HRWebAfrica: A resource for clinical research in Africa
Health Research Web Africa (https://healthresearchwebafrica.org.za), previously known as Health Research Web (HRWeb/ MARCWeb), is a web-based health research information management platform, which provides quick and reliable ‘real-time’ data analysis and interpretation (charts, tables and graphs) that can be used to monitor and evaluate research investments in an institution or country.
The platform, which was previously owned by COHRED and accessible through the URL https://healthresearchweb.org, was transferred and is now owned and managed by EthiXPERT (https://www.ethixpert.org.za) and accessible through a new URL https://healthresearchwebafrica.org. The platform enables users to showcase their research outputs and capacities. It further provides a channel to easily disseminate and learn research policies, priorities and requests. It also offers online users, interested in building a high-quality information management system, a resource to promote health, equity and development through research. The platform enables them to search, find, use and share health research information that is essential in achieving these goals.
All research ethics committees (RECs) that use RHInnO Ethics (https://www.rhinno.app), a cloud-based online ethics review system, are requested to consent to transmit data directly from RHInnO Ethics to HRWebAfrica. Those who give consent subsequently share specific, anonymised data from their RHInnO Ethics platform to HRWebAfrica. The data is then used to generate important trends that are eventually made publicly available on the HRWeb public portal. https://healthresearchwebafrica.org.za/en/regulation_and_ethics_review_of_research). Where required and upon request, the data can also be used to generate important aggregated regional trends, gaps, and best practices in clinical research.
Research Ethics Committees that were registered on the old portal (HRWeb) are required to create new accounts and update their information on the new HRWebAfrica portal through the link, https://healthresearchwebafrica.org.za/en/register. Non-RHInnO Ethics users who would like to update their data should notify EthiXPERT (Info@ethixpert.org.za) once they have created and activated their accounts on HRWebAfrica. EthiXPERT will then link the REC information on HRWebAfrica upon verifying the authenticity of the information and accounts.
Getting RECs to register and share their information on HRWebAfrica has three main benefits. Firstly, EthiXPERT uses the RECs’ geo-positioning data to map all RECs, allowing users to see where RECs are positioned on the global map. Secondly, stakeholders and the public can search RECs by name, country, or region, and find out what they do, and where needed, contact them directly. Lastly, users can access and download national and individual RECs’ resources, including policies, guidelines, health research priorities, SOPs and templates, which are voluntarily uploaded by REC administrators. Furthermore, RECs linked through RHInnO Ethics can view their performance indicators and compare these against the aggregate performance of all RECs using RHInnO Ethics in Africa. This data can be used to generate important trends and evidence of best practices in clinical research within the African context. Therefore, RECs that register on HRWebAfrica join a pool of other RECs that gradually contribute towards developing an important clinical research resource from and for sub-Saharan Africa. This data can provide an important outlook on the African clinical research ecosystem.
For more information, contact Info@ethixpert.org.za