Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research

Implementation of reporting guidelines in journals: Wolters Kluwer experience


Wolters Kluwer has recently introduced open access article types to their newly fully open access journal title Medicine. The journal’s open access article types require authors to adhere to appropriate reporting guidelines and to submit checklists and flow diagrams when submitting their manuscript. The Medicine journal website clearly correlates each article type that may be submitted with an appropriate reporting guideline to help authors ensure that they use the correct guideline.

Medicine article types

  • Clinical Trial/Experimental Study (CONSORT Compliant)
  • Observational Study (STROBE Compliant)
  • Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA Compliant)
  • Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE Compliant)
  • Diagnostic Accuracy Study (STARD Compliant)
  • Quality Improvement Study (SQUIRE Compliant)
  • Economic Evaluation Study (CHEERS Compliant)
  • Clinical Case Report (CARE Compliant)


Duncan MacRae, Senior Publisher, Open Access, Medical Journals at Wolters Kluwer Health Medical Research who is implementing this new policy, explained that it was hoped “that this will provide an objective level of quality control for open access submissions, and provide a consistent framework for our editors and authors”.


Duncan was also involved in a similar initiative back in January 2011 for the journal Neurosurgery. Below Duncan briefly outlines his experience of implementing this change of policy in the journal neurosurgery.

We implemented this over the next 6 months:

  1. 1. We provided a grace period for authors who had already submitted, or were on the verge of submitting.
  2. 2. We communicated to authors via the attached editorial and via email blasts over the next 6 months.
  3. 3. Uploaded all checklists/flow diagrams to the journal submission site.
  4. 4. Required authors at submission, and reviewers and editors during the review process, to affirm that the appropriate guidelines has been followed.
  5. 5. Asked authors to submit completed checklists and flow diagrams as supplemental material for review where appropriate.

Issues we encountered:

  • A couple of the checklists are not really structured as interactive checklists for authors to “fill-out”; STROBE for example. So we had to modify the form to allow authors to enter page numbers where items have been addressed.
  • Like most journals, our article types were very broad (eg, original study), so we couldn’t make the forms required at an article level in the online submission system. I’ve addressed this in Medicine by making the article types and reporting guidelines essentially the same thing.
  • There was very little push-back from authors. Questions mostly related to which guideline they should use and for experienced submitters “Why haven’t I had to do this in the past?”


For more information please visit: http://journals.lww.com/md-journal/pages/aboutMedicine.aspx


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