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The quality of reports of medical and public health research from Palestinian institutions: a systematic review

Abstract

Objective Over the past decade, there has been an increase in reports of health research from Palestine, but no assessment of their quality. We have assessed the quality of reports of Palestinian health research and factors associated with it.

Design This is a systematic review.

Inclusion criteria We searched Medline and Scopus for reports of original research relevant to human health or healthcare authored by researchers affiliated with Palestinian institutions and published between January 2000 and August 2015 inclusive.

Outcomes We used international guidelines to assess report quality, classifying as adequate those with ≥50% of items completely addressed.

Results Of 2383 reports identified, 497 met our inclusion criteria. Just over half (264; 55%) of these were published after 2010. 354 (71%) of first authors were affiliated with Palestinian institutions; 261 (53%) reports had coauthors from outside Palestine. The majority of the reports in our study were inadequately reported (342; 69%), and none had adequately reported all items. Of 439 observational studies, 11 (2.5%) reports provided adequate descriptions of eligibility criteria and selection procedures; 35 (8%) reported efforts to address potential sources of bias; 50 (11.4%) reported the basis for the study sample size; and funding sources were mentioned in 74 reports (17%). Higher reporting quality was associated with international affiliation of the first author (prevalence ratio (PR) 1.6 (95% CI 1.2 to 2.1)), international collaboration (PR 2.9 (95% CI 1.7 to 5.0)), international funding (PR 1.9 (95% CI1.5 to 2.5)), publication after 2005 (PR 3.9 (95% CI 1.8 to 8.5)) and four or more coauthors (PR 1.5 (95% CI 1.1 to 2.1)).

Conclusion Although the quality of reports of Palestinian research has improved in recent years, it remains well below an acceptable standard. International reporting guidelines should be used to guide research design and improve the quality of reports of research.

Trial registration number The systematic review protocol was registered in the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO) registery (registration number: CRD42015027553).

  • Public health
  • Epidemiology
  • Protocols and guidelines
  • Audit
  • Quality in health care
  • Medical journalism

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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