Survey of Argentine health researchers on the use of evidence in policymaking

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Journal Article

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© 2015 Corluka et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Objective: In this study, Argentine health researchers were surveyed regarding their perceptions of facilitators and barriers to evidence-based policymaking in Argentina, as well as their publication activities, and research environment satisfaction. Methods: A self-administered online survey was sent to health researchers in Argentina. The survey questions were based on a preceding qualitative study of Argentine health researchers, as well as the scientific literature. Results: Of the 647 researchers that were reached, 226 accessed the survey, for a response rate of 34.9%. Over 80% of researchers surveyed had never been involved in or contributed to decisionmaking, while over 90% of researchers indicated they would like to be involved in the decision-making process. Decision-maker self-interest was perceived to be the driving factor in the development of health and healthcare policies. Research conducted by a research leader was seen to be the most influential factor in influencing health policy, followed by policy relevance of the research. With respect to their occupational environment, researchers rated highest and most favourably the opportunities available to present, discuss and publish research results and their ability to further their education and training. Argentine researchers surveyed demonstrated a strong interest and willingness to contribute their work and expertise to inform Argentine health policy development. Conclusion: Despite Argentina's long scientific tradition, there are relatively few institutionalized linkages between health research results and health policymaking. Based on the results of this study, the disconnect between political decision-making and the health research system, coupled with fewer opportunities for formalized or informal researcher/decision-maker interaction, contribute to the challenges in evidence informing health policymaking in Argentina. Improving personal contact and the building of relationships between researchers and policymakers in Argentina will require taking into account researcher perceptions of policymakers, as highlighted in this study.