EQUATOR Centre UK
The EQUATOR Network works to improve the reliability and value of medical research literature by promoting transparent and accurate reporting of research studies.
The EQUATOR Network is an international initiative set up to help researchers and journals to publish well-reported, reliable, and usable research papers. The UK EQUATOR Centre, based in NDORMS, is the head office and flagship centre of the EQUATOR Network.
The EQUATOR Network provides resources that improve the reliability and usability of research publications by supporting the responsible reporting of health research.
Good research reporting is accurate, complete, transparent, and timely
The EQUATOR Network builds on and advances the work of guidelines groups such as CONSORT. It focuses on increasing the use of reporting guidelines and promoting good reporting. The UK EQUATOR Centre furthers the EQUATOR vision in the UK:
- We have developed and maintain the central EQUATOR Network repository of all available guidelines and guidance on how to use them
- We organise education and training events for researchers, research students, editors, and peer reviewers, such as our Publication School and Lightning workshops
- We collaborate with like-minded organisations to raise reporting standards in the UK and beyond, such as the UK Health Research Authority and the Pan American Health Organisation
- We work closely with the Centre for Statistics in Medicine to research, evaluate, and develop measures to increase the use of reporting guidelines
What are reporting guidelines?
Reporting guidelines provide the minimum set of information needed for a particular kind of study to be understood, replicated, critiqued, and used. Guidelines focus on scientific content, so complement journals’ instructions to authors, which mostly deal with the technicalities of submitted manuscripts.
Some guidelines provide a generic framework for a particular kind of study. For example, the CONSORT guideline describes how to report a randomised clinical trial. Other guidelines are for specific clinical areas or aspects of research, such as the BRISQ guideline for reporting the use of biospecimens.
Reporting guidelines are developed by multidisciplinary working groups that usually include methodologists, journal editors, and researchers from the medical speciality or research area that the guideline will cover.
The box at the bottom of the page provides links to the most commonly used guidelines.
Why do we need reporting guidelines?
Reporting guidelines help you make an impact with your research.
No-one wants their research to just be published and forgotten, or to find itself on a systematic reviewer's ‘exclusion pile’. If a publication is missing key information, then it cannot be understood by its readers, cannot be reproduced, and cannot be included in the systematic reviews that inform clinical decision-making. Reporting guidelines help researchers to include every necessary detail in their publications.
Reporting guidelines help work towards the broader goal of combating waste in biomedical research. It is estimated that about 85% of all biomedical research today is wasted, for example through:
- Publication bias: Studies are either not published or are published long after they were completed, with positive findings being published much more often than negative findings
- Incomplete or selective reporting: Crucial components are left out of study reports
- Inaccurate reporting: Statistical errors and mismatches between different areas of the text and between the text and reality
Read more about the problem of research waste in biomedical research in this Lancet series.
Resources and training
Visit the EQUATOR website to see our extensive online resources, including our database of reporting guidelines and guidance on scientific writing and the ethical conduct and publication of research. You can also sign up for our mailing list to hear about our courses.
Our research focuses on the methodology and quality of health research and how health research is communicated. Some examples include:
An audit of the scope and methodology of existing reporting guidelines. View the OSF page and the published paper.
An update of the TRIPOD reporting guideline to include guidance for studies making or testing prediction models that use artificial intelligence (TRIPOD-AI). View the OSF page.
Do peer reviewers or editors address the literature search methods and strategies underpinning systematic reviews?
Join EQUATOR in stamping out research waste and improving publications!
Journal Editors and Publishers
Find out how you can encourage your authors to use reporting guidelines
Join our Librarian Network to help improve the healthcare literature. Contact Shona Kirtley for more information about the Librarian Network
We run training courses throughout the year on research reporting, guidelines, and publication. Find courses from the UK EQUATOR Centre here and here and courses from the wider EQUATOR Network here.
CONSORT: Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials
STROBE: Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology
PRISMA: Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses
CARE: Clinical Case Reporting Guideline
SRQR: Standards for reporting qualitative research: a synthesis of recommendations
TRIPOD: Transparent reporting of a multivariable prediction model for individual prognosis or diagnosis
SQUIRE: Standards for QUality Improvement Reporting Excellence
ARRIVE: Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments
SPIRIT: Standard Protocol Items: Recommendations for Interventional Trials