Communicating health research (46) Q1. What do we mean by Effective communication of health research? (12) How do we measure it? (5)

18 September, 2022

The central question in our discussion is: What are the most impactful methods for researchers to communicate their research to policymakers so that the research is seen and applied?

With this in mind, I would like to ask all researchers (and others) on HIFA:

Have you ever published a paper? Did it make a difference to policy or practice? Or was it ignored?

Please let us know your experience!

Meanwhile, I was interested to see that Google Scholar publishes 'most influential papers' each year. It bases this on citations - easy enough to measure, but does the number of citations correlate with whether or not the research is seen and applied in policy and practice? I suspect there is a weak correlation. The most cited medical paper of 2021, however, has indeed been referenced also in almost 100 policy documents to date.


Google Scholar reveals its most influential papers for 2021

Read in full:

'Early clinical observations of COVID-19 and its mortality risk factors among the most cited output, while a five-year-old AI paper continues to command attention.

'COVID-19-related papers have eclipsed artificial intelligence research in the annual listing of the most highly-cited publications in the Google Scholar database. The most highly cited COVID-19 paper, published in The Lancet in early 2020, has garnered more than 30,000 citations to date (see below for paper summary)...

'Published in February 2020, this is one of the earliest papers to describe the clinical characteristics of COVID-19. It was authored by researchers in China and doctors working in hospitals in Wuhan, the city where COVID-19 was first detected in late 2019...

'The final sentences of the paper call for robust and rapid testing, because of the likelihood of the disease spreading out of control...

'The paper has been referenced or cited in almost 100 policy documents to date, including several released by the World Health Organization on topics such as mask-wearing and clinical care of patients with severe symptoms...'


Best wishes, Neil

Joint Coordinator, HIFA Communicating health research

Let's build a future where every person has access to reliable healthcare information and is protected from misinformation - Join HIFA:

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health movement (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. HIFA brings stakeholders together to accelerate progress towards universal access to reliable healthcare information. HIFA is administered by Global Healthcare Information Network, a UK based non-profit in official relations with the World Health Organization. Twitter: @hifa_org