledge production from 1990 to 2015 were examined to understand how investment in HPSR benefits those it means to serve. Results: The total number of papers published in PubMed increases each year. HPSR publications represent approximately 10% of these publications, but this percentage is increasing at a greater rate than PubMed publications overall and the discipline is holding this momentum. HPSR publications with topics relevant to LMICs and an LMIC-affiliated lead authors (specifically from low-income countries) are increasing at a greater rate than any other category within the scope of this analysis. Conclusions: While the absolute number of publications remains low, lead authors from an LMIC have participated exponentially in the life and biomedical sciences (PubMed) since the early 2000s. HPSR publications with a topic relevant to LMICs and an LMIC lead author continue to increase at a greater rate than the life and biomedical science topics in general. This correlation is likely due to increased capacity for research within LMICs and the support for publications surrounding large HPSR initiatives. These findings provide strong evidence that continued support is key to the longevity and enhancement of HPSR toward its mandate.

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