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The EQUATOR wizard: a new tool to help authors find the right reporting guideline

17/12/2015

wizardAs was recently revealed in a PLOS Medicine editorial, The EQUATOR Network is delighted to be working with innovative start-up Penelope Research who have released a new tool to help authors find and use reporting guidelines.

Journals encourage authors to adhere to reporting guidelines but in practice it’s difficult to enforce them. When Penelope founder and EQUATOR Fellow James Harwood talked to editors he was surprised to hear that many authors struggle to work out which guidelines are right for their study. Often this is because they don’t know which paradigm they used.

This is one of the main problems EQUATOR is trying to solve and so, together, we’ve made a tool that helps authors determine their study paradigm and then gives them the guidelines they need. It covers all of the major guidelines and (in the words of a Lancet editor) works like a choose-your-own-adventure-book.

The wizard will be available to any journals that wish to offer it to their authors. It can be embedded into author instruction pages, or linked to from within submission software.

James had some great feedback when he introduced it at the recent Research Waste conference in Edinburgh, and he also has a pilot lined up with BioMed Central to see if it improves the reporting quality of their submissions.

The full Penelope manuscript scrutiny software uses machine reading to help scientists improve their articles before submitting to a journal and will also be piloting in the New Year.

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