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Breaking Barriers: Shaping Global Health Futures with Pilot and Feasibility Initiatives

Edited by:
Magdalena Janus, PhD (Cantab), McMaster University, Canada
Ambreen Nizar Merchant, MSc, Aga Khan University, Pakistan

Submission Status: Open   |   Submission Deadline: 15 December 2024

Pilot and Feasibility Studies is calling for submissions to our Collection on Breaking Barriers: Shaping Global Health Futures with Pilot and Feasibility Initiatives.

For further information, please, read the About the Collection section below or contact Dr. Magdalena Janus (

Image credits: © Treecha /

New Content ItemThis collection supports and amplifies research related to SDG 3: Health and Well-Being, SDG 4: Quality Education, and SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities.

Meet the Guest Editors

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Magdalena Janus, PhD (Cantab), McMaster University, Canada

Dr. Magdalena Janus earned a Ph.D. in behavioural sciences from Cambridge University. Her doctoral research involved studying the nature of relationships among young human and non-human primates. Subsequently, she was a post-doctoral fellow and research associate at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, before joining the McMaster faculty in 2002. Since joining the Offord Centre for Child Studies at McMaster University in 1997, Dr. Janus, together with the late Dr. Dan Offord, has been involved in a community-linked project (School Readiness to Learn Project) developing a measure of children’s readiness to learn at school entry, called the Early Development Instrument (EDI), intended to provide communities with actionable information on the state of early childhood development and with a tool for mobilization of resources and monitoring over time. Magdalena and her team have now supported the implementation of the EDI for over 1,500,000 children in Canada, and its adaptation in over a dozen international sites, e.g., Australia, USA, Sweden, Brazil, Peru, and Jordan.

Magdalena’s research interests include indicators of early child development and their correlates in population and international contexts, social determinants of children’s health, transition to school, with a particular emphasis on children with special needs. She regularly serves as a consultant with various national and international organizations, including the World Bank, WHO, and UNICEF, on the measurement and indicators of early child development. She is one of the core scientists on the Global Scales for Early Development (GSED) project.

Ambreen Nizar Merchant, MSc, Aga Khan University, Pakistan

Dr. Ambreen Nizar Merchant has Bachelors in Dental Surgery (BDS) and completed her M.Sc. in Epidemiology & Bio-Statistics from Aga Khan University, Pakistan, funded by a prestigious NIH scholarship, and the 2023-24 Inter-Scale Fellowship (Aga Khan & Oxford) showcases her commitment to cutting-edge Early Childhood Development (ECD) research.

Since 2016, Dr. Ambreen has been a driving force at the Aga Khan University, spearheading projects like Global Scales for Early Development (GSED) and All Chidren Thrive (ACT). Her expertise shines in high-quality proposals, masterful statistical analysis, and impactful scientific contributions. In the ACT study, she evaluated genetic and other biomarkers for pediatric health, while her leadership in validation of GSED in Pakistan significantly advanced neurodevelopmental measurement, gearing towards achievement of SDG 4.2 9 (by 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education).

About the Collection

The majority of the world population resides in what is commonly referred to as “majority countries” encompassing low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), or the Global South.1,2 However, a substantial proportion of health and child development research originates from the “minority countries”, also known as High Income (HIC) or Global North, where only about 16% of the global population resides. There are increasing concerns that this disproportional representation is due to unequal opportunities for publishing research findings from studies carried out in the “majority countries” as well as barriers for authors from these countries in opportunities to publish. While there could be many reasons for these barriers, one is that adapting and/or developing methodologies for health research in global LMIC settings is challenging, and there is little published evidence on the often-arduous process and its idiosyncratic results.

The journal Pilot and Feasibility Studies with the impact factor of 1.7, is planning to address this lack of evidence by announcing a new Collection of articles on Global Health.

The overall aim of Pilot and Feasibility Studies is to provide a peer-reviewed, high-quality forum for evidence and discourse “on aspects of the design, conduct and reporting of pilot and feasibility studies in biomedicine”. For this Collection on Global Health we are inviting manuscripts addressing any of the below mentioned topics while planning, conducting, and (or) interpreting results of feasibility studies across a diverse range of communities.

Possible topics:

  • Exploring cultural and contextual sensitivities
  • Challenges impacting the feasibility
  • Adaptation of methodologies in LMICs
  • Community engagement while planning or assessing feasibility
  • Challenges of data collection in low-resource settings
  • Unexpected situations and their resolution

We are particularly interested in showcasing a range of approaches to address feasibility challenges, including the process of piloting in a range of countries, for example when a methodology has only been validated elsewhere; consideration and execution of modification of procedures, sampling and recruitment, measures, and decisions on adaptations of protocols (and their rationale). Papers describing studies that had to be scaled down or even abandoned due to feasibility reasons are eligible and welcome.

Our main goal for this Collection is to add transparency and build evidence on challenges in conducting health-related studies globally, to provide a resource for health researchers, and ultimately contribute to increased and equal representation in all regions. The type of articles for this special series should include:

  • Original research
  • Methodology papers
  • Commentaries
  • Reviews
  • Case Studies

The manuscripts are expected to follow the process of submission to Pilot and Feasibility Studies, with a flag for “Collection on Global Health” indicated in the cover letter and online submission.

  1. Alam, S. (2019). Majority world: Challenging the West's rhetoric of democracy. Amerasia Journal, 34, 88–98.
  2. Draper, C. E., Barnett, L. M., Cook, C. J., Cuartas, J. A., Howard, S. J., McCoy, D. C., Merkley, R., Molano, A., Maldonado-Carreño, C. Obradović, J., Scerif, G., Valentini, N. C., Venetsanou, F., & Yousafzai, A. K. (2023). Publishing child development research from around the world: An unfair playing field resulting in most of the world's child population under-represented in research. Infant and Child Development, 32(6), e2375.

There are currently no articles in this collection.

Submission Guidelines

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This Collection welcomes submission of original research, methodology papers, commentaries, reviews, and case studies. Should you wish to submit a different article type, please read our submission guidelines to confirm that type is accepted by the journal. 

Articles for this Collection should be submitted via our submission system, Editorial Manager. Please select the appropriate Collection title “Breaking Barriers: Shaping Global Health Futures with Pilot and Feasibility Initiatives" from the dropdown menu.

Articles will undergo the journal’s standard peer-review process and are subject to all the journal’s standard policies. Articles will be added to the Collection as they are published.

The Editors have no competing interests with the submissions which they handle through the peer-review process. The peer-review of any submissions for which the Editors have competing interests is handled by another Editorial Board Member who has no competing interests.