Reported Use of Standard Reporting Guidelines Among JNCI Authors, Editorial Outcome, and Reviewer Ratings Related to Adherence to Guidelines and Clarity of Presentation

Jeannine Botos1

Objective A study was conducted to examine associations between author-reported use of standard reporting guidelines (SRGs) to prepare JNCI submissions with editorial decisions and reviewer ratings for adherence to reporting guidelines and clarity of presentation.

Design At submission authors were asked if they used SRGs to prepare their manuscript and, if so, which one(s). Reviewers rated (poor, fair, good, very good, outstanding, not applicable) adherence to reporting guidelines and clarity of presentation. This information was collected using a customized Editorial Manager Enterprise Analytics Report for submissions with first or final decisions that were submitted between November 1, 2015, and April 30, 2017. All manuscript types that would benefit from the use of SRGs were included (ie, Articles, Brief Communications, Reviews, MiniReviews, Systematic Reviews, and Meta-analyses). Each peer-reviewed submission received 1 to 3 ratings per question and all ratings were included in the analyses. Numerical values were given to each answer (SRG use, 1; no SRG use, 0) or reviewer rating (not applicable, 0; fair, 1; poor, 2; good, 3; very good, 4; and outstanding, 5), and scores were compared using 2-sided t tests.

Results Of 2209 submissions included in the analysis, 1144 (51.8%) indicated that at least 1 SRG was used (Table). The STROBE guidelines were the most common (n= 531, 24.0%). Of the 2068 (93.6%) submissions that were rejected, 1105 (50.1%) indicated using SRGs and 963 (43.6%) did not (mean [SD] scores of rejected vs not rejected, 0.53 [0.50] vs 0.49 [0.50], P = .47). Of the 1033 ratings for adherence to reporting guidelines, mean (SD) scores for not rejected vs rejected submissions were 3.2 (1.61) vs 2.9 (1.57) (P = .005), and mean (SD) scores for SRG use vs no use were 3.1 (1.48) vs 2.9 (1.70) (P = .01). Of the 1036 ratings for clarity of presentation, mean (SD) scores for not rejected vs rejected submissions were 3.6 (1.00) vs 3.1 (1.08) (P < .001), whereas mean (SD) scores for SRG use vs no use were 3.3 (1.04) vs 3.3 (1.10) (P = .64).

Conclusions Among these JNCI submissions, reporting the use of SRGs was not associated with editorial decisions or with reviewer ratings for clarity of presentation. Reviewer ratings for adherence to guidelines and clarity of presentation were associated with editorial decisions after peer review, and ratings for adherence to guidelines were associated with reported use of SRGs.

1JNCI, Oxford University Press, New York, NY, USA, jeannine.botos@oup.com

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

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