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Exploring the frontiers of research co-production: the Integrated Knowledge Translation Research Network concept papers

Collection published in Research Involvement and Engagement, Health Research Policy and Systems, Implementation Science, Implementation Science CommunicationsBMC Medical Research Methodology, BMC Health Services Research, and Systematic Reviews.

Organized by Anita Kothari, University of Western Ontario, Canada; Chris McCutcheon, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Canada; Ian D Graham, University of Ottawa, Canada

© etiamosResearch co-production – sometimes referred to by such terms as participatory research, engaged scholarship, collaborative research, and integrated knowledge translation (IKT) – is about conducting research with those who would use it. A defining feature of research co-production is the involvement of patients, clinicians, policy makers, and others as full members of the research team. This is done with the expectation that the resulting research is relevant, and will be particularly useful, usable, and used by knowledge users thereby optimizing research impact. This cross-journal collection of concept and empirical papers considers some of the key issues currently facing the science and practice of research partnerships and collectively begins to identify elements of a research agenda for research co-production.

Many of the papers in this collection are the result of a call for concept papers held by the Integrated Knowledge Translation Research Network. The IKTRN is a research program funded by a seven-year Canadian Institutes of Health Research Foundation Grant (FDN #143237). The IKTRN is focused on building the science base for IKT: understanding how best to support research co-production, uncovering barriers and drivers of IKT, determining its effectiveness at increasing research use and impact, and identifying best practices and appropriate conditions for conducting IKT to achieve the greatest impact on research use. The network has also prioritized building the capacity of researchers and knowledge users to undertake IKT. The goals, objectives, and outputs of this research program are described in the IKTRN’s research program protocol which is the first paper in this cross-journal collection. The IKTRN provided an honoraria for some of the concept papers and covered the article-processing charges for most of the papers. 

This collection of articles has undergone each journal’s standard peer-review process it was submitted and accepted in and the participating journal Editors declare no competing interests. 

Further articles will be added in due course following peer review.

Read the associated blog: "Doing research with those who use it"

  1. Co-production is an umbrella term used to describe the process of generating knowledge through partnerships between researchers and those who will use or benefit from research. Multiple advantages of research ...

    Authors: Robert K. D. McLean, Fred Carden, Alice B. Aiken, Rebecca Armstrong, Judy Bray, Christine E. Cassidy, Olivia Daub, Erica Di Ruggiero, Leslie A. Fierro, Michelle Gagnon, Alison M. Hutchinson, Roman Kislov, Anita Kothari, Sara Kreindler, Chris McCutcheon, Jessica Reszel…
    Citation: Health Research Policy and Systems 2023 21:51
  2. To identify and assess the globally available valid, reliable and acceptable tools for assessing health research partnership outcomes and impacts.

    Authors: K. J. Mrklas, J. M. Boyd, S. Shergill, S. Merali, M. Khan, L. Nowell, A. Goertzen, L. M. Pfadenhauer, K. Paul, K. M. Sibley, L. Swain, M. Vis-Dunbar, M. D. Hill, S. Raffin-Bouchal, M. Tonelli and I. D. Graham
    Citation: Health Research Policy and Systems 2023 21:3
  3. Accurate, consistent assessment of outcomes and impacts is challenging in the health research partnerships domain. Increased focus on tool quality, including conceptual, psychometric and pragmatic characterist...

    Authors: Kelly J. Mrklas, Sera Merali, Masood Khan, Sumair Shergill, Jamie M. Boyd, Lorelli Nowell, Lisa M. Pfadenhauer, Kevin Paul, Amelia Goertzen, Liam Swain, Kathryn M. Sibley, Mathew Vis-Dunbar, Michael D. Hill, Shelley Raffin-Bouchal, Marcello Tonelli and Ian D. Graham
    Citation: Health Research Policy and Systems 2022 20:133
  4. Careful development of interventions using principles of co-production is now recognized as an important step for clinical trial development, but practical guidance on how to do this in practice is lacking. Th...

    Authors: Emily R. Ramage, Meredith Burke, Margaret Galloway, Ian D. Graham, Heidi Janssen, Dianne L. Marsden, Amanda J. Patterson, Michael Pollack, Catherine M. Said, Elizabeth A. Lynch and Coralie English
    Citation: Health Research Policy and Systems 2022 20:2
  5. Globally, policy-makers face challenges to using evidence in health decision-making, particularly lack of interaction between research and policy. Knowledge-brokering mechanisms can fill research–policy gaps a...

    Authors: Pyone Yadanar Paing, Zarni Lynn Kyaw, Matthew Schojan, Tom Traill, Si Thura, Nilar Tin, Than-Tun Sein, Hnin Hnin Tha Myint, Paul Bolton and Catherine Lee
    Citation: Health Research Policy and Systems 2021 19:153
  6. The expectation to include patients as partners in research has steadily gained momentum. The vulnerability of frail and/or seriously ill patients provides additional complexity and may deter researchers from ...

    Authors: Claire Ludwig, Ian D. Graham, Wendy Gifford, Josee Lavoie and Dawn Stacey
    Citation: Research Involvement and Engagement 2020 6:52
  7. Conducting research in partnership with stakeholders (e.g. policy-makers, practitioners, organisations, patients) is a promising and popular approach to improving the implementation of research findings in pol...

    Authors: F. Hoekstra, K. J. Mrklas, M. Khan, R. C. McKay, M. Vis-Dunbar, K. M. Sibley, T. Nguyen, I. D. Graham and H. L. Gainforth
    Citation: Health Research Policy and Systems 2020 18:51
  8. Research funders in Canada and abroad have made substantial investments in supporting collaborative research approaches to generating and translating knowledge as it is believed to increase knowledge use. Cana...

    Authors: Tram Nguyen, Ian D. Graham, Kelly J. Mrklas, Sarah Bowen, Margaret Cargo, Carole A. Estabrooks, Anita Kothari, John Lavis, Ann C. Macaulay, Martha MacLeod, David Phipps, Vivian R. Ramsden, Mary J. Renfrew, Jon Salsberg and Nina Wallerstein
    Citation: Health Research Policy and Systems 2020 18:35
  9. Increasingly, health researchers must demonstrate the impact and real-life applications of their research. We investigated how health researchers with expertise in knowledge translation report research transla...

    Authors: L. Boland, L. Brosseau, S. Caspar, I. D. Graham, A. M. Hutchinson, A. Kothari, K. McNamara, E. McInnes, M. Angel and D. Stacey
    Citation: Implementation Science Communications 2020 1:20
  10. Integrated knowledge translation refers to researcher and research user partnerships to co-generate and implement knowledge. This type of partnership may be critical to success in increasing knowledge use and ...

    Authors: Maria Maddalena Zych, Whitney B. Berta and Anna R. Gagliardi
    Citation: Health Research Policy and Systems 2020 18:24
  11. Integrated knowledge translation (IKT) is a model of research co-production, whereby researchers partner with knowledge users throughout the research process and who can use the research recommendations in pra...

    Authors: L. Boland, A. Kothari, C. McCutcheon and I. D. Graham
    Citation: Health Research Policy and Systems 2020 18:8
  12. Integrated knowledge translation describes the process of partnered research between different stakeholders with the goal of producing research that ultimately achieves a greater impact when put into practice....

    Authors: Shannon L. Sibbald, Hosung Kang and Ian D. Graham
    Citation: Health Research Policy and Systems 2019 17:92
  13. Research co-production is about doing research with those who use it. This approach to research has been receiving increasing attention from research funders, academic institutions, researchers and even the pu...

    Authors: Ian D. Graham, Chris McCutcheon and Anita Kothari
    Citation: Health Research Policy and Systems 2019 17:88
  14. Engaging those who influence, administer and/or who are active users (“knowledge users”) of health care systems, as co-producers of health research, can help to ensure that research products will better addres...

    Authors: Janet E. Jull, Laurie Davidson, Rachel Dungan, Tram Nguyen, Krista P. Woodward and Ian D. Graham
    Citation: BMC Medical Research Methodology 2019 19:211
  15. Health care researcher-research user partnerships, referred to as integrated knowledge translation (IKT), have been adopted on an international basis, and are an effective means of co-generating and implementi...

    Authors: Maria Maddalena Zych, Whitney B. Berta and Anna R. Gagliardi
    Citation: BMC Health Services Research 2019 19:772
  16. The persistence of health inequities is a wicked problem for which there is strong evidence of causal roots in the maldistribution of power, resources and money within and between countries. Though the evidenc...

    Authors: Katrina Marie Plamondon and Julia Pemberton
    Citation: Health Research Policy and Systems 2019 17:24
  17. There have been many attempts to improve how healthcare services are developed and delivered. Despite this, we know that there are many gaps and differences in practice and that these can lead to poor patient ...

    Authors: Davina Banner, Marc Bains, Sandra Carroll, Damanpreet K Kandola, Danielle E Rolfe, Caroline Wong and Ian D. Graham
    Citation: Research Involvement and Engagement 2019 5:8
  18. Patient engagement (or patient and public involvement) in health research is becoming a requirement for many health research funders, yet many researchers have little or no experience in engaging patients as p...

    Authors: Danielle E. Rolfe, Vivian R. Ramsden, Davina Banner and Ian D. Graham
    Citation: Research Involvement and Engagement 2018 4:49
  19. The potential use, influence and impact of health research is seldom fully realised. This stubborn problem has caused burgeoning global interest in research aiming to address the implementation ‘gap’ and facto...

    Authors: Kate Beckett, Michelle Farr, Anita Kothari, Lesley Wye and Andrée le May
    Citation: Health Research Policy and Systems 2018 16:118
  20. Research partnership approaches, in which researchers and stakeholders work together collaboratively on a research project, are an important component of research, knowledge translation, and implementation. De...

    Authors: Femke Hoekstra, Kelly J. Mrklas, Kathryn M. Sibley, Tram Nguyen, Mathew Vis-Dunbar, Christine J. Neilson, Leah K. Crockett, Heather L. Gainforth and Ian D. Graham
    Citation: Systematic Reviews 2018 7:217
  21. Integrated knowledge translation is a research approach in which researchers work as partners with the people for whom the research is meant to be of use. A partnered approach can support the use of Indigenous...

    Authors: Janet Jull, Melody Morton-Ninomiya, Irene Compton and Annie Picard
    Citation: Research Involvement and Engagement 2018 4:45
  22. Integrated knowledge translation (IKT) is a research approach in which knowledge users (KUs) co-produce research. The rationale for IKT is that it leads to research that is more relevant and useful to KUs, the...

    Authors: Mary Ann O’Brien, Andrea Carson, Lisa Barbera, Melissa C. Brouwers, Craig C. Earle, Ian D. Graham, Nicole Mittmann and Eva Grunfeld
    Citation: BMC Medical Research Methodology 2018 18:150
  23. Integrated knowledge translation (IKT) flows from the premise that knowledge co-produced with decision-makers is more likely to inform subsequent decisions. However, evaluations of manager/policy-maker-focused...

    Authors: Sara A. Kreindler
    Citation: Health Research Policy and Systems 2018 16:104
  24. Issues with the uptake of research findings in applied health services research remain problematic. Part of this disconnect is attributed to the exclusion of knowledge users at the outset of a study, which oft...

    Authors: Jennifer Baumbusch, Sarah Wu, Sandra B. Lauck, Davina Banner, Tamar O’Shea and Leslie Achtem
    Citation: Health Research Policy and Systems 2018 16:103
  25. It is widely accepted that research can lead to improved health outcomes. However, translating research into meaningful impacts in peoples’ lives requires actions that stretch well beyond those traditionally a...

    Authors: Robert K. D. McLean, Ian D. Graham, Jacqueline M. Tetroe and Jimmy A. Volmink
    Citation: Health Research Policy and Systems 2018 16:44
  26. Health research is conducted with the expectation that it advances knowledge and eventually translates into improved health systems and population health. However, research findings are often caught in the kno...

    Authors: Ian D. Graham, Anita Kothari and Chris McCutcheon
    Citation: Implementation Science 2018 13:22
  27. Better use of research evidence (one form of “knowledge”) in health systems requires partnerships between researchers and those who contend with the real-world needs and constraints of health systems. Communit...

    Authors: Janet Jull, Audrey Giles and Ian D. Graham
    Citation: Implementation Science 2017 12:150