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Limited engagement with transparent and open science standards in the policies of pain journals: a cross-sectional evaluation

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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