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The Involvement and Engagement of Peers in Research

Guest Edited by:
Annie Madden, PhD, University of New South Wales, Australia
Jo Neale, MA, CQSW, DPhil, King's College London, UK
Carla Treloar, PhD, University of New South Wales, Australia

As far back as 2003, AIVL (the national peer-based drug users’ organisation in Australia) published its “National Statement on Ethical Issues in Research Involving Illicit/Injecting Drug Users” with the aim of asserting the role of peers in all aspects of the research process and in identifying and setting ethical standards for research practice. This highly regarded and well-cited paper is still the only guidance document of its kind globally. Interest in peer-based approaches continued with “Nothing About Us Without Us – Greater, Meaningful Involvement of People Who Use Illegal Drugs: A Public Health, Ethical, and Human Rights Imperative - International Edition” in 2008, which also sought to foreground the role and importance of peer-based approaches in all areas of harm reduction policy and practice including in research. Despite this early work, it is really only in the last 10 years that there has been a significant international expansion of interest and activity in relation to peer-based research. Peer involvement in research has different names and can take many forms. For example, peers may lead on studies or collaborate with others on studies as partners. When done well, peer involvement can benefit research in many ways. When done badly, it can lead to tokenism and even exploitation.

This special series in Harm Reduction Journal examines research reports based on both peer-led and collaborative research projects.

The guest editors receive financial support from the Centre for Social Research in Health. The guest editors declare no further competing interests. All manuscripts will undergo the journal's standard peer review process and be subject to all editorial policies, at the ultimate discretion of the Editor-in-Chief. The Guest Editors will not handle any manuscripts for which they are an author.

This special series was supported by a grant from the Open Society Foundations.

  1. Community-based research in HIV in Canada is a complex undertaking. Including peer researchers living with HIV meaningfully is intricate and costly. However, this inclusion guarantees results that translate to...

    Authors: Francisco Ibáñez-Carrasco, James R. Watson and James Tavares
    Citation: Harm Reduction Journal 2019 16:55
  2. There is limited literature about how to best “do” community involvement in research and no one model of community involvement in research that has been shown to be more effective than others. This paper prese...

    Authors: Melinda Walker, Kim Beadman, Steve Griffin, Mitchell Beadman and Carla Treloar
    Citation: Harm Reduction Journal 2019 16:52
  3. Ahead of opening Portugal’s first mobile drug consumption room (MDCR) in Lisbon, information from People Who Use Drugs (PWUD) and local community members was necessary to determine current needs and shape the ...

    Authors: Hannah Taylor, Adriana Curado, Joana Tavares, Miguel Oliveira, Diana Gautier and João Santa Maria
    Citation: Harm Reduction Journal 2019 16:49
  4. A community-based research (CBR) approach is critical to redressing the exclusion of women—particularly, traditionally marginalized women including those who use substances—from HIV research participation and ...

    Authors: Angela Kaida, Allison Carter, Valerie Nicholson, Jo Lemay, Nadia O’Brien, Saara Greene, Wangari Tharao, Karène Proulx-Boucher, Rebecca Gormley, Anita Benoit, Mélina Bernier, Jamie Thomas-Pavanel, Johanna Lewis, Alexandra de Pokomandy and Mona Loutfy
    Citation: Harm Reduction Journal 2019 16:47
  5. Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection is endemic in prison populations, and HCV management in prisons is suboptimal. Incarceration is a public health opportunity to target this cohort. Community peer support incre...

    Authors: Desmond Crowley, Ross Murtagh, Walter Cullen, Mary Keevans, Eamon Laird, Tina McHugh, Susan McKiernan, Sarah Jayne Miggin, Eileen O’Connor, Deirdre O’Reilly, Graham Betts-Symonds, Ciara Tobin, Marie Claire Van Hout and John S. Lambert
    Citation: Harm Reduction Journal 2019 16:42
  6. Marginalized communities often attract more than their share of research. Too often, this research benefits researchers disproportionately and leaves such communities feeling exploited, misrepresented, and exh...

    Authors: Scott D. Neufeld, Jule Chapman, Nicolas Crier, Samona Marsh, Jim McLeod and Lindsay A. Deane
    Citation: Harm Reduction Journal 2019 16:41
  7. Traditional research about substance use disorder (SUD) treatment is considered, among an increasing number of service users, to be disempowering and poorly reflective of their priorities. Thus, this methodolo...

    Authors: Henning Pettersen, Morten Brodahl, Jeanette Rundgren, Larry Davidson and Ingrid Amalia Havnes
    Citation: Harm Reduction Journal 2019 16:40
  8. Peer-led programs with people who use drugs (PWUD) have been a key characteristic of the harm reduction in many countries, including their involvement in research. However, peer involvement in research is ofte...

    Authors: Graham Brown, Sione Crawford, Gari-Emma Perry, Jude Byrne, James Dunne, Daniel Reeders, Angela Corry, Jane Dicka, Hunter Morgan and Sam Jones
    Citation: Harm Reduction Journal 2019 16:37
  9. Equipment used by people who inject drugs (PWID) either has a needle which is fixed to the syringe or can be detached and replaced. Detachable low dead space syringes (LDSS) have been developed, with less spac...

    Authors: Deborah Hussey, Zoe Trinder-Widdess, Cassie Dee, Darren Bagnall, Tatty Bojangles and Joanna May Kesten
    Citation: Harm Reduction Journal 2019 16:36
  10. This study was to characterize the Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) in Shanghai, China, and to explore factors associated with the decline of patients in MMT during 2005–2016.

    Authors: Lei Zhang, Jiayi Bao, Amy Harrington, Xiaoduo Fan, Zhen Ning, Jingying Zhang, Daqing Shi, Manji Hu, Zhirong Zhou, Zhengyi Cai, Min Zhao and Jiang Du
    Citation: Harm Reduction Journal 2019 16:34

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