Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Half of All EU-Funded Health Research Fails to Yield Papers

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Half of All EU-Funded Health Research Fails to Yield Papers

Article excerpt

Call for European Union to establish output-tracking database. Paul Jump reports.

More than 50 per cent of European Union-funded health research projects do not result in any publications, researchers have found.

A multinational team led by Mike Galsworthy, a senior research associate in University College London's research and development office, looked at the outcomes of EU health research spending during its fifth and sixth framework programmes, which ran from 1998 to 2006.

The team searched databases for papers associated with nearly 3,700 health-related grants assigned unique alphanumeric codes. They were able to find papers associated with only 50 per cent of such grants in Google Scholar, and with just 44 per cent in the PubMed life sciences database.

Using the Google Scholar figure, the total value of the grants that did not lead to papers was EUR570 million (Pounds 460 million).

However, this accounted for only 15 per cent of total EU spending on health research, owing to the greater tendency of larger projects to result in papers.

The figures were published in The Lancet in September, and will be discussed in a forthcoming article in the Journal of Health Services Research & Policy.

Dr Galsworthy admitted that his method would not have discovered articles that had not correctly cited the grant code or that were written in languages other than English, but he was confident they were not large in number.

However, he also noted that a large previous study of conference abstracts suggested that it was typical for half not to result in a paper. …

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