Challenges and possible solutions for accessing scholarly literature among medical and nursing professionals and students in low-and-middle income countries: A systematic review

Mengying Zhang, Lawrence Doi, Joshua Awua, Hayford Asare, Rosie Stenhouse*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: Access to high quality research literature is essential for educating nursing and healthcare students to promote evidence-based practice. Within Low- and Middle-Income countries (LMICs) access is limited due to financial and structural constraints within countries and institutions. Reduced access to research literature limits the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals through its impact on the education of healthcare staff and on the development of contextually appropriate evidence for practice. 

Objective: To identify the challenges and possible solutions for accessing scholarly literature among medical and nursing professionals and students in low-and-middle income countries. 

Design: Systematic review. 

Data sources: Searches were conducted in MEDLINE, CINAHL PLUS, ERIC, ASSIA, EMBASE, and Google Scholar. 

Review methods: Five bibliography databases were searched using relevant search terms, from January 2002 to July 2022. Additional searches were carried out in Google Scholar. Titles, abstracts, and full texts were independently screened by at least two authors, based on predefined eligibility criteria. Pertinent data were extracted from included studies, and critical appraisal was undertaken. Data were analysed and presented in a narrative approach. 

Results: Five papers met the inclusion criteria and were included. Three aspects of challenges at different levels emerged: infrastructure and institutional level factors, individual factors, and lack of contextually appropriate evidence. Three solutions were identified: capacity development opportunities, improving Internet access, and increasing awareness of free resources. 

Conclusion: This review provides an overview of common barriers medical and nursing professionals and students encounter whilst accessing scholarly literature in LMICs and identifies some possible solutions to address them. The findings can be used to guide institutions, as well as national and international decision makers to elicit policy which can promote the uptake of research in LMICs. Further research should focus on how these solutions could be harnessed to address the problems identified in this review.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105737
JournalNurse Education Today
Volume123
Early online date27 Jan 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • challenge
  • healthcare
  • literature
  • low-and-middle income countries
  • medical
  • solution

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