Patent landscapes are overviews of the patenting activity in a particular field of technology, locally or globally, and provide unique and valuable insights to government, industry or research leaders.
They help key stakeholders identify new areas for research and development and are used to inform policy discussions, strategic research planning and technology transfer.
With patent landscapes often forming the basis of future research agendas in any given field, and informing next steps in technological investment, it is critical we deliver excellent quality patent landscape articles and reports.
The reporting checklist “Reporting Items for Patent Landscapes” (RIPL), published in Nature Biotechnology, offers a framework for articles published in academic journals through a consensus-based set of minimum criteria to include in patent landscape articles. Not only does RIPL provide straightforward and robust support for authors and editors, but its take-up also aids reproducibility and evidence synthesis.
“We want to improve the reporting of patent landscapes to ensure their societal impact is as significant as it can be. The reporting guidelines we have developed aim to do just that by providing support for authors, reviewers and editors working on patent landscape articles.” says Professor Andrew Carr.
Many patent landscapes are now gaining widespread attention through publication in high-impact journals, but unfortunately recent research showed their reporting to be inadequate.
Professor Carr adds: “In addition to authors and editors using RIPL, journal endorsement of the guidelines would encourage adherence and provide a uniform set of requirements for authors publishing in the field. We hope journals are watching this space.”
Reporting guidelines are commonly used in publications of health and biomedical research, where they have shown to improve reporting quality and ultimately lead to better, more transparent research with greater potential for impact.
The guideline has been registered with the EQUATOR Network, an international initiative that seeks to improve the reliability and value of published health research literature by promoting transparent and accurate reporting and wider use of robust reporting guidelines.