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How many papers are published each week reporting on trials of interventions involving behavioural aspects of health?

West, Robert; Michie, Susan; (2023) How many papers are published each week reporting on trials of interventions involving behavioural aspects of health? Qeios , Article U6VX2Z. 10.32388/u6vx2z. Green open access

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Abstract

Behavioural science as applied to human health and wellbeing is crucial for meeting the challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. Although only a small fraction of health-related research focuses on behaviour, it still represents a substantial body of evidence that is accumulating rapidly. The sheer number of publications presents a huge challenge for manual extraction of information from study reports for purposes of evidence synthesis. We assessed the extent of this challenge, focusing on estimating the number of published reports of effectiveness trials relating to behaviour, either as outcomes or as key determinants of health outcomes. We adopted a conservative search strategy using words and phrases relating to effectiveness or efficacy trials of interventions involving commonly researched health-related behaviours. We reviewed a sample of the papers identified using the search strategy to estimate the proportion that were in scope. Using the search strategy we found an estimated 6,793 papers published per year over the years 2018-2022 inclusive. Of these, 81% were estimated by manual inspection to be in scope, resulting in an estimated 5,502 per year or 106 papers per week. The true figure is likely to be higher because of behaviours that were not canvassed in the search and trials represent only a small fraction of papers seeking to describe and understand behavioural issues relating to health and wellbeing.

Type: Article
Title: How many papers are published each week reporting on trials of interventions involving behavioural aspects of health?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.32388/u6vx2z
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.32388/u6vx2z
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third-party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10163747
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