A research portfolio analysis of the collaborative research networks of public-private partnerships for neglected tropical diseases
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Background: Public-private partnerships (PPPs) have been vital contributors to eradicating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by bringing together diverse actors to overcome the market failures that NTDs face. Research on their impact is still limited and researchers are calling for evaluations on how their heterogeneous characteristics affect their performance. The scientific method of research portfolio analysis (RPA) has assisted in identifying the research publications of PPPs that represent their general efforts in the discovery of new treatments, as well as enabled the multi-dimensional analysis of diversity. Diverse collaborative research networks are essential to PPPs because the increased participation of (diverse) actors that contribute their resources and capacity, as well as mitigate financial risks, will benefit the development and implementation of new treatments. Finally the results from the RPA were analyzed to uncover potential influences stemming from the different PPP characteristics. Aim: This research aimed to analyze how the heterogeneous PPP characteristics affect their research portfolios in general and the collaborative research networks in particular. Method: This research includes a quantitative-qualitative data driven and exploratory research design. PPP characteristics operated as independent variables and the publication count as well as the diversity of the collaborative research networks as dependent variables, with a research publication as the unit of analysis. Data was retrieved from the PPPs’ websites & reports and Web of Science. Various statistical models were chosen, based on their fit with the data, to analyze for potential associations. Research: The findings illustrate how a broad disease scope, mixed funding and having no capacity building activities are associated with a higher publication count. Collaborative research networks are most consistently affected by self-funding, large(r) network size and to a lesser extent not including capacity building, as they are associated with higher levels diversity. Overall, characteristics that affect diversity mostly do not affect publication count. Also, characteristics which influence the diversity of funders predominantly do not influence the diversity of author affiliations and vice versa, where funders are more frequently affected. Conclusion: This research adds to PPP literature by illustrating the distribution of their characteristics and the levels of diversity present within their research portfolios. Additionally, it demonstrates which characteristics maintain a positive association with diversity and/or publication count. This knowledge can guide PPP actors in the re-examination of their strategies, as well as researchers in the further investigation of these effects. Further research is needed to create in-depth knowledge of these effects and potentially (in)validate the presented hypotheses. Lastly, this research adds to RPA literature by its multi-dimensional application within a new field.