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Limited engagement with transparent and open science standards in the policies of pain journals: a cross-sectional evaluation
  1. Aidan G Cashin1,2,
  2. Matthew K Bagg1,2,
  3. Georgia C Richards3,
  4. Elaine Toomey4,
  5. James H McAuley2,5,
  6. Hopin Lee6,7
  1. 1Prince of Wales Clinical School, University of New South Wales Faculty of Medicine, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2Centre for Pain IMPACT, Neuroscience Research Australia, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, Oxfordshire, UK
  4. 4Health Behaviour Change Research Group, School of Psychology, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland
  5. 5School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia
  6. 6Centre for Statistics in Medicine & Rehabilitation Research in Oxford, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS), University of Oxford, Oxford, Oxfordshire, UK
  7. 7School of Medicine and Public Health, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Aidan G Cashin, Prince of Wales Clinical School, University of New South Wales Faculty of Medicine, Randwick, NSW 2031, Australia; a.cashin{at}neura.edu.au

Abstract

Scientific progress requires transparency and openness. The ability to critique, replicate and implement scientific findings depends on the transparency of the study design and methods, and the open availability of study materials, data and code. Journals are key stakeholders in supporting transparency and openness. This study aimed to evaluate 10 highest ranked pain journals’ authorship policies with respect to their support for transparent and open research practices. Two independent authors evaluated the journal policies (as at 27 May 2019) using three tools: the self-developed Transparency and Openness Evaluation Tool, the Centre for Open Science (COS) Transparency Factor and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) requirements for disclosure of conflicts of interest. We found that the journal policies had an overall low level of engagement with research transparency and openness standards. The median COS Transparency Factor score was 3.5 (IQR 2.8) of 29 possible points, and only 7 of 10 journals’ stated requirements for disclosure of conflicts of interest aligned fully with the ICMJE recommendations. Improved transparency and openness of pain research has the potential to benefit all that are involved in generating and using research findings. Journal policies that endorse and facilitate transparent and open research practices will ultimately improve the evidence base that informs the care provided for people with pain.

  • pain management
  • statistics & research methods
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Footnotes

  • Twitter @AidanCashin, @matthewbagg, @Richards_G_C, @ElaineToomey1, @Pain_NeuRa, @hopinlee

  • Contributors AGC, MKB and HL conceived the idea for the study. AGC, MKB, GCR, ET and HL contributed to the design and data collection for the study. AGC analysed the data and wrote the first draft of the study. All authors contributed to revising the manuscript and approved the final version.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests AGC is supported by the University of New South Wales Prince of Wales Clinical School Postgraduate Research Scholarship and a NeuRA PhD Candidature Supplementary Scholarship. AGC is a Catalyst for the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences and received travel support from Memorial University of Newfoundland to speak about engagement with research. MKB is supported by a NeuRA PhD Candidature Scholarship and Supplementary Scholarship. MKB is an ambassador for the Centre for Open Science and received travel support from the Chiropractor’s Association of Australia to speak about an unrelated topic and Memorial University of Newfoundland to speak about engagement with research. GCR receives funding from the NHS National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) School for Primary Care Research (SPCR), the Naji Foundation and the Rotary Foundation to study for a Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) at the University of Oxford. ET is funded by the Health Research Board of Ireland Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement (ICE) awards (ICE-2015-1026) and is a Catalyst for the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences. HL is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (grant no. APP1126767); National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care Oxford at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust; received project funding from the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences, a program of the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA), with support from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation; and is a Catalyst for the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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