CITATION: Finley N, Swartz TH, Cao K, Tucker JD (2020) How to make your research jump off the page: Co-creation to broaden public engagement in medical research. PLoS Med 17(9): e1003246.


  • Many scientific research manuscripts are intended for other researchers and not the public.
  • However, the public are involved in research as participants, taxpayers, and patients.
  • We discuss co-creation and how it can be used to enhance medical research.
  • Co-creation is an iterative, bidirectional collaboration between researchers and laypeople to create knowledge. This process can broaden public engagement in medical research.
  • Co-creation is related to theories of crowdsourcing, community-based participatory research, citizen science, and participatory action research.
  • Public online calls for input, crowdsourcing contests, hackathons, and participatory design sessions are all examples of activities to co-create with the public.
  • Infographics and videos are two tools that can be used to broaden public engagement in medical research.

Full text:

Read about the differences between: co-creation, co-production and citizen science as well?

Co-production has been coined by Sheila Jasanoff, and there is a lot to be read about it here:

Barbara Prainsack and colleagues have written extensively now on citizen science (as well as participatory medicine), with mounting numbers of examples, starting here:’citizen_science’_of_genetics_In_Prainsack_B_Werner-Felmayer_G_Schicktanz_S_eds_Genetics_as_Social_Practice_Farnham_Ashgate

For some examples of co-creation and co-design methods and implementation, please see:
– Moving from formative research to co-creation of interventions: insights from a community health system project in Mozambique, Nepal and Peru –
– Lessons learned about co-creation: developing a complex intervention in rural Peru –