The Equator Wizard: a reporting guidelines tool

A new tool to help authors find and use the most appropriate reporting guidelines has been launched by Penelope, a start-up company seeking to simplify the academic publishing process.

Reporting guidelines help authors to communicate their research transparently, therefore ensuring their research is reproducible. There are currently over 250 guidelines listed on the EQUATOR network (Enhancing the QUality And Transparency Of health Research), a comprehensive database of reporting guidelines. The aim of the EQUATOR network is to improve the reliability and value of medical research by promoting transparent and accurate reporting.

Working with the EQUATOR network, Penelope developed a simple tool to assist authors in the process of identifying relevant reporting guidelines. The idea for the tool was developed after James Harwood, founder of Penelope, identified a bottle neck in the publishing process - “when we spoke to editors and researchers we found that it's often difficult for an academic to identify which guidelines are relevant to their work.”

Equator Wizard asks researchers a few simple questions about their research, and then provides them with the guideline they need. The tool covers the most important guidelines, including the NC3Rs ARRIVE guidelines, which are specifically aimed at improving the reporting of animal research. Originally published in PLOS Biology in 2010, over 600 journals now endorse our ARRIVE guidelines and incorporate the guidelines into their Instructions for Authors or Editorial Policies.

The Equator Wizard is free to use. Journals can either embed it into their author guideline pages, or direct authors to the Penelope website

Further reading:

From Checklists to Tools: Lowering the Barrier to Better Research Reporting,  PLOS Medicine.

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