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1.  Does journal endorsement of reporting guidelines influence the completeness of reporting of health research? A systematic review protocol 
Systematic Reviews  2012;1:24.
Background
Reporting of health research is often inadequate and incomplete. Complete and transparent reporting is imperative to enable readers to assess the validity of research findings for use in healthcare and policy decision-making. To this end, many guidelines, aimed at improving the quality of health research reports, have been developed for reporting a variety of research types. Despite efforts, many reporting guidelines are underused. In order to increase their uptake, evidence of their effectiveness is important and will provide authors, peer reviewers and editors with an important resource for use and implementation of pertinent guidance. The objective of this study was to assess whether endorsement of reporting guidelines by journals influences the completeness of reporting of health studies.
Methods
Guidelines providing a minimum set of items to guide authors in reporting a specific type of research, developed with explicit methodology, and using a consensus process will be identified from an earlier systematic review and from the EQUATOR (Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research) Network’s reporting guidelines library. MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Methodology Register and Scopus will be searched for evaluations of those reporting guidelines; relevant evaluations from the recently conducted CONSORT systematic review will also be included. Single data extraction with 10% verification of study characteristics, 20% of outcomes and complete verification of aspects of study validity will be carried out. We will include evaluations of reporting guidelines that assess the completeness of reporting: (1) before and after journal endorsement, and/or (2) between endorsing and non-endorsing journals. For a given guideline, analyses will be conducted for individual and the total sum of items. When possible, standard, pooled effects with 99% confidence intervals using random effects models will be calculated.
Discussion
Evidence on which guidelines have been evaluated and which are associated with improved completeness of reporting is important for various stakeholders, including editors who consider which guidelines to endorse in their journal editorial policies.
doi:10.1186/2046-4053-1-24
PMCID: PMC3482392  PMID: 22626029
Reporting guidelines; Evaluation; Systematic review; Completeness of reporting
2.  Preparing raw clinical data for publication: guidance for journal editors, authors, and peer reviewers 
Trials  2010;11:9.
In recognition of the benefits of transparent reporting, many peer-reviewed journals require that their authors be prepared to share their raw, unprocessed data with other scientists and/or state the availability of raw data in published articles. But little information on how data should be prepared for publication - or sharing - has emerged. In clinical research patient privacy and consent for use of personal health information are key considerations, but agreed-upon definitions of what constitutes anonymised patient information do not appear to have been established. We aim to address this issue by providing practical guidance for those involved in the publication process, by proposing a minimum standard for de-identifying datasets for the purposes of publication in a peer-reviewed biomedical journal, or sharing with other researchers. Basic advice on file preparation is provided along with procedural guidance on prospective and retrospective publication of raw data, with an emphasis on randomised controlled trials.
In order to encourage its wide dissemination this article is freely accessible on the BMJ and Trials journal web sites.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-11-9
PMCID: PMC2825513  PMID: 20113465
3.  Responsible reporting of health research studies: transparent, complete, accurate and timely 
Complete, accurate and transparent reporting is an integral part of responsible research conduct. However, many studies have shown that health research publications frequently lack crucial information. Reporting guidelines like the CONSORT Statement help to improve the quality of research reports. Unfortunately, their uptake by journals and authors is still limited and does not maximize their potential. The EQUATOR Network, a new international initiative, leads the effort to promote transparent reporting of research and the use of reporting guidelines. It provides online resources and training relating to the reporting of health research, and assists in the development, dissemination and implementation of reporting guidelines (www.equator-network.org). Poor reporting practices can be decreased only through close collaboration of all parties involved in research and its publication; EQUATOR can facilitate the process.
doi:10.1093/jac/dkp410
PMCID: PMC2793689  PMID: 19900949
EQUATOR Network; reporting guidelines; research reporting
4.  Evaluating the impact and use of Transparent Reporting of Evaluations with Non-randomised Designs (TREND) reporting guidelines 
BMJ Open  2012;2(6):e002073.
Introduction
Accurate and full reporting of evaluation of interventions in health research is needed for evidence synthesis and informed decision-making. Evidence suggests that biases and incomplete reporting affect the assessment of study validity and the ability to include this data in secondary research. The Transparent Reporting of Evaluations with Non-randomised Designs (TREND) reporting guideline was developed to improve the transparency and accuracy of the reporting of behavioural and public health evaluations with non-randomised designs. Evaluations of reporting guidelines have shown that they can be effective in improving reporting completeness. Although TREND occupies a niche within reporting guidelines, and despite it being 8 years since publication, no study yet has assessed its impact on reporting completeness or investigated what factors affect its use by authors and journal editors. This protocol describes two studies that aim to redress this.
Methods and analysis
Study 1 will use an observational design to examine the uptake and use of TREND by authors, and by journals in their instructions to authors. A comparison of reporting completeness and study quality of papers that do and do not use TREND to inform reporting will be made. Study 2 will use a cross-sectional survey to investigate what factors inhibit or facilitate authors’ and journal editors’ use of TREND. Semistructured interviews will also be conducted with a subset of authors and editors to explore findings from study 1 and the surveys in greater depth.
Ethics and dissemination
These studies will generate evidence of how implementation and dissemination of the TREND guideline has affected reporting completeness in studies with experimental, non-randomised designs within behavioural and public health research. The project has received ethics approval from the Research Ethics Committee of the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002073
PMCID: PMC3533093  PMID: 23257774
Public Health; Qualitative Research
5.  Conflicts of interest in biomedical publications: considerations for authors, peer reviewers, and editors 
Croatian Medical Journal  2013;54(6):600-608.
This article overviews evidence on common instances of conflict of interest (COI) in research publications from general and specialized fields of biomedicine. Financial COIs are viewed as the most powerful source of bias, which may even distort citation outcomes of sponsored publications. The urge to boost journal citation indicators by stakeholders of science communication is viewed as a new secondary interest, which may compromize the interaction between authors, peer reviewers, and editors. Comprehensive policies on disclosure of financial and non-financial COIs in scholarly journals are presented as proxies of their indexing in evidence-based databases, and examples of successful medical journals are discussed in detail. Reports on clinical trials, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and clinical practice guidelines may be unduly influenced by author-pharmaceutical industry relations, but these publications do not always contain explicit disclosures to allow the readers to judge the reliability of the published conclusions and practice-changing recommendations. The article emphasizes the importance of adhering to the guidance on COI from learned associations such as the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). It also considers joint efforts of authors, peer reviewers, and editors as a foundation for appropriately defining and disclosing potential COIs.
doi:10.3325/cmj.2013.54.600
PMCID: PMC3893982  PMID: 24382859
6.  The CONSORT statement: revised recommendations for improving the quality of reports of parallel group randomized trials 
To comprehend the results of a randomized controlled trial (RCT), readers must understand its design, conduct, analysis and interpretation. That goal can only be achieved through complete transparency from authors. Despite several decades of educational efforts, the reporting of RCTs needs improvement. Investigators and editors developed the original CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) statement to help authors improve reporting by using a checklist and flow diagram. The revised CONSORT statement presented in this paper incorporates new evidence and addresses some criticisms of the original statement.
The checklist items pertain to the content of the Title, Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion. The revised checklist includes 22-items selected because empirical evidence indicates that not reporting the information is associated with biasedestimates of treatment effect or the information is essential to judge the reliability or relevance of the findings. We intended the flow diagram to depict the passage of participants through an RCT. The revised flow diagram depicts information from four stages of a trial (enrolment, intervention allocation, follow-up, and analysis). The diagram explicitly includes the number of participants, for each intervention group, included in the primary data analysis. Inclusion of these numbers allows the reader to judge whether the authors have performed an intention-to-treat analysis.
In sum, the CONSORT statement is intended to improve the reporting of an RCT, enabling readers to understand a trial's conduct and to assess the validity of its results.
doi:10.1186/1471-2288-1-2
PMCID: PMC32201  PMID: 11336663
7.  Reporting guidelines for modelling studies 
Background
Modelling studies are used widely to help inform decisions about health care and policy and their use is increasing. However, in order for modelling to gain strength as a tool for health policy, it is critical that key model factors are transparent so that users of models can have a clear understanding of the model and its limitations.Reporting guidelines are evidence-based tools that specify minimum criteria for authors to report their research such that readers can both critically appraise and interpret study findings. This study was conducted to determine whether there is an unmet need for population modelling reporting guidelines.
Methods
We conducted a review of the literature to identify: 1) guidance for reporting population modelling studies; and, 2) evidence on the quality of reporting of population modelling studies. Guidance for reporting was analysed using a thematic approach and the data was summarised as frequencies. Evidence on the quality of reporting was reviewed and summarized descriptively.
Results
There were no guidelines that specifically addressed the reporting of population modelling studies. We identified a number of reporting guidelines for economic evaluation studies, some of which had sections that were relevant population modelling studies. Amongst seven relevant records, we identified 69 quality criteria that have distinct reporting characteristics. We identified two papers that addressed reporting practices of modelling studies. Overall, with the exception of describing the data used for calibration, there was little consistency in reporting.
Conclusions
While numerous guidelines exist for developing and evaluating health technology assessment and economic evaluation models, which by extension could be applicable to population modelling studies, there is variation in their comprehensiveness and in the consistency of reporting these methods. Population modelling studies may be an area which would benefit from the development of a reporting guideline.
doi:10.1186/1471-2288-12-168
PMCID: PMC3533955  PMID: 23134698
8.  Transparency in Evidence Evaluation And Formulary Decision-Making 
Pharmacy and Therapeutics  2013;38(8):465-483.
The authors sought to clarify the relationship between evidence-based medicine and access to drug coverage. They concluded that a structured approach to improving clarity, consistency, and transparency was lacking.
Objective:
Establishing a better understanding of the relationship between evidence evaluation and formulary decision-making has important implications for patients, payers, and providers. The goal of our study was to develop and test a structured approach to evidence evaluation to increase clarity, consistency, and transparency in formulary decision-making.
Study Design:
The study comprised three phases. First, an expert panel identified key constructs to formulary decision-making and created an evidence-assessment tool. Second, with the use of a balanced incomplete block design, the tool was validated by a large group of decision-makers. Third, the tool was pilot-tested in a real-world P&T committee environment.
Methods:
An expert panel identified key factors associated with formulary access by rating the level of access that they would give a drug in various hypothetical scenarios. These findings were used to formulate an evidence-assessment tool that was externally validated by surveying a larger sample of decision-makers. Last, the tool was pilot-tested in a real-world environment where P&T committees used it to review new drugs.
Results:
Survey responses indicated that a structured approach in the formulary decision-making process could yield greater clarity, consistency, and transparency in decision-making; however, pilot-testing of the structured tool in a real-world P&T committee environment highlighted some of the limitations of our structured approach.
Conclusion:
Although a structured approach to formulary decision-making is beneficial for patients, health care providers, and other stakeholders, this benefit was not realized in a real-world environment. A method to improve clarity, consistency, and transparency is still needed.
PMCID: PMC3814436  PMID: 24222979
evidence; decision-making; formulary; access
9.  Resources for authors of reports of randomized trials: harnessing the wisdom of authors, editors, and readers 
Trials  2011;12:98.
The CONSORT Statement was developed to help authors improve the quality of reporting randomized trials. To augment the statement we published the CONSORT explanation and elaboration paper which included at least one example of good reporting for each CONSORT checklist item. We are developing a comprehensive database of examples of good reporting for each checklist item to take advantage of the breadth and variety of trials familiar to authors and readers globally. We invite authors, editors, and readers worldwide to nominate examples of well reported items for the database.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-12-98
PMCID: PMC3094235  PMID: 21504615
10.  Bias in research 
Biochemia Medica  2013;23(1):12-15.
By writing scientific articles we communicate science among colleagues and peers. By doing this, it is our responsibility to adhere to some basic principles like transparency and accuracy. Authors, journal editors and reviewers need to be concerned about the quality of the work submitted for publication and ensure that only studies which have been designed, conducted and reported in a transparent way, honestly and without any deviation from the truth get to be published. Any such trend or deviation from the truth in data collection, analysis, interpretation and publication is called bias. Bias in research can occur either intentionally or unintentionally. Bias causes false conclusions and is potentially misleading. Therefore, it is immoral and unethical to conduct biased research. Every scientist should thus be aware of all potential sources of bias and undertake all possible actions to reduce or minimize the deviation from the truth. This article describes some basic issues related to bias in research.
doi:10.11613/BM.2013.003
PMCID: PMC3900086  PMID: 23457761
bias; sampling errors; research design
11.  Authors, editors, and the signs, symptoms and causes of plagiarism 
Saudi Journal of Anaesthesia  2011;5(3):303-307.
Plagiarism and inadequate citing appear to have reached epidemic proportions in research publication. This article discusses how plagiarism is defined and suggests some possible causes for the increase in the plagiarism disease. Most editors do not have much tolerance for text re-use with inadequate citation regardless of reasons why words are copied from other sources without correct attribution. However, there is now some awareness that re-use of words in research articles to improve the writing or “the English” (which has become a common practice) should be distinguished from intentional deceit for the purpose of stealing other authors’ ideas (which appears to remain a very rare practice). Although it has become almost as easy for editors to detect duplicate text as it is for authors to re-use text from other sources, editors often fail to consider the reasons why researchers resort to this strategy, and tend to consider any text duplication as a symptom of serious misconduct. As a result, some authors may be stigmatized unfairly by being labeled as plagiarists. The article concludes with practical advice for researchers on how to improve their writing and citing skills and thus avoid accusations of plagiarism.
doi:10.4103/1658-354X.84107
PMCID: PMC3168350  PMID: 21957412
Plagiarism; editors; authors
12.  Clarifying the abstracts of systematic literature reviews* 
Background: There is a small body of research on improving the clarity of abstracts in general that is relevant to improving the clarity of abstracts of systematic reviews.
Objectives: To summarize this earlier research and indicate its implications for writing the abstracts of systematic reviews.
Method: Literature review with commentary on three main features affecting the clarity of abstracts: their language, structure, and typographical presentation.
Conclusions: The abstracts of systematic reviews should be easier to read than the abstracts of medical research articles, as they are targeted at a wider audience. The aims, methods, results, and conclusions of systematic reviews need to be presented in a consistent way to help search and retrieval. The typographic detailing of the abstracts (type-sizes, spacing, and weights) should be planned to help, rather than confuse, the reader.
PMCID: PMC35254  PMID: 11055300
13.  Transparent and accurate reporting increases reliability, utility, and impact of your research: reporting guidelines and the EQUATOR Network 
BMC Medicine  2010;8:24.
Although current electronic methods of scientific publishing offer increased opportunities for publishing all research studies and describing them in sufficient detail, health research literature still suffers from many shortcomings. These shortcomings seriously undermine the value and utility of the literature and waste scarce resources invested in the research. In recent years there have been several positive steps aimed at improving this situation, such as a strengthening of journals' policies on research publication and the wide requirement to register clinical trials.
The EQUATOR (Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research) Network is an international initiative set up to advance high quality reporting of health research studies; it promotes good reporting practices including the wider implementation of reporting guidelines. EQUATOR provides free online resources http://www.equator-network.org supported by education and training activities and assists in the development of robust reporting guidelines. This paper outlines EQUATOR's goals and activities and offers suggestions for organizations and individuals involved in health research on how to strengthen research reporting.
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-8-24
PMCID: PMC2874506  PMID: 20420659
14.  Proposed Standards for Medical Education Submissions to the Journal of General Internal Medicine 
To help authors design rigorous studies and prepare clear and informative manuscripts, improve the transparency of editorial decisions, and raise the bar on educational scholarship, the Deputy Editors of the Journal of General Internal Medicine articulate standards for medical education submissions to the Journal. General standards include: (1) quality questions, (2) quality methods to match the questions, (3) insightful interpretation of findings, (4) transparent, unbiased reporting, and (5) attention to human subjects’ protection and ethical research conduct. Additional standards for specific study types are described. We hope these proposed standards will generate discussion that will foster their continued evolution.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-008-0676-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s11606-008-0676-z
PMCID: PMC2517930  PMID: 18612716
medical education; scholarship; research design; research methods; writing
15.  Reporting Guidelines: Optimal Use in Preventive Medicine and Public Health 
Numerous reporting guidelines are available to help authors write higher quality manuscripts more efficiently. Almost 200 are listed on the EQUATOR (Enhancing the Quality and Transparency of Health Research) Network’s website and they vary in authority, usability, and breadth, making it difficult to decide which one(s) to use. This paper provides consistent information about guidelines for preventive medicine and public health and a framework and sequential approach for selecting them.
EQUATOR guidelines were reviewed for relevance to target audiences; selected guidelines were classified as “core” (frequently recommended) or specialized, and the latter were grouped by their focus. Core and specialized guidelines were coded for indicators of authority (simultaneous publication in multiple journals, rationale, scientific background supporting each element, expertise of designers, permanent website/named group), usability (presence of checklists and examples of good reporting), and breadth (manuscript sections covered). Discrepancies were resolved by consensus. Selected guidelines are presented in four tables arranged to facilitate selection: core guidelines, all of which pertain to major research designs; guidelines for additional study designs, topical guidelines, and guidelines for particular manuscript sections. A flow diagram provides an overview. The framework and sequential approach will enable authors as well as editors, peer reviewers, researchers, and systematic reviewers to make optimal use of available guidelines to improve the transparency, clarity, and rigor of manuscripts and research protocols and the efficiency of conducing systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2012.06.031
PMCID: PMC3475417  PMID: 22992369
16.  Enhancing the reporting and transparency of rheumatology research: a guide to reporting guidelines 
Manuscripts and abstracts from biomedical journals frequently do not contain proper information for meeting required standards and serving the multiple needs of their end users. Reporting guidelines and checklists help researchers to meet those standards by providing rules or principles for specific research areas. Rheumatology research includes a broad range of heterogeneous research areas, each with its own requirements, producing several distinct categories of articles. Our objectives with this article are to raise awareness of the existence and importance of reporting guidelines, to present a structured overview of reporting guidelines that rheumatology journals could apply, and to encourage their use by journal authors, editors, and reviewers, including those of Arthritis Research & Therapy. Internationally recognized reporting guidelines exist for a diversity of research areas. We encourage colleagues to consult the 'Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research' (EQUATOR) network when writing scientific papers. EQUATOR is an international initiative that seeks to improve the reliability and value of biomedical research literature by promoting transparent and accurate reporting of studies. We propose specific reporting guidelines for a number of study designs: animal research, randomized trials, reliability and agreement studies, systematic reviews with and without meta-analyses, diagnostic test accuracy studies, and also observational research including cross-sectional, cohort, and case-control studies. We encourage authors, editors, and reviewers to adhere to and enforce the use of the appropriate guidelines when writing, reading, and reviewing scientific papers.
doi:10.1186/ar4145
PMCID: PMC3672749  PMID: 23448311
17.  Recommendations for reviewing a manuscript for the GMS Zeitschrift für Medizinische Ausbildung 
The aim of this paper, written by the committee of educational research methodology of the “Society for Medical Education” of the German-speaking countries, will give recommendations for the review process of scientific papers in medical education. The recommendations are based on the results of a workshop in 2007 and on a survey among reviewers of the journal GMS Z Med Ausbild. It reflects on international standards and research in medical education in Germany. The paper describes reviewer’s function concerning the journal of GMS Z Med Ausbild and specifies criteria for the review process with regard to the editors and reviewers; it also gives proposals for a feedback to the author. The catalogue of criteria for the reviewers is pictured in a checklist. The present recommendations shall help to increase the quality of the review process and to improve the national and international acceptance of the journal GMS Z Med Ausbild. Additionally, transparency of the review processes will support authors to submit a scientific article of high quality.
doi:10.3205/zma000712
PMCID: PMC3140379  PMID: 21818220
Medical Education; review of papers; position paper; feedback to authors
18.  Some linguistic and pragmatic considerations affecting science reporting in English by non-native speakers of the language 
Interdisciplinary Toxicology  2012;5(2):105-115.
Approximately 50% of publications in English peer reviewed journals are contributed by non-native speakers (NNS) of the language. Basic thought processes are considered to be universal yet there are differences in thought patterns and particularly in discourse management of writers with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. The study highlights some areas of potential incompatibility in native and NNS processing of English scientific papers. Principles and conventions in generating academic discourse are considered in terms of frequently occurring failures of NNS to meet expectations of editors, reviewers, and readers. Major problem areas concern organization and flow of information, principles of cohesion and clarity, cultural constraints, especially those of politeness and negotiability of ideas, and the complicated area of English modality pragmatics. The aim of the paper is to sensitize NN authors of English academic reports to problem areas of discourse processing which are stumbling blocks, often affecting acceptance of manuscripts. The problems discussed are essential for acquiring pragmalinguistic and sociocultural competence in producing effective communication.
doi:10.2478/v10102-012-0018-1
PMCID: PMC3485662  PMID: 23118596
English academic discourse; non-native speakers; language barrier
19.  Reporting Guidelines for Survey Research: An Analysis of Published Guidance and Reporting Practices 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(8):e1001069.
Carol Bennett and colleagues review the evidence and find that there is limited guidance and no consensus on the optimal reporting of survey research.
Background
Research needs to be reported transparently so readers can critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of the design, conduct, and analysis of studies. Reporting guidelines have been developed to inform reporting for a variety of study designs. The objective of this study was to identify whether there is a need to develop a reporting guideline for survey research.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a three-part project: (1) a systematic review of the literature (including “Instructions to Authors” from the top five journals of 33 medical specialties and top 15 general and internal medicine journals) to identify guidance for reporting survey research; (2) a systematic review of evidence on the quality of reporting of surveys; and (3) a review of reporting of key quality criteria for survey research in 117 recently published reports of self-administered surveys. Fewer than 7% of medical journals (n = 165) provided guidance to authors on survey research despite a majority having published survey-based studies in recent years. We identified four published checklists for conducting or reporting survey research, none of which were validated. We identified eight previous reviews of survey reporting quality, which focused on issues of non-response and accessibility of questionnaires. Our own review of 117 published survey studies revealed that many items were poorly reported: few studies provided the survey or core questions (35%), reported the validity or reliability of the instrument (19%), defined the response rate (25%), discussed the representativeness of the sample (11%), or identified how missing data were handled (11%).
Conclusions
There is limited guidance and no consensus regarding the optimal reporting of survey research. The majority of key reporting criteria are poorly reported in peer-reviewed survey research articles. Our findings highlight the need for clear and consistent reporting guidelines specific to survey research.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Surveys, or questionnaires, are an essential component of many types of research, including health, and usually gather information by asking a sample of people questions on a specific topic and then generalizing the results to a larger population. Surveys are especially important when addressing topics that are difficult to assess using other approaches and usually rely on self reporting, for example self-reported behaviors, such as eating habits, satisfaction, beliefs, knowledge, attitudes, opinions. However, the methods used in conducting survey research can significantly affect the reliability, validity, and generalizability of study results, and without clear reporting of the methods used in surveys, it is difficult or impossible to assess these characteristics and therefore to have confidence in the findings.
Why Was This Study Done?
This uncertainty in other forms of research has given rise to Reporting Guidelines—evidence-based, validated tools that aim to improve the reporting quality of health research. The STROBE (STrengthening the Reporting of OBservational studies in Epidemiology) Statement includes cross-sectional studies, which often involve surveys. But not all surveys are epidemiological, and STROBE does not include methods' and results' reporting characteristics that are unique to surveys. Therefore, the researchers conducted this study to help determine whether there is a need for a reporting guideline for health survey research.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified any previous relevant guidance for survey research, and any evidence on the quality of reporting of survey research, by: reviewing current guidance for reporting survey research in the “Instructions to Authors” of leading medical journals and in published literature; conducting a systematic review of evidence on the quality of reporting of surveys; identifying key quality criteria for the conduct of survey research; and finally, reviewing how these criteria are currently reported by conducting a review of recently published reports of self-administered surveys.
The researchers found that 154 of the 165 journals searched (93.3%) did not provide any guidance on survey reporting, even though the majority (81.8%) have published survey research. Only three of the 11 journals that provided some guidance gave more than one directive or statement. Five papers and one Internet site provided guidance on the reporting of survey research, but none used validated measures or explicit methods for development. The researchers identified eight papers that addressed the quality of reporting of some aspect of survey research: the reporting of response rates; the reporting of non-response analyses in survey research; and the degree to which authors make their survey instrument available to readers. In their review of 117 published survey studies, the researchers found that many items were poorly reported: few studies provided the survey or core questions (35%), reported the validity or reliability of the instrument (19%), discussed the representativeness of the sample (11%), or identified how missing data were handled (11%). Furthermore, (88 [75%]) did not include any information on consent procedures for research participants, and one-third (40 [34%]) of papers did not report whether the study had received research ethics board review.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Overall, these results show that guidance is limited and consensus lacking about the optimal reporting of survey research, and they highlight the need for a well-developed reporting guideline specifically for survey research—possibly an extension of the guideline for observational studies in epidemiology (STROBE)—that will provide the structure to ensure more complete reporting and allow clearer review and interpretation of the results from surveys.
Additional Information
Please access these web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001069.
More than 100 reporting guidelines covering a broad spectrum of research types are indexed on the EQUATOR Networks web site
More information about STROBE is available on the STROBE Statement web site
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001069
PMCID: PMC3149080  PMID: 21829330
20.  A review of instruments assessing public health preparedness. 
Public Health Reports  2005;120(5):532-542.
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to review instruments that assess the level of preparedness of state and local public health departments to respond to health threats such as bioterrorism. METHODS: The authors examined 27 published population-based instruments for planning or evaluating preparedness that were mostly unavailable in the peer-reviewed literature. Using the Essential Public Health Services framework, the instruments were evaluated for (1) clarity of measurement parameters, (2) balance between structural and process measures, (3) evidence of effectiveness, and (4) specification of an accountable entity. RESULTS: There was a great deal of overlap but little consistency in what constitutes "preparedness" or how it should be measured. Most instruments relied excessively on subjective or structural measures, lacked scientific evidence for measures assessed, and failed to clearly define what entity was accountable for accomplishing the task or function. CONCLUSION: Strategies for improvement include measure standardization, better interagency communication, and investment in public health practice research to develop the underlying evidence base required for developing quality measures and assessments.
PMCID: PMC1497752  PMID: 16224986
21.  Two Years Later: Journals Are Not Yet Enforcing the ARRIVE Guidelines on Reporting Standards for Pre-Clinical Animal Studies 
PLoS Biology  2014;12(1):e1001756.
A study by David Baker and colleagues reveals poor quality of reporting in pre-clinical animal research and a failure of journals to implement the ARRIVE guidelines.
There is growing concern that poor experimental design and lack of transparent reporting contribute to the frequent failure of pre-clinical animal studies to translate into treatments for human disease. In 2010, the Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments (ARRIVE) guidelines were introduced to help improve reporting standards. They were published in PLOS Biology and endorsed by funding agencies and publishers and their journals, including PLOS, Nature research journals, and other top-tier journals. Yet our analysis of papers published in PLOS and Nature journals indicates that there has been very little improvement in reporting standards since then. This suggests that authors, referees, and editors generally are ignoring guidelines, and the editorial endorsement is yet to be effectively implemented.
doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001756
PMCID: PMC3883646  PMID: 24409096
22.  The PRISMA Statement for Reporting Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses of Studies That Evaluate Health Care Interventions: Explanation and Elaboration 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(7):e1000100.
Alessandro Liberati and colleagues present an Explanation and Elaboration of the PRISMA Statement, updated guidelines for the reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
Systematic reviews and meta-analyses are essential to summarize evidence relating to efficacy and safety of health care interventions accurately and reliably. The clarity and transparency of these reports, however, is not optimal. Poor reporting of systematic reviews diminishes their value to clinicians, policy makers, and other users.
Since the development of the QUOROM (QUality Of Reporting Of Meta-analysis) Statement—a reporting guideline published in 1999—there have been several conceptual, methodological, and practical advances regarding the conduct and reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Also, reviews of published systematic reviews have found that key information about these studies is often poorly reported. Realizing these issues, an international group that included experienced authors and methodologists developed PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses) as an evolution of the original QUOROM guideline for systematic reviews and meta-analyses of evaluations of health care interventions.
The PRISMA Statement consists of a 27-item checklist and a four-phase flow diagram. The checklist includes items deemed essential for transparent reporting of a systematic review. In this Explanation and Elaboration document, we explain the meaning and rationale for each checklist item. For each item, we include an example of good reporting and, where possible, references to relevant empirical studies and methodological literature. The PRISMA Statement, this document, and the associated Web site (http://www.prisma-statement.org/) should be helpful resources to improve reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000100
PMCID: PMC2707010  PMID: 19621070
23.  The PRISMA statement for reporting systematic reviews and meta-analyses of studies that evaluate healthcare interventions: explanation and elaboration 
Systematic reviews and meta-analyses are essential to summarise evidence relating to efficacy and safety of healthcare interventions accurately and reliably. The clarity and transparency of these reports, however, are not optimal. Poor reporting of systematic reviews diminishes their value to clinicians, policy makers, and other users.
Since the development of the QUOROM (quality of reporting of meta-analysis) statement—a reporting guideline published in 1999—there have been several conceptual, methodological, and practical advances regarding the conduct and reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Also, reviews of published systematic reviews have found that key information about these studies is often poorly reported. Realising these issues, an international group that included experienced authors and methodologists developed PRISMA (preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses) as an evolution of the original QUOROM guideline for systematic reviews and meta-analyses of evaluations of health care interventions.
The PRISMA statement consists of a 27-item checklist and a four-phase flow diagram. The checklist includes items deemed essential for transparent reporting of a systematic review. In this explanation and elaboration document, we explain the meaning and rationale for each checklist item. For each item, we include an example of good reporting and, where possible, references to relevant empirical studies and methodological literature. The PRISMA statement, this document, and the associated website (www.prisma-statement.org/) should be helpful resources to improve reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
doi:10.1136/bmj.b2700
PMCID: PMC2714672  PMID: 19622552
24.  Common statistical and research design problems in manuscripts submitted to high-impact medical journals 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:304.
Background
To assist educators and researchers in improving the quality of medical research, we surveyed the editors and statistical reviewers of high-impact medical journals to ascertain the most frequent and critical statistical errors in submitted manuscripts.
Findings
The Editors-in-Chief and statistical reviewers of the 38 medical journals with the highest impact factor in the 2007 Science Journal Citation Report and the 2007 Social Science Journal Citation Report were invited to complete an online survey about the statistical and design problems they most frequently found in manuscripts. Content analysis of the responses identified major issues. Editors and statistical reviewers (n = 25) from 20 journals responded. Respondents described problems that we classified into two, broad themes: A. statistical and sampling issues and B. inadequate reporting clarity or completeness. Problems included in the first theme were (1) inappropriate or incomplete analysis, including violations of model assumptions and analysis errors, (2) uninformed use of propensity scores, (3) failing to account for clustering in data analysis, (4) improperly addressing missing data, and (5) power/sample size concerns. Issues subsumed under the second theme were (1) Inadequate description of the methods and analysis and (2) Misstatement of results, including undue emphasis on p-values and incorrect inferences and interpretations.
Conclusions
The scientific quality of submitted manuscripts would increase if researchers addressed these common design, analytical, and reporting issues. Improving the application and presentation of quantitative methods in scholarly manuscripts is essential to advancing medical research.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-304
PMCID: PMC3224575  PMID: 21854631
25.  PROLIFERATIVE CAPACITY OF CORNEAL ENDOTHELIAL CELLS 
Experimental Eye Research  2011;95(1):16-23.
The corneal endothelial monolayer helps maintain corneal transparency through its barrier and ionic “pump” functions. This transparency function can become compromised, resulting in a critical loss in endothelial cell density (ECD), corneal edema, bullous keratopathy, and loss of visual acuity. Although penetrating keratoplasty and various forms of endothelial keratoplasty are capable of restoring corneal clarity, they can also have complications requiring re-grafting or other treatments. With the increasing worldwide shortage of donor corneas to be used for keratoplasty, there is a greater need to find new therapies to restore corneal clarity that is lost due to endothelial dysfunction. As a result, researchers have been exploring alternative approaches that could result in the in vivo induction of transient corneal endothelial cell division or the in vitro expansion of healthy endothelial cells for corneal bioengineering as treatments to increase ECD and restore visual acuity. This review presents current information regarding the ability of human corneal endothelial cells (HCEC) to divide as a basis for the development of new therapies. Information will be presented on the positive and negative regulation of the cell cycle as background for the studies to be discussed. Results of studies exploring the proliferative capacity of HCEC will be presented and specific conditions that affect the ability of HCEC to divide will be discussed. Methods that have been tested to induce transient proliferation of HCEC will also be presented. This review will discuss the effect of donor age and endothelial topography on relative proliferative capacity of HCEC, as well as explore the role of nuclear oxidative DNA damage in decreasing the relative proliferative capacity of HCEC. Finally, potential new research directions will be discussed that could take advantage of and/or improve the proliferative capacity of these physiologically important cells in order to develop new treatments to restore corneal clarity.
doi:10.1016/j.exer.2011.08.014
PMCID: PMC3261346  PMID: 21906590

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