A Global Crowdsourcing Open Call to Improve Research Mentorship in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Mixed Methods Analysis

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2021 Oct 18;106(1):250-256. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.21-0607.


Research mentoring programs are limited in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The TDR Global initiated a global crowdsourcing open call soliciting proposals on how to improve research mentorship in LMICs. The purpose of this study is to examine ideas submitted to this open call to identify the ways to improve research mentorship in LMICs. Open calls have a group of individuals solve all or part of a problem and then share solutions. A WHO/TDR/SESH crowdsourcing guide was used to structure the open call. Each submission was judged by three independent individuals on a 1-10 scale. Textual submissions were extracted from eligible proposals and qualitatively analyzed via inductive and deductive coding techniques to identify themes. The open call received 123 submissions from 40 countries in Asia (49), Africa (38), Latin America (26), and Europe (10). Among all participants, 108 (87%) had research experience. A total of 21 submissions received a mean score of 7/10 or higher. Our thematic analysis identified three overarching themes related to prementoring, facilitation, and evaluation. Prementoring establishes mentor-mentee compatibility to lay foundations for mentorship. Facilitation involves iterative cycles of planning, communication, and skill improvement. Evaluation creates commitment and accountability within a framework of monitoring. This global crowdsourcing open call generated numerous mentorship ideas, including LMIC-contextualized facilitation tools. The open call demonstrates a need for greater focus on mentorship. Our data may inform the development of formal and informal mentoring programs in LMIC settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Crowdsourcing*
  • Electronic Mail
  • Female
  • Global Health*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Mentors*
  • Middle Aged
  • Poverty
  • Research / trends*
  • Social Determinants of Health*
  • Social Networking
  • Telecommunications
  • Text Messaging
  • Young Adult