An accurate description of the field of public health services and systems research (PHSSR) is needed to empower funding agencies and other stakeholders and foster development of the emerging field.
In that context, this study had three objectives:
- Describe dynamics in the emergence of the PHSSR community.
- Identify research themes, subgroups within the field, and collaboration among groups.
- Through characterizing the field, empower stakeholders to foster robust development.
The researchers identified publications produced by 2,067 individuals active in PHSSR and using their own criteria, selected 133 to be the nucleus of the PHSSR community. They examined coauthorship based on citation data over six time periods (from before 1988 to 2010) and identified recurring topics.
Core topic areas with the most collaboration were: public health preparedness, performance and law. Outside the core, topics included health services and population health, among others.
There is little evidence that collaborations were sustained over time. Rather, individuals published broadly on issues of health services research and population health.
“This suggests that this emerging field cannot yet support a singular focus on PHSSR,” the authors conclude. “This may change if PHSSR matures into a well-formed research discipline with dedicated funding and infrastructure such as academic fellowships or endowed professorships.”
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