EQUATOR research projects
EQUATOR is committed to undertaking relevant research projects to contribute towards improving the standard of health research reporting. Research topics include reviews of time trends in the nature and quality of publications; the development of tools to help users, developers and appraisers of reporting guidelines; and investigating strategies to help journals to improve the quality of manuscripts. We intend to seek funds for specific projects to assess the level of problems caused by poor reporting and to monitor changes in the use of reporting guidelines and the consequent impact on the health research evidence base.
Setting standards for titles of research studies submitted for ethical
Project undetaken in collaboration with the UK Health Research Authority
Contact: Dr Iveta Simera (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Survey of journals’ instructions to reviewers of
The research project, entitled 'What instructions and guidance do journals provide to their reviewers to assess submitted manuscripts?: A survey with particular emphasis on the use of reporting guidelines', aimed to survey journals’ instructions to reviewers of submitted manuscripts. The study summarised how journals use reporting guidelines in the peer review process, and explored how effective the editors have found reporting guidelines in improving manuscript quality.
This project was undertaken by Allison Hirst,
Research Fellow at the EQUATOR Network, with EQUATOR Steering Group
colleagues Professor Doug Altman, Dr Iveta Simera, Dr David Moher, Dr
John Hoey and Dr Kenneth F. Schulz.
Hirst A, Altman DG. Are peer reviewers encouraged to use reporting guidelines? A survey of 116 health research journals. PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e35621. PMID: 22558178
Survey of authors of reporting guidelines
EQUATOR’s first research project was a literature search to identify all guidelines for reporting health research studies published between 1996 and 2006. We then surveyed the authors of those guidelines to gather details about their development methodology, dissemination and implementation strategies, problems encountered, and whether any evaluations of impact had been conducted (published or unpublished). Authors of 37 generic guidelines on reporting medical research were surveyed, of whom 30 responded (81% response rate).
The survey found development methods were broadly similar but varied in important details; development usually took a long time; only half of the guideline developers had strategies for dissemination and implementation of their guidelines; and securing sufficient funding to develop, evaluate, and disseminate guidelines was a major problem.
EQUATOR concluded that there was a need to harmonise the development of reporting guidelines and concentrate more on their active promotion, implementation, and evaluation.
Simera I, Altman DG, Moher D, Schulz KF, Hoey J. Guidelines for reporting health research: The EQUATOR Network’s survey of guideline authors. PLoS Med 2008; 5(6): e139. [full text]
EQUATOR has since drawn up a guide for developers of reporting guidelines informed by these survey findings and extensive practical experience in the development of reporting guidelines.
Moher D, Schulz KF, Simera I, Altman DG. Guidance for Developers of Health Research Reporting Guidelines. PLoS Med 2010; 7(2): e1000217. [full text]
Systematic Review of published health research reporting guidelines
David Moher and colleagues have conducted a systematic review to identify published health research reporting guidelines. They specifically required that a consensus process must have been involved in the development of the guideline for its inclusion in the review. Seventy-six guidelines were included in a qualitative synthesis representing a range of guidelines including reporting clinical, laboratory, and health economics research.
The review demonstrates diversity in development approaches and sub-optimal reporting of the development process, suggesting the need to develop an instrument to help authors, editors, and others appraise the usefulness of any reporting guideline. The development of such a tool will be informed by this systematic review and the EQUATOR Network has already initiated work in this direction.
Moher D, Simera I, Schulz K, Miller D, Grimshaw J, Hoey J, Altman DG. Reporting
Guidelines for Clinical Research: A Systematic Review. 6th International Congress on
Peer Review and Biomedical Publication, Vancouver 2009.
Available: http://www.ama-assn.org/public/peer/abstracts-0912.pdf. (Accessed 28 June 2010).
Page last edited: 25 February 2013