Background
There is a keen interest to develop research systems and increase research output in the 14 Pacific Island Forum Countries (PIFC) to support development of policies and practice based on locally relevant research evidence.

Aims
To assess the quantity and characteristics of reproductive health research output by each country (14 PIFC) from 2000 to 2011 using New Zealand’s reproductive research outputs as the reference.

Methods
A systematic search of the literature using a broad definition of reproductive health.

Results
There were 174 papers published in the PIFC from 2000 to 2011 compared with 628 papers published in New Zealand (NZ). Most (57%) of the PIFC papers were from Papua New Guinea (PNG), although Samoa had the most papers by population (10/100 000). Five of the countries did not have a single publication. The majority of papers from both the PIFC and NZ were observational studies (72 vs 36%). Authors from Australia were responsible for 34% of PIFC publications followed by 25% from PNG. Sixty‐three per cent of papers by PIFC sole and first authors were published in local journals, whereas 86% of non‐PIFC authors published in international journals.

Conclusion
There is a need for reproductive research in PIFC. PNG had the most publications on the back of a well‐funded dedicated research institute and a significant collaboration with Australian researchers. The large number of papers in PIFC countries without PIFC authors raises the question about the need to require non‐PIFC researchers to enter into genuine research partnerships in order to build research capacity in the PIFC.