Public involvement in global genomics research: A scoping review

Jack S. Nunn, Jane Tiller, Peter Fransquet, Paul Lacaze

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Public involvement in research occurs when the public, patients, or research participants are actively contributing to the research process. Public involvement has been acknowledged as a key priority for prominent human genomics research initiatives in many different countries. However, to date, there has been no detailed analysis or review of the features, methods, and impacts of public involvement occurring in human genomics research projects worldwide. Here, we review the reported public involvement in 96 human genomics projects (initiatives), based on a database of initiatives hosted by the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, according to information reported on public domain websites. To conduct the scoping review, we applied a structured categorization of criteria to all information extracted from the search. We found that only a third of all initiatives reported public involvement in any capacity (32/96, 33%). In those reporting public involvement, we found considerable variation in both the methods and tasks of involvement. Some noteworthy initiatives reported diverse and comprehensive ways of involving the public, occurring through different stages of the research project cycle. Three notable initiatives reported a total of eight distinct impacts as a result of involving people. Our findings suggest there would be intrinsic value in having more public involvement occur in human genomics research worldwide. We also suggest that more systematic ways of reporting and evaluating involvement would be highly beneficial, to help develop best practices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number79
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2019


  • Co-design and co-production
  • Genomics research
  • Patient and public involvement and engagement
  • Patient participation [MeSH term]
  • Public health
  • Public health genomics
  • Public involvement
  • Scoping review

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