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The Involvement and Engagement of Peers in Research

Edited by: Annie Madden, Prof Jo Neale & Prof Carla Treloar

Harm Reduction Journal invites you to submit to a special collection of the journal entitled "the Involvement & Engagement of Peers in Research”, to be launched at the 26th Harm Reduction International Conference in Porto, 28 April – 1 May 2019.

As far back as 2003, AIVL (the national peer-based drug users’ organisation in Australia) published its “National Statement on Ethical Issues in Research Involving Illicit/Injecting Drug Users” with the aim of asserting the role of peers in all aspects of the research process and in identifying and setting ethical standards for research practice. This highly regarded and well-cited paper is still the only guidance document of its kind globally. Interest in peer-based approaches continued with “Nothing About Us Without Us – Greater, Meaningful Involvement of People Who Use Illegal Drugs: A Public Health, Ethical, and Human Rights Imperative - International Edition” in 2008, which also sought to foreground the role and importance of peer-based approaches in all areas of harm reduction policy and practice including in research. Despite this early work, it is really only in the last 10 years that there has been a significant international expansion of interest and activity in relation to peer-based research. Peer involvement in research has different names and can take many forms. For example, peers may lead on studies or collaborate with others on studies as partners. When done well, peer involvement can benefit research in many ways. When done badly, it can lead to tokenism and even exploitation.

It is in this context that we are promoting this call for papers for a special issue of the Harm Reduction Journal. The journal is interested in receiving research reports based on both peer-led and collaborative research projects; methodological articles explaining how peer-based research was undertaken, including problems encountered, and lessons learned; review or historical articles on peer involvement in research; and commentaries, for example on terminology or personal experience of peer involvement in designing and conducting studies, or writing up and disseminating research findings. For the purposes of this special issue, we are really only interested in reports or evaluations of peer-led interventions if peers have been part of the research/evaluation team and are authors on the article submitted.

This special issue of the Harm Reduction Journal seeks to examine this important and timely topic and we invite you to consider submitting your paper(s) on any aspect of peer-based research practice. It is anticipated that peers will be part of the authoring team on any contribution to the special issue; although we welcome submissions from peers writing alone, with each other, or with academics and other researchers.

The Editors of this special issue especially wish to encourage people who use/have used illicit drugs and people in drug treatment and their peer-based representative organisations to submit articles for inclusion in the issue. We strongly encourage you to seek out partnerships, collaborations and/or mentoring arrangements with local academics to support you through the peer-reviewed publication process if required.

As an open access publication Harm Reduction Journal has an article processing charge, details of which can be found here. We appreciate that contributors to this special issue may have access to very limited resources; for more information about what support may be available to you, please visit our OA funding and support website or email

All articles in this issue will undergo the journal’s full standard peer review process. Manuscripts should be formatted according to Harm Reduction Journal submission guidelines and may be submitted through Editorial Manager (

In the submission system please make sure the correct collection title is chosen from the “additional information” tab. Please also indicate in the covering letter that the manuscript is to be considered for the “Involvement & Engagement of Peers in Research” special issue. Submissions are invited until 31st January 2019. For further information, please contact the Editor-in-Chief.

The guest editors receive financial support from the Centre for Social Research in Health. The guest editors declare no further competing interests.

There are currently no articles in this collection.

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