PS.6. Reducing waste in research: REWARD

Sunday 10 June: 08.45 – 10.15
Parallel Session 6
Satellite, First floor

Reducing waste in research: REWARD
Chairs: Ines Steffens, Eurosurveillance, Sweden / EASE Council and Joan Marsh, The Lancet Psychiatry, UK / EASE Council

  • Reducing waste in research: the role of medical journals (Sam Hinsley, The Lancet, UK)
  • Reporting guidelines and tools to help editors (Caroline Struthers, EQUATOR, UK)
  • The role of the editor in adding value and ensuring quality in journal publishing (Delia Mihaila, MDPI, Switzerland)
  • Research on research integrity: publishing patterns, trends, and impact (Noémie Aubert Bonn, Universiteit Hasselt, Belgium)

Session Overview
Increasing value and reducing waste in research is core to the REWARD (REduce research Waste And Reward Diligence) initiative that started with a series of articles published in The Lancet in 2014. Why does research waste matter and why should editors care? Badly targeted, designed and poorly reported, or even unreported, research results in inadequate conclusions, inappropriate interventions and inefficient allocation of resources. This creates unnecessary costs and is unethical, with the potential to threaten the wellbeing and lives of humans and animals. Moreover, it negatively affects the reputation of science. The four session presenters will highlight the important role of editors in strengthening research integrity and present initiatives and tools to overcome the production of waste in research

Reducing waste in research: the role of medical journals
Sam Hinsley, The Lancet, UK

The Lancet journals are known for their advocacy in various health fields, and the subject of research waste is no different. The result of this particular call for action has been the REWARD (Reduce research Waste And Reward Diligence) Campaign, but what, beyond the rather neat acronym and snazzy website hub page, does this all mean? I will aim to provide a brief recap of the meaning of research waste, as well as its consequences and the main forms that it takes. I will then move on to what we at The Lancet are doing to reduce waste and how these approaches could be applied by other journals. In particular, I will be looking at how journals can (and why they should) implement reporting guidelines, the value of putting research in context, the importance of protocols and their availability, and what part editorial decision making has to play in all this.

Reporting guidelines and tools to help editors
Caroline Struthers, UK EQUATOR Centre, UK

EQUATOR is an international collaboration dedicated to improving the quality and transparency of health research literature, primarily through promoting the use of reporting guidelines.

In January 2018, the UK EQUATOR Centre launched a user-friendly online tool to make it easier for authors to find and complete key reporting checklists. We have (i) put all checklists in one place, and secured copyright licenses when necessary; (ii) presented checklist items alongside their full explanations and examples, where available; (iii) made a validation tool to check that authors complete checklists properly, and (iv) told authors how to cite the guideline and how to submit their completed checklist. Simultaneously we began a pilot with BMJ Open in collaboration with All authors are prompted to check their work using’s automated software when submitting a manuscript. When necessary, advises authors to complete a checklist identified using EQUATOR’s new online tool. We will investigate whether the number of submissions to BMJ Open which includes a completed checklist increases. We also aim to investigate whether the completed checklists accurately reflect the content of the manuscripts. I will present the results of this pilot study, what we have learnt, and what we plan to do next

The role of the editor in adding value and ensuring quality in journal publishing

Delia Mihaila, MDPI, Switzerland

Do ‘pay-to-publish’ journals offer the same quality guarantee as traditional/subscription-based journals do? In an overcrowded journal market, some might argue that new ‘pay-to-publish’ journals represent, or at least encourage, research waste, especially if they seem to focus on volume rather than content. MDPI is a relatively new open access publisher that has managed to expand rapidly while maintaining quality. I will describe the experience of managing the expansion of MDPI both at portfolio and journal level. How have we managed to attract high-profile editorial board members, editors-in-chief and, most of all, authors?

What are the challenges of keeping quality standards high while also trying to be inclusive and ensure fast dissemination of research? These are a few questions this talk aims to address and propose for debate.

Research on research integrity: publishing patterns, trends, and impact

Noémie Aubert Bonn, Hasselt University, Belgium

In an attempt to highlight overlooked areas and missing voices in research on research integrity, we performed a comparative analysis of articles published in the past decade.

Using SCOPUS, Web of Science, and PubMed, we included 955 scientific articles in our analysis and classified each article according to its topic, specific methodology, and citation impact. Despite including only scientific articles — excluding editorials, letters, etc. — we found that the body of literature on research integrity is still largely dominated by non-empirical work. In empirical work (35%), researchers and students are most often studied, but other actors, such as editors, institutions, or funders, are rather overlooked. Most empirical work on research integrity describes and details prevalence of questionable research practices, but only a minority explores potential causes for, or approaches to, failures of integrity. Furthermore, although most empirical work on potential causes for misconduct blames pressure and perverse incentives; empirical work proposing approaches to foster integrity generally targets researchers’ awareness and compliance.

In this presentation, I will give further insight about several editorial and publishing characteristics of research on research integrity and I will open a brainstorm with the audience to find approaches to better involve editors in the field.