Health Research Evaluation and Its Role on Knowledge Production

Article excerpt

Abstract

Background: Knowledge production and evaluation are two important functions of health research system (HRS). In this article, we aimed to reveal the correlation between evaluation of health research organizations and health knowledge production promotion.

Methods: A comprehensive evaluation system was developed to evaluate the academic performance of national medical science universities on an annual basis. It assess following domains; stewardship, capacity building and knowledge production. Measurable indicators for each domain were assigned, a 'research profile' for each department was provided. In this study, we compared the results of annually national Health Research System evaluation findings during 2005-2008.

Results: The number of scientific articles has been increased from 4672 to 8816 during 2005 to 2008. It is mentionable that, the number of articles which has been published in indexed data bases has risen too. This fact could be related to directed policy for more international publication of scientific articles from Iran. The proportion of total articles to the number of academic members was 1.14 in 2008, comparing to 0.84 in 2005. It means that this proportion have increased about twice (0.7 Vs 0.45) during mentioned time. Moreover, other scientific products such as authored books based on domestic researches and cited articles in textbooks have increased according to special attention to knowledge production by policy makers.

Conclusion: We conclude that Health System Research evaluation could be used as a mean for implementing policies and promoting knowledge production.

Keywords: Health, Research, Evaluation, Knowledge, Production, Iran

Introduction

Knowledge management is defined by World Health Organization (WHO) as, "a set of principles, tools and practices that enable people to create knowledge, and to share, translate and apply what they know to create value and improve effectiveness" (1).In recent decades, knowledge managers have focused on developing and enriching knowledge production strategies (2). In this regard, Health Research System (HRS) has a prominent responsibility in scaling up knowledge production (3).

HRS has certain special functions that help filling the gap between Research and Development (R&D), especially in developing countries (2, 4). One of these main functions is Monitoring and Evaluation (5). This function of the HRS is an operational component of stewardship and is useful as a tool for promoting the other function of HRS such as creating and applying research. HRS evaluation could be used for expanding policies, emerging trends in health research, knowledge generation, and technology development and making recommendations for future national policies (6).

Following the stated mission of the World Health Organization (WHO) as, "generation of appropriate knowledge and its utilization towards improved health", the Department of Research and Technology of the MOHME in the Islamic Republic of Iran was tasked with the responsibility for designing and implementing the HRS functions and policies especially monitoring and evaluation (7). The main focus of this evaluation system was knowledge production to promote the academic performance of the researchers with an emphasis on promoting international scientific publications. Evaluation of research activities in terms of knowledge production was performed based on stakeholders agreed criteria.

The present paper aims to assess the contribution of the HRS evaluation on promotion of HRS performance and health knowledge production.

Materials and Methods

During last decade, the Department of Research and Technology of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education (MOHME) of I.R. Iran (as the main policy making organization in biomedical and health related research) concentrated on knowledge management promotion. Scientific activity is traditionally measured by the production of scientific publications, i. …