UK EQUATOR Centre Lightning Workshops – Oxford

Join the UK EQUATOR Centre’s monthly one-hour practical and interactive workshops on all aspects of writing and publishing your academic research.

Workshops are held 12:30-13:30 in the Botnar Research Centre‘s main seminar room.

The workshop series is free for University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes staff and students, but registration is required. For notification of booking opening and announcement of other EQUATOR courses in Oxford, please join our mailing list by sending a blank email to

For more information and to enquire about UK EQUATOR Centre training for your department or group, please email Caroline Struthers (

Upcoming sessions

10 Jan 2019
Zero to hero: writing a bio – book now
Jen de Beyer
Create the perfect professional biography for your website, then convert it into a short conference bio.

2018 sessions

Fri 26 Jan 2018
Perfecting your elevator pitch – download worksheet (Word)
Jen de Beyer
Whether standing by your conference poster, at a professional networking event, or in the pub, the question is the same: “So, what is it that you do?” With that crucial two-minute elevator pitch answer ready, you’ll never say “ummmm” again!

Friday 23 February
Planning for publication – download worksheet (Word)
Jen de Beyer
What do you and your co-authors need to decide before you start to write? Get your message, audience, and target journal sorted now to ensure a smooth publication process!

Wed 28 March
Critical appraisal and peer review
Gary Collins
This session leads you step by step through conducting and writing up a peer review report.

19 April 2018
Avoiding authorship angst 
Jen de Beyer
Learn about the rules for authorship and practice negotiating authorship rights and responsibilities.

17 May 2018
Writing your first draft
Jen de Beyer
Once you’ve planned your publication, you’re ready to use reporting guidelines to write your first draft. We’ll cover the structure of a journal article, what info goes where, and common pitfalls to avoid in each article section.

14-15 June 2018
EQUATOR Publication School
The secrets of success in writing and publishing your research article.

4 July 2018
Reporting your statistical analyses – download slides (PDF)
Michael Schlussel
This workshop includes practical tips and tricks for making sure your paper makes a stats reviewer’s heart sing, and not sink!

30 Aug 2018
Writing an abstract 
Jen de Beyer
An article abstract needs to be an accurate well-structured summary and entice your readers to read further. As many readers only have access to the abstract, and it is often used by journal editors and scientific committees to decide whether to send the article for peer review, you need to get it spot on.

5 Sept 2018
Top titles & killer key words 
Jen de Beyer
Your article title is the first – and possibly only – thing that most people will read. A great title grabs your readers’ attention and gives them the full picture about your article. Bring along your latest project to practice writing declarative, descriptive, and question titles. We also talk about keywords, so often relegated to the last 5 minutes before submission

18 Oct 2018
Editing your own words
Jen de Beyer
Great writing is simple, clear, and complete. You’ll practice balancing these three elements in group editing exercises.

21 November 2018
Communications and social media
Jo Silva
Extend the life and reach of your article after publication by working with your communications team and engaging with potential readers through social media.

6 December 2018
Responding to peer reviewers comments
Michael Schlussel
Practice dealing with the kind, the fair, and the seriously challenging.

Annual EQUATOR Lecture 2017: Patrick Bossuyt

Patrick Bossuyt

We were delighted to welcome Patrick Bossuyt, Professor at the Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Biostatistics & Bioinformatics at the Academic Medical Center University of Amsterdam, to deliver the 8th EQUATOR Annual Lecture.



The lecture was held on the evening of Monday 11 September during the 2017 International Peer Review Congress being held at the Swissotel, Chicago, Illinois, USA and Professor Bossuyt spoke about ‘What a reporting guideline can do: fifteen years of STARD – Standards for reporting diagnostic accuracy studies’.


Brief lecture outline

In 1999, the publication of a study that demonstrated the existence of design-related bias in diagnostic accuracy studies led to the initiation of the STARD project. Diagnostic accuracy studies evaluate the ability of an imaging test, a laboratory test, or one or more other medical tests to correctly identify patients with the targeted disease. The report of such a study typically include estimates of the test’s sensitivity and specificity.

Diagnostic accuracy studies can be designed with or without design deficiencies. Studies with deficiencies are at risk of producing biased estimates, typically leading to accuracy estimates that are too high. Unfortunately, these design features are not always included in the study report. Other clinical features that allow readers to appraise the findings such as the eligibility criteria, or the age and sex of the study participants are also often missing from reports.

The STARD reporting guideline was presented in 2003, to facilitate complete and transparent descriptions of diagnostic accuracy studies, and to improve the informativeness of study reports. The guideline was updated in 2015,

The lecture looked back at the dissemination and implementation of the STARD reporting guideline and explored this both in terms of improving completeness of reporting, which was the primary aim of STARD, and through other benefits, such as the gradual standardization of terminology, and the development of related initiatives.

A recording of the lecture is available on YouTube at: EQUATOR Annual Lecture 2017
Please scroll to 4:28 to to listen to the lecture.


Short Biography

Patrick M. Bossuyt is the professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Amsterdam and Head of the Division of Public Health and Clinical Methods in the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam. He studies the effectiveness of clinical interventions and helps translating study results to recommendations for practice. Dr Bossuyt leads the Biomarker and Test Evaluation Research program in Amsterdam, which aims to appraise and develop methods for evaluating medical tests and biomarkers. He spearheaded the STARD initiative to improve the reporting of diagnostic accuracy studies. Dr Bossuyt chairs the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Dutch Health Insurance Board, overseeing the national health care benefits package.


Protocol Development Workshop Bond University Australia

Protocol Development Workshop

Our colleagues at Australasian EQUATOR Centre and The Centre for Research in Evidence-Based Practice are pleased to invite you to their upcoming 2-day workshop to be held at Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia.

Date: 27 – 28 March 2018

Time: 8:45am – 5:00pm (Registration opens from 8:15am)


This workshop aims to take you from a research question to a complete study protocol. Preference will be given to those who wish to work on their own protocol. You will be asked to submit a brief outline beforehand. If you don’t have an idea ready for protocol development, you can still attend, and help with other participants’ protocols.

Who should attend:

This workshop is aimed at newer researchers who have a good understanding of evidence-based practice and study design, and are now ready to design their own research project. Study designs suitable to bring to this workshop include randomised trials, cohort studies (prospective or retrospective), case-control studies, and surveys.


The workshop will consist of short talks, followed by practical sessions in small groups. Two facilitators for each group will help development, answer questions, and ensure your idea gets the input needed to turn it into a protocol suitable for submission to an ethics committee, or ready to include in a grant application.

Registration costs for the 2 days: $600 per participant

Click here to register

Any questions? Please contact:

Melanie Vermeulen –

Introduction to Medical Research: Essential Skills

OUCAGS logoThe Introduction to Medical Research: Essential Skills course provides an overview of key steps and common methods in medical research and its publication.

We deliver the course for the Oxford University Clinical Academic School and it’s available to Oxford Foundation School doctors free of charge.

The course is divided into four modules which run over four Saturday mornings during the Michaelmas and Trinity Terms, at the John Radcliffe Hospital:

Module 1: Research planning: before you start your research project  lays the foundation for getting involved in medical research, from basic research conduct principles through to building the evidence base underpinning a research project

Module 2: Research design and protocols  introduces the main types of study design and the skills required to critically appraise a research study, and explores the practicalities of writing a protocol

Module 3: Statistical thinking  introduces the basics of medical statistics, such as understanding sampling, and making inferences from samples to populations

Module 4: Research publication and dissemination  covers the process of getting your research published in peer-reviewed journals or presented at conferences

To find out when the next courses will be run and be put on the course’s mailing list, email

If you are already registered on the course, resources and handouts are available here.  Please contact OUCAGS to obtain the password to access this page.

Doug Altman: thoughts on 28 years of the Peer Review Congress

Professor Doug AltmanI recently attended the 8th Congress on Peer Review in Chicago (10-12 September 2017). Unusually this event takes place only every 4 years, so this was the 8th such Congress in a series starting in 1989. I’m one of very few people who have attended all 8 congresses (and no, I don’t know the difference between a congress and a conference).

David Moher speaking at the EQUATOR Network Satelite WorkshopThe EQUATOR team were invited to present a satellite workshop on Saturday 9th.  We rose to the challenge and decided to tackle the topic of what journals can do to implement reporting guidelines.  The rather ambitious idea was to produce a one-page “Action Plan” for journals and publishers to kick-start activities to embed reporting guidelines more effectively.  Read an excellent account of the workshop by Margeret Winker on the WAME blog.  Many thanks to Jason Roberts and other correspondents who reported from the coalface of reporting guideline implementation, Allan Heinemann, Sabina Alam and Mario Maliki.

All eight meetings have been run over three days, are entirely plenary, and all contributed presentations have ten minutes with a further ten minutes for discussion. Those features help to give the meeting an unusual flavour.

The meetings are always referred to as peer review congresses but their scope has evolved over time. At the 1989 congress most of the talks were indeed about peer review, but other topics discussed included publication bias and fraud. Over time the programmes have included increasing numbers of presentations about the reporting of research. The field of publication has evolved rapidly over the 28 years, influenced massively by the internet and the introduction of digital publication. Underpinning much of the research is the consistent concern that much of the research published in journals is flawed, either in methodology or reporting. Recent years have seen those concerns broaden to include topics such as reporting guidelines, selective publication, abstracts, trial registration, with new issues this year including predatory journals and online preprints.

The broader focus has been accompanied by a change in the name this year from peer review and biomedical publication, to peer review and scientific publication

A great feature of this year’s congress was the large number of young attenders and indeed young presenters. Some hadn’t been born at the time of the first meeting in 1989.

Patrick Bossuyt, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Amsterdam For the third time the (almost) annual EQUATOR Lecture was held at the end of the middle day of the Congress. This year’s speaker was Patrick Bossuyt from Amsterdam, who gave an excellent presentation of diagnostic accuracy studies and reviewed the development, evolution and impact of the STARD Statement, the reporting guideline for such studies. Watch the 8th EQUATOR Annual Lecture (please scroll to 4:28 to hear Patrick’s talk).

I’ve been wondering what led me to attend the 1989 congress, also in Chicago. I had been doing reviewing for the BMJ for some years and since 1987 I had been attending some of the journal’s weekly manuscript meetings (then called the hanging committee), sharing the role with Martin Gardner. I had been interested in journals and the role of statisticians in peer review, and had more than once already expressed concern about the poor quality of statistics in published journal articles. Martin and I (and others) had developed a checklist to help statistical peer reviewers, and Martin led a pilot study to evaluate it. He presented the findings at the 1989 congress, so we travelled across together.

Extract from an editorial written by Drummond Rennie and published in JAMA in 1986.From the beginning the force behind the PRCs has been Drummond Rennie. With the support of  JAMA and the AMA he published an advance notice nearly three years before the first meeting highlighting the lack of evidence behind editorial policies and peer review in particular. He urged people to conduct research to present at the meeting. Fifty abstracts were submitted in 1989, with a steady increase over time to 260 in 2017. This year’s congress was the biggest so far with about 600 delegates.

For a round up of the whole event, see Hilda Bastian’s blog, or check out the running commentary on #PRC8.


EQUATOR Protocol Publication School

UK EQUATOR Centre Publication School flyerTurn your research question into a perfect protocol in just two days!

Booking now closed.

Thursday-Friday 27-28 September 2018 

St Anne’s College, Oxford

This workshop is for nurses, midwives, allied and other health professionals with an interest or experience in research, and a basic understanding of evidence-based practice and study design.

With an emphasis on practical sessions in small groups, experienced facilitators will give hands-on advice and guidance, with short talks to introduce key topics. We aim to ensure your idea gets the input needed to turn it into a scientifically robust well-written protocol suitable for including in a grant application, an ethics committee or review board submission, or for publication in a journal.

You will be asked to submit a brief research outline no less than two weeks before the course begins. If you don’t yet have an idea ready for protocol development, you can still attend, and help with other participants’ protocols.

Study designs suitable to bring to this workshop include randomised trials, cohort studies (prospective or retrospective), case-control studies, and surveys. Protocols for both qualitative and quantitative studies will be covered.

Registration costs:
£285 (not including accommodation)
£350 (including Thursday night B&B)
£399 (including Wednesday and Thursday night B&B)
(NB – unfortunately only basin only/shared bathroom rooms are available Wednesday night, but for Thursday night the rooms are ensuite)

Lunch and refreshments are included in the price of registration
Maximum number of places available is 20 to facilitate small group learning

For further information or to enquire about eligibility or student and other discounts, please contact Caroline Struthers

We regret that the seminar room is on the first floor with no lift. Please contact me if this is an issue and I will do my best to find a solution.

Improving the availabilty and transparency of flu vaccine studies: have your say!

Person receiving a vaccination in their arm.The WHO Initiative for Vaccine Research is developing a statement on improving availability and transparency of observational studies on influenza vaccine effectiveness. WHO calls on all interested persons to provide comments on the draft statement. Comments will be accepted via a web survey until 15 July 2017 and will be collated and reviewed. After that time, the statement will be revised based on the public feedback.

For any questions about the statement development, please contact



Three winners of the 2017 Cochrane-REWARD prize for reducing waste in research

The three winners of the inaugural Cochrane-REWARD prize 2017

Representing the three winners of the inaugural Cochrane-REWARD prize 2017 (Left to right) SYRCLE, NIHR and the COMET Initiative

The ceremony to award the first Cochrane-REWARD prizes for reducing waste in research took place at during the 5thWorld Conference on Research Integrity in Amsterdam on 30 May 2017.  Given the high standard of the 18 applicants, the panel decided to award three prizes recognising local or pilot initiatives that could lead to reductions in research waste.  This year’s winners were, in first place, the Adding Value in Research programme of the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), and in joint second place the Systematic Review Center for animal Experimentation (SYRCLE) in Nijmegen, Netherlands, and the Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials (COMET) Initiative coordinated in Liverpool, England.

NIHR’s Adding Value in Research programme aims to ensure that research funded by the NIHR addresses questions that are relevant to clinicians, patients, and the public; uses appropriate design and methods; is delivered efficiently; results in accessible full publication; and produces unbiased and usable reports. It, therefore, matches the key goals of the REWARD campaign in tackling waste at every stage of research. Examples of activities promoted by the programme include requiring funding applications for primary research to reference systematic reviews showing what is already known on a topic; ensuring NIHR-funded research is fully reported; and involving patients not only on funding committees but also in monitoring trials.

SYRCLE undertakes teaching, coaching, and research about systematic reviews of animal studies. These activities are designed to improve the reliability of laboratory animal research and its relevance for patients. Systematic reviews help to make existing evidence more transparent, prevent duplication, and identify knowledge gaps. Since commencing the systematic reviews of animal studies, Radboud University has seen a 35% drop in animals used, and the Netherlands a 15% drop. Started in the Netherlands, SYRCLE is building a global network of ambassadors to promote its work.

The COMET Initiative brings together people interested in the development and application of agreed standardised sets of research outcomes, known as ‘core outcome sets’, relevant to health service users and clinicians. These outcome sets represent the minimum that should be measured and reported in all clinical trials of treatments for a specific condition, and can also be used in clinical audits. Use of COMET’s core outcome sets facilitates comparability of trials and use in systematic reviews. Importantly COMET has two current initiatives: (i) a funder (NIHR) requests trial applications check and refer to COMET, and (ii) with a trials registry (ISRCTN) to provide advice at the time of registration.

The Cochrane-REWARD Prize will be awarded again in 2018. Details for applicants for the 2018 prize will be announced in late 2017 for submission by August 2018.

EQUATOR Network honoured by the Council of Science Editors

Iveta Simera who accepted the CSE 2017 Award for Meritorious Achievement on behalf of the EQUATOR NetworkWe are proud and delighted to announce that on 23 May 2017, Iveta Simera accepted the Council for Science Editors’ (CSE) 2017 Award for Meritorious Achievement on behalf of the EQUATOR Network. CSE’s highest award is given to a person or institution dedicated to the improvement of scientific communication through the pursuit of high standards in all activities connected with editing.

This award was made to honour the contributions of the EQUATOR Network and our continuing efforts to promote the ethical conduct, reporting, and publication of scientific work.

Over the last 10 years the EQUATOR team has worked hard to support researchers, journal editors and peer reviewers in writing and publishing well-reported research papers. This award is a fantastic recognition, not only for the whole EQUATOR team but also for all those who support us in our efforts.

The way we disseminate research findings is changing dramatically. However, complete, accurate and transparent reporting remains one of the key pillars that make research useful and reproducible.

Dr Iveta Simera

Established in 2006 and based at the Centre of Statistics in Medicine in Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS), the EQUATOR Network is a unique internationally recognised initiative to support health researchers in how they write and publish about their work.

The EQUATOR Network joins past winners such as the Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID), the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and the National Library of Medicine.

The CSE is an international membership organisation for editorial professionals publishing in the sciences. It serves over 800 members in the scientific, scientific publishing, and information science communities by fostering networking, education, discussion, and exchange. Through their focus on ‘the four Es’ of Education, Ethics, and Evidence for Editors, they aim to be an authoritative resource on current and emerging issues in the communication of scientific information.