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Open Access Commentary

Transparent and accurate reporting increases reliability, utility, and impact of your research: reporting guidelines and the EQUATOR Network

Iveta Simera1*, David Moher2, Allison Hirst1, John Hoey3, Kenneth F Schulz4 and Douglas G Altman1

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Statistics in Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

2 Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada

3 Queen's University, Kingston, Canada

4 Family Health International, Durham; UNC School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA

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BMC Medicine 2010, 8:24  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-8-24

Published: 26 April 2010

Abstract

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 webcite 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.