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Reporting guidelines for health research: protocol for a cross-sectional analysis of the EQUATOR Network Library
  1. Ferrán Catalá-López1,2,3,
  2. Adolfo Alonso-Arroyo4,5,
  3. Matthew J Page6,
  4. Brian Hutton2,7,
  5. Manuel Ridao8,
  6. Rafael Tabarés-Seisdedos3,
  7. Rafael Aleixandre-Benavent5,9,
  8. David Moher7,10
  1. 1 Department of Health Planning and Economics, National School of Public Health, Institute of Health Carlos III, Madrid, Spain
  2. 2 Knowledge Synthesis Group, Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3 Department of Medicine, University of Valencia/INCLIVA Health Research Institute and CIBERSAM, Valencia, Spain
  4. 4 Department of History of Science and Documentation, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain
  5. 5 Unidad de Información e Investigación Social y Sanitaria-UISYS, University of Valencia and Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Valencia, Spain
  6. 6 School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  7. 7 School of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  8. 8 Instituto Aragonés de Ciencias de la Salud (IACS), Red de Investigación en Servicios de Salud en Enfermedades Crónicas (REDISSEC), Zaragoza, Spain
  9. 9 Ingenio-Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and Universitat Politécnica de Valencia (UPV), Valencia, Spain
  10. 10 Centre for Journalology and Canadian EQUATOR Centre, Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ferrán Catalá-López; ferran_catala{at}


Introduction Transparency and completeness of health research is highly variable, with important deficiencies in the reporting of methods and results of studies. Reporting guidelines aim to improve transparency and quality of research reports, and are often developed by consortia of journal editors, peer reviewers, authors, consumers and other key stakeholders. The objective of this study will be to investigate the characteristics of scientific collaboration among developers and the citation metrics of reporting guidelines of health research.

Methods and analysis This is the study protocol for a cross-sectional analysis of completed reporting guidelines indexed in the Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research Network Library. We will search PubMed/MEDLINE and the Web of Science. Screening, selection and data abstraction will be conducted by one researcher and verified by a second researcher. Potential discrepancies will be resolved via discussion. We will include published papers of reporting guidelines written in English. Published papers will have to meet the definition of a reporting guideline related to health research (eg, a checklist, flow diagram or explicit text), with no restrictions by study design, medical specialty, disease or condition. Raw data from each included paper (including title, publication year, journal, subject category, keywords, citations, and the authors’ names, author’s affiliated institution and country) will be exported from the Web of Science. Descriptive analyses will be conducted (including the number of papers, citations, authors, countries, journals, keywords and main collaboration metrics). We will identify the most prolific authors, institutions, countries, journals and the most cited papers. Network analyses will be carried out to study the structure of collaborations.

Ethics and dissemination No ethical approval will be required. Findings from this study will be published in peer-reviewed journals. All data will be deposited in a cross-disciplinary public repository. It is anticipated the study findings could be relevant to a variety of audiences.

  • Authorship
  • Biomedical Research
  • Reporting Guidelines
  • research reporting
  • Scientific Collaboration
  • Research Networks
  • Network Analysis

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • Contributors All authors contributed to conceptualising and designing the study. FC-L drafted the manuscript. AA-A, MJP, BH, MR, RT-S, RA-B and DM commented for important intellectual content and made major revisions. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript. FC-L and DM accept full responsibility for the finished manuscript and controlled the decision to publish. All authors meet the ICMJE criteria for authorship.

  • Funding FC-L and RT-S are supported by the Institute of Health Carlos III/CIBERSAM. MJP is supported by an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellowship (1088535). BH is supported by a New Investigator Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network. MR is supported by the Institute of Health Carlos III/Spanish Health Services Research on Chronic Patients Network (REDISSEC). DM is supported by a University Research Chair, University of Ottawa.

  • Disclaimer The funders were not involved in the design of the protocol or decision to submit the protocol for publication, nor will they be involved in any aspect of the study conduct. The views expressed in this manuscript are those of the authors and may not be understood or quoted as being made on behalf of, or reflecting the position of, the funder(s) or any institution.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval This manuscript outlines a protocol for a cross-sectional analysis that will undertake secondary data analysis and hence does not require ethical approval.

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

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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