Geneva Health Forum: What is our vision of access to and use of health research information in LMICs in 2030?

22 February, 2020

Dear HIFA colleagues,

Thank you for your contributions so far as we prepare for the HIFA Roundtable on Access to health research information, at the Geneva Health Forum, 8am on 24 March. For those who are able to come to Geneva we look forward to see you there. For the majority who are unable to participate in person, I would like to invite you to share your thoughts and experience here on the HIFA forum. Joseph Ana and I will collate all of your contributions as a key component of, and basis for, the Roundtable.

For further information see here:

I would like to invite your thoughts in relation to Question 1:

What is our vision of access to and use of health research information in LMICs in 2030?

To get us started, here are some suggestions:

By 2030, there will be massive improvement in the production, publication and use of quality health research information:

1. The quality of health research will be demonstrably improved. Users of research will be able to instantly see expert (and/or AI) assessment of the quality of individual research papers.

2. The quality of health research authorship and publishing will be demonstrably improved, from the quality of submissions to the quality of the published papers.

3. Low-quality journals will be uncommon and easily identifiable. Predatory journals will be eliminated.

4. There will be demonstrable improvement in the indexing of health research information: WHO's Global Index Medicus will be strengthened so that it can truly close the gap between Medline-indexed content (which is US-centric) and other content.

5. The vast majority of new health research information will be published under a form of open access, freely available to all

6. The vast majority of health research information published in the previous 10 years (at least), including that currently only available through payment, will be made freely available under a form of open access, freely available to all.

7. Accesss to quality health research information in different languages will be demonstrably improved. Research papers will always include the abstract (high-quality, manual, professional translation) in the language(s) of the majority who would benefit from it most. For example, if health research from Mozambique is published in an English-language journal, at least the abstract will be available in Portuguese. Users in any language will be able to easily use machine translation to read the research in their own language.

8. Systematic reviews will routinely embrace health research in all languages, rather than just English.

9. Specific cases: Research findings relevant to public health emergencies and other priority situations as defined by WHO will be shared immediately with WHO, upon journal submission, by the journal and with author knowledge. The findings will be made available via preprint servers before journal publication, or via platforms that make papers openly accessible before peer review, with clear statements regarding the availability of underlying data. Authors will be clear that data or preprints shared ahead of submission will not pre-empt its publication in these journals.

I look forward to your comments on any of the above! Please send as usual to:

Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, HIFA Project on Access to Health Research (supported by The Lancet and Elsevier)

Coordinator, HIFA Project on Evidence-Informed Policy and Practice (sponsorship opportunity)

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: