A survey exploring biomedical editors’ perceptions of editorial interventions to improve adherence to reporting guidelines



Blanco, David, Hren, Darko ORCID: 0000-0001-6465-6568, Kirkham, Jamie, Cobo, Erik and Schroter, Sara
(2019) A survey exploring biomedical editors’ perceptions of editorial interventions to improve adherence to reporting guidelines.

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Abstract

Background: Improving the completeness of reporting of biomedical research is essential for improving its usability. For this reason, hundreds of reporting guidelines have been created in the last few decades but adherence to these remains suboptimal. This survey aims to inform future evaluations of interventions to improve adherence to reporting guidelines. In particular, it gathers editors’ perceptions of a range of interventions at various stages in the editorial process.   Methods: We surveyed biomedical journal editors that were knowledgeable about this topic. The questionnaire included open and closed questions that explored (i) the current practice of their journals, (ii) their perceptions of the ease of implementation of different interventions and the potential effectiveness of these at improving adherence to reporting guidelines, (iii) the barriers and facilitators associated with these interventions, and (iv) suggestions for future interventions and incentives. Results: Of the 99 editors invited, 24 (24%) completed the survey. Involving trained editors or administrative staff was deemed the potentially most effective intervention but, at the same time, it was considered moderately difficult to implement due to logistic and resource issues. Participants believed that checking adherence to guidelines goes beyond the role of peer reviewers and were concerned that the quality of peer review could be compromised. Reviewers are generally not expected to focus on reporting issues but on providing an expert view on the importance, novelty, and relevance of the manuscript. Journals incentivising adherence, and publishers and medical institutions encouraging journals to take action to boost adherence were two recurrent themes. Conclusions: Implementing and evaluating editorial interventions to improve adherence to reporting guidelines is essential to improve the transparency of published research. This survey aims to cast light on the barriers and facilitators that can be expected when implementing diverse interventions, as well as on the potential impact of these interventions.

Item Type: Article
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2020 13:25
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2022 22:15
DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.20556.2
Open Access URL: https://f1000research.com/articles/8-1682/v3
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3075557