Table 2

Available quantifiable metrics for HR identified from global literature in an earlier phase of this research

IndicatorRationale/what it capturesSource(s)African coverage
PublicationsResearch productivity (as they are the most common form of research results or output38).Journal databases (eg, Scopus).Comprehensive—academic journals are well-indexed and typically include country information via institutional affiliations of authors.
Clinical trialsIndicator of capacity for advanced research. Trials reflect high-cost research investment, conducive research environments and a level of human resources.WHO’s International Clinical Trials Registry Platform; US National Institutes of Health database (—all clinical trials are expected to register with one of the main platforms.
Patents filedMeasures innovation performance.World Intellectual Property Organization.Less than half (37%).
Research institutionsInstitutions such as universities, centres of excellence, national institutes of public health or WHO collaborating centres are seen to capture capacity to do HR.Various.Various—there are very few platforms that count institutions in a standard way. Some lists exist, but the quality is unclear.
Research personnelHuman resource capacity to undertake research.UNESCO Institute for Statistics.Various.
Resources for HRFunds provided to HR from governments or non-state groups are a critical indicator of capacity and level of research activity.Various.Various—national government accounts are not standardised. Global R&D data sets have missing data and are not health-specific.
Policies and regulationsGuidelines, legislation and regulatory institutions can be signs of research activity and a supportive environment.Various.Various—no standard indicators or clear sources.
  • HR, health research.