Action to protect the independence and integrity of global health research

In a recent Viewpoint in the Lancet, some of us shared our experience of censorship in donor-funded evaluation research and warned about a potential trend in which donors and their implementing partners use ethical and methodological arguments to undermine research.1 Reactions to the Viewpoint—and lively debate at the 2018 Global Symposium on Health Systems Research—suggest that similar experiences are common in implementation and policy research commissioned by international donors to study and evaluate large-scale, donor-funded health interventions and programmes, which are primarily implemented in low resource settings. ‘We all have the same stories’, was one of the first comments on the Viewpoint, followed by many private messages divulging instances of personal and institutional pressure, intimidation and censorship following attempts to disseminate unwanted findings. Such pressure comes from major donors and from international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) obliged to have an external assessment but who then maintain a high degree of confidentiality and control.
Action, Independence, Global health research
Storeng KT, Abimbola S, Balabanova D, et al. Action to protect the independence and integrity of global health research. BMJ Global Health 2019;4:e001746. doi:10.1136/ bmjgh-2019-001746