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Measuring up 2009: Bibliometric analysis of the impact of National Health and Medical Research Council funded research

Measuring up 2009Libby Kalucy, PHCRIS

Bibliometrics is the quantitative analysis of publication outputs such as journal articles, tracking the number of publications from a research project and the number of citations to each article in other articles or publications. Bibliometrics is frequently used to evaluate research performance of individual researchers, institutions or funding bodies in specific fields of research.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has released its latest bibliometric analysis of the citation performance of NHMRC funded health research. This independent review by the Australian National University found NHMRC research studies to be of highest quality and internationally competitive.

This report is a worth while read for researchers seeking to understand how bibliometrics applies to primary health care research. Bibliometrics relies on three citation databases for peer reviewed journals in social science, science and arts and humanities which form the Web of Science (WoS). While the WoS covers high proportions of journal articles in biomedical research, its coverage at the applied end of research is less adequate - WoS covers only 58 per cent of articles for public health and health sciences (in which primary health care sits) and only 28 per cent for nursing.

Basically, this report reinforces that bibliometric analysis cannot be universally applied across all fields of research. The interpretation of bibliometric data should therefore be undertaken with extreme caution for disciplines such as nursing, public health and health services where WoS coverage is patchy, and much of the output is found in other formats, such as monographs, reports, and professional journals. When determining research performance in terms of influence on policy and practice, all forms of output need to be taken into account.

The full report is downloadable from the NHMRC website at: <www.nhmrc.gov.au/about/senior_staff/newsletters/index.htm#4>

Reference
Butler L, Henadeera K. (2009). Measuring up 2009. Research Evaluation and Policy Project, Research School of Social Sciences, The Australian National University

Aboriginal spirituality: Aboriginal philosophy, the basis of Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing

Bel Lunnay, PHCRIS

Aboriginal spirituality: Aboriginal philosophy, the basis of Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing Health, to Aborigines, is not a simple matter of good fortune, a prudent lifestyle or a good diet. It is the outcome of a complex interplay between the individual, his territory of conception and his spiritual integrity: his body, his land and his spirit. (Janice Reid 1982 cited in Grieves 2009 p 43).

The World Health Organization, and a following of public health advocates, petition for a holistic view of health that accounts for social and emotional wellbeing when defining health.What does this notion of ‘holism’ mean to Aboriginal people when they conceptualise a holistic view of themselves and their health? Where is Aboriginal ‘spirituality’ positioned in this view of health?

Aboriginal Spirituality: Aboriginal Philosophy - The Basis of Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing by Australian Research Council Indigenous Research Fellow, Vicki Grieves, gives us this insight. The discussion paper is ninth in a series published by the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health and elucidates the central role of Aboriginal spirituality in Aboriginal people’
s social and emotional wellbeing - demonstrating that Australian Aboriginal people who are well, exemplify spirituality in everyday life.

The concept of Indigenous or Aboriginal spirituality and wellbeing is defined and explained through readily accessible, evidence-based discussion that incorporates the voices of Aboriginal people. According to this paper, a whole new approach is required in order to interpret Aboriginal mental health and illness that is truly culturally aware and appropriate, and not just a facade for traditional western practices.

Author Vicki Grieves provides contemporary approaches for working with Aboriginal people and the evidence provided in this discussion paper, although designed for health practitioners, is applicable to all areas where engagement is sought with Aboriginal people - all policy and programs in Australian Aboriginal communities.

The report is fully downloadable in PDF from: <www.crcah.org.au/publications/dp_series.html>

Reference
Grieves V. (2009). Aboriginal spirituality: Aboriginal philosophy, the basis of Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing, Discussion Paper No. 9, Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health, Darwin

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