Assessment of the Quality and Transparency of Research Reporting Endorsement by Brazilian Health Science Journals

Tais F. Galvao,1 Monica C. Roa,2 Leila Posenato Garcia,3 Marcus T. Silva4

Objective To assess the quality and transparency of research reporting endorsement by Brazilian health science journals.

Design We assessed Brazilian MEDLINE-indexed journals by applying the 10 questions used by Moher et al (2016) to investigate journals’ efforts to increase value and reduce waste in biomedical research. Journals were selected through searching the Abridged Index Medicus (via NLM Catalog) using the strategy “currentlyindexed[All] AND (Brazil* OR Brasil*).” Eligible health science journals were selected from the retrieved titles. We reviewed journals’ instructions to authors, editorials, and articles published between 2014 and 2016 to answer to the 10 questions. We also checked the journals’ citation metrics (Impact Factor at InCites Journal Citation Reports, SCImago Journal Rank, and journals’ H-index), indexing bibliographic databases, publication language, costs, and periodicity. Data were extracted, inserted into a previously designed spreadsheet, and analyzed by descriptive statistics. We used linear regression to test the association between bibliometric measures and the 10-question score for reducing research waste.

Results The search retrieved 60 journal titles, and 10 were excluded: 5 not Brazilian, 4 related to basic sciences, and 1 duplicated. Of the 50 journals investigated, 27 had an Impact Factor (median, 0.937; interquartile range, 0.730-1.194), 48 had a SCImago Journal Rank (median, 0.356; interquartile range, 0.268-0.528) and 48 informed their H-index (median, 22; interquartile range, 12-35). Half (25) publish bimonthly. No submission or publication fee is required by 33 journals. Other indexing databases were, in order of frequency: LILACS, Scopus, and SciELO. No Brazilian journal met all 10 questions on efforts to increase value and reduce waste (Table). The median of items fulfilled was 5 (maximum, 8 [2 journals]; minimum, 1 [1 journal]). All except 1 of the journals provide support for good reporting infrastructure, 46 are open access or have policies for it, 39 recommend authors visit the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors website, 32 mention mandatory registration of clinical trials or systematic reviews, 14 mention the use of reporting guidelines, and 3 mention the Enhancing the Quality and Transparency of Health Research (EQUATOR) Network. None mention systematic reviews as part of main study results. There was a significant negative association between journal’s SCImago Journal Rank and scores for reducing research waste (β = –2.73; P = .04). There were no significant associations between the journal scores and the other bibliometric measures.

Conclusions Brazilian health science journals partially encourage quality and transparency in research reporting. Endorsement of the EQUATOR Network and reporting guidelines in the instructions to authors are simple efforts that would increase the value of published research.

1Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, State University of Campinas, Campinas, Brazil,; 2Faculty of Medicine, Clinical Research Institute, National University of Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia; 3Institute of Applied Economic Research, Brasilia, DF, Brazil; 4Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Amazonas, Manaus, Brazil

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

Funding/Support: None reported.

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