Measuring Scientific Output in the form Of Publications in Developing Countries

One of INCTR's goals is to ensure that all aspects of cancer control with which it is involved are conducted in the context of the available evidence. All too often, such evidence is not available. INCTR is conducting an exploratory program designed to examine the output of scientific publications in selected countries and/or selected diseases. In many countries, there is no professional pressure to publish in order to ascend the academic ladder, no training in the scientific method, and often very poor quality publications. Thus a numeric assessment of scientific output, although useful, needs to be supplemented by training in the assessment of the quality of available publications.

This program, therefore, has two components - the first, the derivation of a simple numerical metric regarding scientific publications, and the second, the provision of training for scientists and health providers in the process of systematic review of available evidence relating to a particular medical or scientific question. Not only does this permit the assessment of quality but may provide an answer (in the form of evidence of the validity of a particular approach or method) to questions of importance to effective national or regional cancer control. This program is particularly designed to emphasize the importance of local research in controlling cancer and to help create a research ethos. It will also help to identify gaps in existing research results, and thus assist investigators and funding bodies to decide upon research priorities.

2010 saw the conclusion the pilot study, "Cancer in Egypt" that was jointly undertaken by INCTR UK, INCTR Egypt, The European School of Oncology and the National Cancer Institute, Cairo, Egypt. The initial phase of this study entailed creating the database of published reports of original research in breast cancer, bladder cancer, lymphoma, pediatric cancer and palliative care conducted in Egypt in the years 2000-2008. The pilot database has been made freely available through the University of Cairo web site. This study was supported by the European School of Oncology, European Society of Medical Oncology and the Egyptian Foundation for Cancer Research.

In 2010, Elsevier agreed to provide two years of funding to enable the pilot study to be expanded to include all areas of Egyptian cancer control research.

The second initiative, "Breast Cancer in Low and Middle Income Countries" was the development of a comprehensive catalogue of breast cancer studies relevant to LMIC that identified 4,871 papers. In 2010, these studies were uploaded to the Breast Health Global Initiative (BHGI)¬INCTR Breast Cancer Control Library. A report of the INCTR breast cancer literature search project will be published in 2011 in a supplement to an edition of Breast.

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