Launch of the Campbell China Network

By Howard White, CEO, Campbell Collaboration 

Part of Campbell’s strategy for 2019-22 is to ‘Go East’. That is, to support the production and use of reviews across Asia. We launched Go East by setting up Campbell South Asia in July this year, and the strategy has just been boosted by the launch of the Campbell China Network in Nanjing in November 2019.

China network members
Representatives from the member organisations of the Campbell China Network. Click here for the website.

The Chinese interest in Campbell goes back to a visit by Campbell Co-chair, Professor Haluk Soydan, to Lanzhou University in 2008. After that visit, aspiring PhD candidate Zhenggang Bai spent a year at the University of Southern California under the supervision of Haluk and Professor Iris Chi. On his return, Zhenggang was, amongst other things, involved in the effort to produce Chinese language translations of the summaries of Campbell reviews produced by Lanzhou University.

By 2016, Zhenggang had moved to the Social Work Department at the Nanjing University of Science and Technology (NJUST). In the same year, he attended the What Works Global Summit in London, where he expressed interest in establishing a Campbell centre in Nanjing.

Two years later, Julia Littell and I attended the ‘First Meeting of Evidence Based Social Sciences’ at NJUST, which brought together researchers from universities across China. The enthusiasm for Campbell and systematic reviews was evident. There were already some on-going reviews, such as Zhenggang’s own review ‘Family-based interventions for improving social and health outcomes in perpetrators and victims of school bullying’. To harness this energy and provide a structure to support Chinese researchers wanting to produce Campbell maps and reviews, we agreed to establish the Campbell China Network. Supported by a small secretariat at NJUST, the network holds meetings of Chinese researchers once or twice a year to share their Campbell research.

Of course, one member of this network is Lanzhou University, which had continued to be active in this space culminating in the establishment of the Evidence Based Social Science Centre in 2017 under the leadership of Professor Kehu Yang. In 2018, Campbell’s Editor in Chief, Vivian Welch, visited Lanzhou where she signed an memorandum of understanding for collaboration between Campbell and the new centre.

This November, I visited Lanzhou myself where we held a workshop to discuss 24 proposed evidence and gap maps (EGMs) and reviews by staff and students. One of these projects – on the best time of day for exercise – is already at the protocol stage. Others, on a diverse range of topics such as female crime reduction, home-based interventions for the prevention of child neglect, and exercise interventions for the promotion of mental health among refugee children and adolescents, are in preparation.

Lanzhou University will host the second meeting of the Campbell China Network in May 2020 at which I hope to hear presentations of many of these studies.

The members of the Campbell China Network are:

  • Evidence Based Social Science Centre at Lanzhou
  • Evidence-based Research Center of Social Science & Health at NJUST
  • Chinese Evidence-based Medicine Centre
  • International Evidence Based Social Science Research Center
  • Sichuan International Studies University
  • Faculty of Education, Bohai University
  • Shandong Women’s College Society and Law School
  • Department of Psychology, Guangzhou University
  • Ethnic Policy Simulation Research Laboratory, School of Ethnology and Sociology, South-Central University for Nationalities (SCUN)
  • College of Ecology and Environment , Chengdu University of Technology
  • Center for Evidence-Based and Translational Medicine, Wuhan University
  • Shanghai Monetware Data Technology Co., Ltd.

The next Campbell China Network meeting will include a workshop to support the development of title registrations and protocols by researchers from these institutions. Campbell has gone East, starting a collaboration which will grow stronger as the years go by.

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