Centralization and research governance: does it work?
Article first published online: 24 JAN 2008
Journal of Advanced Nursing
Volume 61, Issue 4, pages 363–372, February 2008
How to Cite
Howarth, M., Kneafsey, R. and Haigh, C. (2008), Centralization and research governance: does it work?. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 61: 363–372. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2007.04524.x
- Issue published online: 24 JAN 2008
- Article first published online: 24 JAN 2008
- Accepted for publication 4 October 2007
- empirical research report;
- research governance;
- research management
Title. Centralization and research governance: does it work?
Aim. This paper is a report of a study to evaluate the impact and success of the United Kingdom centralized Research Management and Governance model.
Background. Research is crucial to the generation of new knowledge and for the development of nursing services. However, poor research conduct has prompted a growing international impetus to govern and monitor research activity. In 2004, a centralized Research Management and Governance Model aimed at fostering a quality research culture through streamlining bureaucratic management processes was implemented across 14 primary care provider organizations in the United Kingdom.
Methods. A questionnaire survey was undertaken in 2004 to explore researchers’ experiences (n = 76) of the model across the 14 organizations, and semi-structured interviews were conducted with five research and development managers. The interview transcripts were independently thematically analysed.
Findings. Governance processes were seen as useful or very useful by 36·8% (n = 28) of researchers viewed, and 47·3% (n = 36) thought they were a hindrance or not useful. Managers suggested that the model supported the research infrastructure and had reduced paperwork. The benefits of centralization were balanced against managers’ perceptions of reduced autonomy and control.
Conclusions. Centralizing research governance is an effective way of maximizing research resources, but researchers still may not value the process. Partnership working can streamline research governance mechanisms, but needs to be adequately resourced and transparent. This model could be of benefit to international colleagues who are charged with the management of research.