METM19 presentation

Reproducibility in research, reporting guidelines, and language professionals

Jennifer de Beyer, Oxford, UK 

Reporting guidelines are tools to help researchers include sufficient details when writing about their research. They describe the minimum information needed about a particular study design to replicate or use the results. Originating in the biomedical sciences in the 1990s, reporting guidelines have been developed for all kinds of research, such as education, livestock, and environmental research. 

Funders and journals, particularly in the biomedical sciences, have embraced reporting guidelines as a tool to improve reproducibility, endorsing their use and often requiring submission of a completed checklist alongside a manuscript. Language professionals may be asked by clients to apply reporting guidelines or may suggest checklists themselves, whether to guide manuscript development or flag missing information during copy-editing. However, reporting quality as measured against reporting guidelines remains poor in every study design and research area studied. 

This talk by a representative of the EQUATOR Network will introduce reporting guidelines, describing why and how they are developed and disseminated, their quality, and the evidence for them, and discuss why reporting quality has been slow to improve.

The EQUATOR Network collates and promotes reporting guidelines for research involving people and has collected over 400 such reporting guidelines. With no agreed-upon development methodology or overseeing body, reporting guidelines may be of varying quality and utility, many reporting guidelines have overlapping and competing applications, and users can struggle to choose an appropriate guideline. We will discuss whether reporting guidelines have failed to reach researchers or whether the guidelines themselves need improvement. The EQUATOR Network’s programme of research, guidance creation, and tool development to improve the usefulness of reporting guidelines for all users will be presented.

Throughout the session, language professionals’ roles in promoting reproducibility through reporting guidelines and influencing how they are developed and disseminated will be discussed. 

About the presenter

After training in laboratory research and working in academic editing, Jennifer de Beyer joined the EQUATOR Network’s UK Centre at the Centre for Statistics in Medicine, University of Oxford. She develops online and in-person training on academic writing and using reporting guidelines for clear, transparent research reporting. 

The EQUATOR Network is an international initiative dedicated to improving the quality and transparency of health research. It focuses on research reporting, so that future research is based on a sound body of evidence. Through its four centres, EQUATOR raises awareness of reporting guidelines, provides online resources, and develops education and training.