The Syrian conflict has galvanized the attention of humanitarian agencies, international organizations, and academic institutions. The global response necessitated new forms of North–South research collaboration, often involving international investigators unfamiliar with the social make-up, political economy, or the nature of the conflict in the Middle East. Research has led to new knowledge on the health and social implications of the crisis and highlighted challenges of the humanitarian response. But some of this research has revealed ethically dubious fieldwork practices, inequities, and power dynamics in the funding, conduct, and dissemination of academic research across global North–South divides.
A dominant form of collaboration that has emerged, especially in the multi-institutional Syrian refugee research complex, has been one where institutions in high-income countries are incentivized to be the conceptualizers and producers, while Middle East partners become facilitators and executers."
In this context, Dr. Abla M. Sibai and others from the Faculty of Health Sciences at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon joined a team of colleagues from the Magdalene College and Department of Sociology at University of Cambridge, UK; the Center for Population and Development Studies at Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health, USA; KCL Institute of Cancer Policy at King's College London and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK to address north–south inequities in research collaboration in conflict areas and discuss guidelines that support contextually led and more equitable collaborative partnerships in health research in such contexts.