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Table 2 Some early thoughts on when to favour coproduction and when not to

From: The dark side of coproduction: do the costs outweigh the benefits for health research?

Less emphasis on coproduction when … More emphasis when …
The policy or programme is likely to be controversial or the findings are likely to be contested The policy or programme is widely regarded as a ‘good thing’ and the findings are unlikely to be contested
Conflicts of interest between stakeholders are likely to be hard to manage (e.g. policy-makers are directly responsible for the successful delivery of a policy or programme) There are few fundamental conflicts of interest between stakeholders (e.g. policy-makers are not directly responsible for successful delivery of a policy or programme)
There is less concern to use the findings directly and immediately for policy or management decisions The main goal is to ‘use’ the findings for policy and management decisions
Funders and/or commissioners of the research value ‘expert’, dispassionate scientific inquiry above other forms of knowledge There are few concerns about the limitations of ‘policy-based evidence’
The nature and purpose of the policy or programme is relatively well defined and agreed upon The policy or programme still needs considerable definition, refinement, testing of feasibility, acceptability, etc.
The prime purpose of the research is to establish whether the policy or programme ‘works’ and there is strong prior commitment by policy-makers or managers to acting on the findings (i.e. ‘decision space’ is available) The prime purpose of the research is to identify how best to implement the policy or programme rather than whether or not to proceed with it
Undertaking the research is less dependent on cooperation of policy agencies or local programme implementers The research cannot easily be carried out without the active cooperation of policy-makers and/or local programme implementers
There are good, informal, ongoing relationships between the researchers, and policy-makers and service managers There is a need to increase mutual awareness and understanding between researchers, and policy-makers and service managers
One or more of time, resources and expertise are in limited supply to involve the key stakeholders at all appropriate points in the research process Time, resources and expertise are available to involve the key stakeholders at all appropriate points in the research process