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Tracking funded health intervention research

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Expectations that publicly funded health research should be productive, in terms of both research publication outputs and contributions to better health outcomes, are becoming increasingly explicit.1,2 This has directed attention to methods for tracking research outputs, where scholarly publication metrics — impact factors and citations — are currently the dominant indices.2,3 Publication of research is expected to disseminate new knowledge and facilitate “real-world” policy and practice impacts.

While the recent emphasis on research productivity spans all types of research,1,46 intervention research is particularly relevant, as its findings are likely to be more directly applicable to health policy and practice.79 Intervention studies tend to be less prevalent in peer-reviewed journals than descriptive and epidemiological studies, and this has been partly attributed to the practical and scientific challenges of conducting intervention research.9

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