Track and publish research impact – call to journal

TDR news item
31 March 2014

A call for tracking and publishing the impact of research to public health has been made in a perspective article in Public Health Action (PHA), an open-access journal of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. The authors propose that the journal goes beyond the published paper and becomes a forum for assessing whether research published has made a difference.

Authors included staff from the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and TDR. All are involved in the Structured Operational Research and Training Initiative (SORT IT), a global partnership led by TDR. They describe the efforts of SORT IT to monitor the effect of operational research on policy and practice and the challenges faced in trying to assess this.

They propose that PHA create a new section entitled “Research to Policy and Practice” where authors would self-report on whether their research has made a difference. This, they say, could be the first step towards a journal-based observatory that systematically tracks this operational research outcome.

A series of papers published in the Lancet (2014) made the point that research is considered a waste if it does not impact on health care. Citing that work, the authors propose a role for journals in monitoring the impact of published articles, and whether, in particular, it has contributed to the optimal use of available resources or an improvement in the effectiveness of health care or health system interventions.

The authors end with the question, “Can PHA cross this Rubicon?”

For more information, contact:

Andy Ramsay (

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