Launch and promote your journal’s reporting guideline policy
Once you’ve designed your reporting guideline policy, you’ll need to let your readers, authors, and reviewers know about it. You could launch your policy using:
- An editorial
- Updated Instructions for Authors
- Updated Instructions for Reviewers
- Training courses for authors
A once-off promotion of your reporting guideline policy is unlikely to reach every author and reader of your journal. We suggest that you could keep publicising your reporting guideline policy by:
- Writing follow-up editorials
- Publishing articles in society newsletters
- Publishing positive author feedback
- Mentioning policy adherence in the annual editor’s thank-you
- Offering training sessions on reporting guidelines at key meetings
- Evaluating the reporting quality improvement in your journal after a set period
An editorial is a great opportunity to introduce your new reporting guideline policy and explain why you’ve chosen it. Publishers may find it helpful to publish the same editorial across multiple journals at once.
Here are a few examples of editorials explaining a journal’s reporting guideline policy:
- Lovell DP. Commentary: statistics for biomarkers. Biomarkers. 2012; 17(3):193-200. PMID: 22332747
- Sweet JJ. Editorial. EQUATOR – reporting guidelines for “Enhancing the QUality and Transparency Of health Research”. 2014; 28(4):547-548. Clin Neuropsychol. PMID: 24983313
- Tong A, Craig JC. Horses for courses: promoting transparent reporting of qualitative research in AJKD. Am J Kidney Dis. 2014; 63(1):1-3. PMID: 24360221
- McLeroy KR, Northridge ME, Balcazar H, Greenberg MR, Landers SJ. Reporting guidelines and the American Journal of Public Health’s adoption of Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses. Am J Public Health. 2012; 102(5):780-784. PMID: 22420806
- Chan L, Heinemann AW, Roberts J. Elevating the quality of disability and rehabilitation research: mandatory use of the reporting guidelines. Am J Occup Ther. 2014; 68(2):127-129. PMID: 24581397. Simultaneously published in 27 other journals.
Download template paragraphs (Word) to add to your Instructions for Authors. There are paragraphs for each implementation route. Editors may like to use just the first short paragraph or two to explain their policy. Publishers may like to also use the additional explanations. If you have selected certain guidelines for your journal, there are also sentences introducing key guidelines.
Regardless of which implementation route you select, we encourage you to alert your peer reviewers to reporting guidelines. They are an excellent tool for identifying whether an article includes all of the information the reviewer needs to properly judge an article.
In 2012, we found that around 35% of journals offered freely accessible online instructions about their peer review process and, of those, about half mention reporting guidelines. We’ve written a toolkit to help peer reviewers to use reporting guidelines as a first step in judging a manuscript.
Download template paragraphs (Word) to add to your Instructions for Reviewers. There are paragraphs for each implementation route. Editors may like to use just the first short paragraph or two to explain their policy. Publishers may like to also use the additional explanations. If you have selected certain guidelines for your journal, there are also sentences introducing key guidelines.
You could deliver online and in person training courses explaining your reporting guideline policy to your authors.
If you would like to share your training materials here, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org!