Global Health: A Review of Concepts, Players, and Publications

Document Type : Review Article


Center for Technological Development in Health (CDTS), National Institute of Science and Technology of Innovation on Diseases of Neglected Populations (INCT-IDPN), Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), Brazil



Introduction: The increasing number of global health initiatives have contributed to improving access to health services and building knowledge platforms. However, the distribution of activities and knowledge produced has been uneven. To scope the scientific output in global health, publications from 2008-2017 were reviewed to identify major players, assess the extent of involvement of low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), and map areas of research interest.
Methods: A total of 3153 Web of Science (WoS) publications were retrieved, of which 2423 were selected for this review. The country of origin, institutions involved, types of documents, language of publication, journal titles, content categories, authorship, themes, and characteristics of collaboration were examined.
Results: Over the years, the number of global health publications from both high-income countries (HIC) and LMIC has increased. Authors from LMIC were engaged in 19.3% of the publications, representing 10.3% of first authors and 9.7% of single-author articles. Collaboration across World Health Organization (WHO) regions ranged from 29.6% to 64.6%. Themes of greatest research interest were capacity development, health policy and systems, and disease control.
Conclusion: Global health research is experiencing rapid expansion, but LMIC authors continue to have limited involvement. The current study revealed diversity in publications, journals, and actors with a marked influence from developed countries. As north-south and south-south research partnerships are increasing across the world, it is important to ensure open collaboration between partners and alignment with public health research priorities and needs.


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