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Enhancing the value of research reports

time for complete reporting

Calvache, José Andrés

doi: 10.1097/CJ9.0000000000000134
Spanish Version

Editor-in-Chief, Colombian Journal of Anesthesiology, Bogotá, Colombia.

Correspondence: Cra 15A No. 120 - 74, Sociedad Colombiana de Anestesiología y Reanimación (S.C.A.R.E.). Bogotá, Colombia. E-mail:

How to cite this article: Calvache JA. Enhancing the value of research reports: time for complete reporting. Colombian Journal of Anesthesiology. 2019;00:00–00.

Read the Spanish version of this article at:

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Online date: September 19, 2019

This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

Editorial dissemination of research is the reflection of a scientific production and reward system which is not at its best at the present time in the world. Health sciences literature has been under the spotlight over the past few years and, as a result, its ability to provide valid, unbiased answers is widely challenged.1 There is growing evidence that suggests that a vast amount of biomedical scientific literature may contain significant bias2 and distortion,3 may not be reproducible,4 and that its methods may have been hijacked to serve vested interests, including financial gain.5 Regrettably, these occurrences have given rise to a growing amount of research waste.6 In this bed of thorns, each of us as academics, researchers, and users are partly to be blamed.

Strategies for improvement must encompass various aspects of scientific generation, ranging from questions that are relevant to patients and clinicians, the appropriate use of scientific and analytical methods in search for answers, all the way to continuing access to scientific results and providing users with thorough and potentially useful research manuscripts.7

As part of the process of continuous improvement of the Colombian Journal of Anesthesiology, one of the questions that first come to mind is as editors, what should be our response and our contribution to mitigate these issues and to improve the future landscape? The first idea is to ensure a judicious, transparent, efficient, and fair process leveraged by the top quality of our authors, supporting them with education, editorial assessments, reviews, and instructions. As new Editor in Chief, I feel deeply honored by this appointment by the Colombian Society of Anesthesiology and Resuscitation, and committed to focus my work on this purpose.

In the current issue of the journal, we have included an update of our “instructions to the authors,” in an attempt at meeting existing demands and challenges for improvement. Two changes are highlighted: first, the Colombian Journal of Anesthesiology supports and embraces the guidelines, statements, and checklists of the EQUATOR network (Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research). These guidelines are the result of constant work during the past 2 decades focused on helping authors, editors, and reviewers in their job of verifying the transparency and completeness of research reports.8 Guidelines for the submission of complete reports do not dictate how research studies must be conducted, nor do they assess their internal validity directly. However, more detailed reports are expected to improve the way in which future studies are designed and conducted.9

In an attempt at influencing the development of protocols and research projects, guidelines and their early adoption by the authors may potentially create awareness regarding critical methodological and analytical details that need to be considered in these phases of the scientific process.

Incomplete research reports are of no use to anyone. They do not help readers because they do not provide enough information to judge the validity of the results; they do not help patients in terms of decision-making and they could actually cause distortions or contribute to the problems described; and they do no help researchers or new authors because they affect reproducibility and planning of new studies.

Along these lines, one of our priorities is to ensure availability of the full report of the manuscripts for the readers and/or users of the published research. The current adoption does not only mean support to the network's indication, but a step to get our authors to use (and attach to their submissions) the checklists in order to verify and maximize research manuscript completeness. In case of doubt regarding the selection of the appropriate guideline for reporting each type of research, there is a support section in the EQUATOR network website (,11 Interestingly, Vilaró et al12 have recently shown that adherence to completeness statements enhance the possibility of citation in the scientific literature. A complete report is far more useful and potentially citable.

Second, we have added, for original papers, a short section which gives readers a brief answer to 2 questions: (1) What do we know about this problem? and (2) What does this study contribute that is new? Answers to these 2 questions improve the visibility of the research since they offer a quick specific overview of the study problem and the reported results.

Although this is a short section that the author may (possibly) write at the end of the manuscript, its objective goes further. New research projects should not be undertaken unless at the time of their inception the proposed questions cannot be satisfactorily answered based on the available evidence.7 Moreover, as researchers, it prompts us to rethink the problems, our lines of research, and the current methods used to answer them appropriately.

Finally, success in any editorial process is built on the work of 4 groups of players: authors, reviewers, editors, and the publishing team. I would like to take this opportunity to recognize them all and to express my gratitude for the support I have received. We will continue to work and receive all ideas designed to help us improve. On behalf of the editorial team of the Colombian Journal of Anesthesiology, we extend an invitation to all our readers, authors, and the scientific community at large to continue to support the journal with their invaluable contributions and their active participation in the review process.

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1. Calvache JA. Scientific journals and reproducible research. Rev Fac Cienc Salud Univ Cauca 2018; 20:12–15.
2. Ioannidis JPA. Why most published research findings are false. PLoS Med 2005; 2:e124.
3. Ioannidis JPA. Excess significance bias in the literature on brain volume abnormalities. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2011; 68:773.
4. Open Science Collaboration. Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science. Science 2015; 349:aac4716.
5. Ioannidis JP. Evidence-based medicine has been hijacked: a report to David Sackett. J Clin Epidemiol 2016; 73:82–86.
6. Macleod MR, Michie S, Roberts I, et al. Biomedical research: increasing value, reducing waste. Lancet 2014; 383:101–104.
7. Chalmers I, Glasziou P. Avoidable waste in the production and reporting of research evidence. Lancet 2009; 374:86–89.
8. Simera I, Moher D, Hirst A, et al. Transparent and accurate reporting increases reliability, utility, and impact of your research: reporting guidelines and the EQUATOR network. BMC Med 2010; 8:24.
9. Moher D, Altman D, Schulz K, et al. Guidelines for Reporting Health Research: A User's Manual. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell BMJ Books. Altman D, Simera I. Chapter 4. Using Reporting Guidelines Effectively to Ensure Good Reporting of Health Research. 2014.
10. EQUATOR Network. The EQUATOR Wizard: A New Tool to Help Authors Find the Right Reporting Guideline [Internet] [accessed Jul 2 2019]. Available at:
11. Moher D. Reporting guidelines: doing better for readers. BMC Med 2018; 16:233.
12. Vilaró M, Cortés J, Selva-O’Callaghan A, et al. Adherence to reporting guidelines increases the number of citations: the argument for including a methodologist in the editorial process and peer-review. BMC Med Res Methodol 2019; 19:112.

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