Making Connections and Measuring Performance: Bibliometric Analysis of Multi-Attribute, Preference-Based Health-Related Quality of Life Research in South Africa



To describe South African–specific, multi-attribute, health-related quality of life (HRQoL) research within a national health technology assessment (HTA) context and make recommendations to strengthen the field for capacity building and healthcare priority setting.


A systematic review was conducted using the Web of Science (WoS) platform, and the Cochrane Library. No time restrictions were applied, but only English and Afrikaans language papers were included. Duplicate records were removed before first- and second-pass screening by two reviewers working independently. Bibliometric analyses were conducted in VOSviewer®, the WoS platform, and Microsoft Excel®.


The study identified 123 publications authored by 388 researchers at 163 organizations in 31 countries since the first article was published in 1996. Three-quarters of the publications were from the last decade. South African institutions produced the most publications (n = 110), but their influence was below that of most other countries, and there were very few connections among the 68 identified author clusters. South African universities were the most productive institutions, with limited involvement by the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. Funding was mostly from domestic sources, with some international contribution.


There was an increasing trend in South African–specific HRQoL data, with a strong contribution by South African–based academic researchers. A multidisciplinary approach and more cross-country collaboration with organizations in countries with experience in economic evaluations for HTA would aid research capacity building supportive of healthcare policy and priority setting in South Africa.


Sophia E. Marsh

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