Promoting local research to improve global health
Global health is a rapidly evolving research field. Increased attention to global health challenges in the 21st century resulted in more funds being allocated towards the health needs of the world's population. There is very large apparent number of research avenues, options and questions that need to be addressed, and they are characterised by a remarkable diversity.
In comparison to many other fields of science, global health research has many specific features that may require different approaches to publishing. First, the research is often conducted on difficult questions, such as child and maternal mortality, under-nutrition, poverty and equity, lethal infections, capacity of health systems, violence and war and highly context-specific issues.
Second, it is often conducted in remarkably challenging settings, whether it involves low-resource areas, a situation of raging epidemics of a lethal disease, humanitarian settings and refugee camps, war-affected territories, or culturally highly sensitive research. In all those cases, the researchers can be at significant risk to their personal health and safety when conducting their studies.
Third, there is a need for much greater flexibility over the reports’ style in comparison to other academic journals. Even a very short report that carries valuable information that was missing and could have implications for policy - whether it is an observation of a start of an epidemic in a remote, under-resourced area, or a rare insight into an effect of a highly culturally sensitive issue on health - can have very large value. A substantial potential for translation of sporadic observations from low-resource settings into real-life policies is more important than the paper’s format.
Fourth, research in global health often requires multi-disciplinary and inter-sectorial approach, thinking "outside-of-the-box" and integrating different disciplines. This embraces a diversity of methodological approaches, meaning that qualitative or mixed methods are often very appropriate, just as well as those based on quantitative measurements.
Fifth, many important insights and knowledge that drive today’s global health policies are based on previous dedicated work from individual researchers. These researchers spent large amount of their time working in remote, rural regions of low-income countries and established field sites that gave rise to high-quality reports on the main problems burdening the population.
Although research in global health issues clearly requires a remarkable effort from researchers, and can have a very large translational impact on society, policies and decision-making, many journals are reluctant to publish work from local contexts. The lack of general relevance or interest, typically small sample sizes and low likelihood that the work would be cited by many other scientists are the likely explanations for this rather unfortunate situation. This led us to launch the Journal of Global Health Reports - to embrace local research on difficult questions and issues in global health.
This journal should become a platform for publishing research from challenging contexts, offering an opportunity to publish papers in flexible formats and styles. The journal will also embrace all instruments of research - epidemiological research, health policy and systems research, research focused on the improvement of the existing interventions, as well as research that proposes to develop new and innovative interventions. We are also entirely open to all methodological approaches - qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods, or even descriptive reports or personal insights and thoughts on what we feel are relevant problems in global health. We will, therefore, publish Journal of Global Health Reports to truly promote local research for improving global health.
Editors and Editorial Board of the Journal of Global Health Reports