Highlights of HIFA discussion: How can health research from LMICs be made more accessible?

10 July, 2016

From 6 June to 3 July 2016 HIFA hosted a thematic discussion around an important and neglected question: How can health research from low- and middle-income countries be made more accessible? This builds upon a previous, broader discussion on Access to Health Research, which led to the Manila Declaration on the Availability and Use of Health Research Information in and for Low- and Middle-income Countries in the Asia Pacific Region (26 August 2015).

Selected highlights of the discussion

Key issues raised

  • Low research capacity
  • Failure to publish research
  • Publishing charges
  • Prejudice against national journals
  • Prejudice against open access journals
  • Cochrane: moving towards open access and increased engagement of LMICs
  • World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) Position Statement on Promoting Global Health.

The discussion raised several further questions: 

  1. What percentage of health research in LMICs is never published?
  2. What more can be done to retain health researchers in LMICs?
  3. What percentage of dissertations (in Africa, in LMICs) are published? How can we encourage more academics to publish their dissertations?
  4. What can be done to remove prejudice against national journals?
  5. What can be done to remove prejudice against open access journals? What can be done to help researchers distinguish clearly between predatory journals and reputable OA journals?
  6. What is the current position of the Medical Council of India in relation to 'e-journals'? What is the position of other professional bodies in other countries?
  7. What is WAME doing (or would like to do) to help make the various parts of the statement a reality? What can other organisations (publishers, professional associations, HIFA) do to help accelerate progress?

If you can help answer any of these questions, please join HIFA!

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator

On behalf of the HIFA Access to Health Research working group