Development of Evaluation System for Iranian Health Research Networks: Challenges and Lessons Learned

Iran J Public Health. 2020 Jan;49(1):104-113.


Background: Health research networks (HRNs) are critical components of large-scale systems of production and validation of scientific evidence. As evaluation of research systems is a reliable process to measure efficiency and effectiveness of their activities, we aimed to report the processes of development of evaluation indicators' for Iranian health research networks and the results of conducted assessment.

Methods: In 2017, for the first time, aim to develop the evaluation framework for national HRNs, following the qualitative approach to assess the quality of research we designed the peer review method as one of the most important tools. This qualitative method was conducted according to experts' views in specific fields. Key policy makers and stakeholders collaboratively developed a number of criteria for evaluation of research performance of Iranian HRNs. Following the review of conducted studies, benefitting from published guide line, these indicators were defined under 4 main axes of governance and leadership; infrastructures; research products and research impact.

Results: Based on requirements of developed protocol for evaluation of HRNs in Iran, 18 HRNs completed the processes of evaluation. Results show a progressive need for more attention to precise planning of HRNs for achieving to goals. Another point to consider is the attention to documenting processes. The observational system for researches for detection of latest research priority was the most important issues that need to be more addressed by all of networks.

Conclusion: Research evaluation of Iranian HRNs more over creating of constructive positive competition provide an overview of the shortcomings and research challenges could be used for better planning and promotion of the health research system.

Keywords: Evaluation; Health; Iran; Research network.