Psychiatric research in South Africa : a systematic review of Medline publications

Fourie, J. ; Flisher, A. J. ; Emsley, R. A. ; Stein, D. J. (2001-09)

CITATION: Fourie, J., Flisher, A.J., Emsley, R.A., & Stein, D.J. 2001. Psychiatric research in South Africa : a systematic review of Medline publications. Curationis, 24(2):9-11, doi:10.4102/curationis.v24i2.812.

The original publication is available at http://www.curationis.org.za/index.php/curationis/article/view/812

Article

Background - There is debate about the future path that medical and psychiatric research in South Africa should take. In particular, there have been calls to make research more relevant to the needs of the population. There is, however, little systematically collected data on the nature, strengths, and flaws of past psychiatric research in this country. Methods - We undertook a MEDLINE search to gather all manuscripts that fell under the umbrella of psychiatric research and published by South Africa-based authors during the years 1966-1997. Several kinds of data were collated from each of the articles, including information about the authors and the journal, as well as information on the focus and type of article. Results - While publications from South Africa continue to grow in number, relatively few involve collaborative research groups and few authors write more than one paper. Many papers relevant to psychiatry were published in general medical journals and many were from general medical departments. While blacks and females have been included in research, a number of important areas have received little attention. Conclusions - Psychiatry research in South Africa requires additional fostering, including additional resources for research training and arguably additional development of subspeciality focuses. Given the limited resources, and the nature of modem research, increased emphasis on collaboration seems advisable. A number of areas in psychiatry deserve particular attention from future researchers.

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