The role of collaborative evidence networks in promoting and supporting evidence-based health care (EBHC) globally
Background: The success of the global evidence-based healthcare (EBHC) agenda depends on individuals and organisations working together within a functioning evidence ecosystem. Collaborative evidence networks like JBI, Cochrane, Campbell and others, although differing in form and function, were all established with a common goal: to collaboratively produce, summarise and disseminate evidence to inform policy and practice to improve lives. Over the past 30 years, with the rise of digital technology, increasing recognition of the importance of evidence-based decision-making and the evolution of network structures, these networks have become central to the way evidence is synthesised, translated and implemented, yet little has been written about their strategic development or management.
Objectives: To explore the strategic functions and form of the JBI Collaboration to understand the role of a collaborative evidence network in promoting and supporting EBHC globally.
Methods: The network functions approach (NFA) was employed to map the form (governance, management and administrative structures) and core functions of the JBI Collaboration.
Results: The results of the NFA mapping established the ways the JBI Collaboration enables development, exchange and dissemination of knowledge; the purposeful building of social capital; mobilisation of resources; and amplification and advocacy of members’ work to increase the capacity and effectiveness of members in achieving their unified purpose. It demonstrated how participation in the network enables members to contribute to and draw on collective expertise; provides access to platforms and processes that broaden the dissemination and impact of members’ work; provides access to scientific resources, training and opportunities for individual/institutional capacity building; and provides practical knowledge of how to solve complex health problems using JBI’s model of EBHC.
Conclusions: Collaborative evidence networks play a crucial role in bringing together diverse stakeholders from across the evidence ecosystem to drive the EBHC agenda forward. These networks combine formal and informal structures to facilitate collaboration to address complex global health issues. There would be value in cognate networks using the NFA to identify the areas of overlap, working together to systematically reduce duplication of effort and strengthen our understanding of how we can collaborate across networks to achieve impact in EBHC globally.