By Grainne McNamara, Research Integrity/Publication Ethics Manager at Karger, Silver sponsor of the ALPSP Conference and Awards 2022
At Karger Publishers, we have over 130 years of experience connecting healthcare practitioners, researchers and patients with the latest research and emerging best practice, covering the whole cycle of knowledge. As a publisher in the health sciences with a broad audience, we have always centered the needs of our readers by tailoring our content to them. Complementing our long history of publishing journals and books for clinicians, researchers, and patients, in 2021 we launched the online blog The Waiting Room. In 2022 the Waiting Room Podcast launched, bringing breaking research to patients, caregivers, and the general public in easy-to-understand, jargon-free formats. Also this year, we made it possible for authors to submit plain language summaries in our journal Skin Appendage Disorders with their articles. These provide interested readers with easy-to-understand descriptions of the latest research in this field of dermatology. In all these developments, we are acutely aware of the great responsibility that comes with communicating health science research to a general audience.At Karger Publishers, we employ a rigorous peer review process and are transparent about the evaluation criteria for articles that we publish. However, with increasing digitalization comes big challenges, as information can be disseminated, but also misinterpreted, at speed. With these challenges come opportunities to do better, and we asked ourselves: How can we do more for our community?
At Karger, we are open for Open. We have embraced the Open Science movement – in thought and action. Since 2021 all our research articles have been published with a data availability statement, directing readers to the location of the dataset(s) underlying these findings and providing thorough guidance to authors on the how and why to share their data. However, we see data availability statements as just the beginning.
Well-established reporting guidelines exist for almost every study type and provide a structure for authors, reviewers, and readers to understand what is, and should be, reported in an article. As such, adherence to community-standard reporting guidelines, such as CONSORT or PRISMA, has been the expectation for all our journals for many years. As a health sciences publisher, we know that case reports are an early stage but crucial part of evidence-based medicine decision making. That is why we have eight specialty Gold Open Access dedicated exclusively to communicating case reports. For case reports to be their most responsibly influential and effective, clear and transparent reporting, again, is crucial. That is why, as of September 2022, completion of the CARE checklist is a requirement for all submissions to these journals. We believe that by improving the consistency and transparency of case report reporting, we underscore the importance of transparency in health sciences research.
We present breaking research findings every day to our growing community and take great care in the trust placed in us by readers as a publisher of health sciences. We recognize that the ultimate guarantee of the reliability of a finding is its reproducibility - that is, the ability to find the same result again and again. We also know that transparency and detail of methodology are significant barriers to the reproducibility of a result and that adherence to reporting guidelines can improve the clarity of an article. That is why we recently expanded our guidance to authors on the use of reporting guidelines and endorsed the Materials Design Analysis Reporting Framework, as part of every journal’s reproducibility policy. We believe that by centering the reproducibility of methodology and reproducibility of results in our publications, we are progressing the conversation around reproducible-by-default health sciences research.
We could not make these steps towards reproducibility-by-default without the support of our community of outstanding editors and reviewers. We aim to recognize and support our community of experts in a variety of ways. This includes providing training for the next generation of peer reviewers as well as interactive discussion webinars on the latest topics in peer review and reproducibility. We also benefit from the cross-publisher organizations, such as COPE and ALPSP, that facilitate conversations on best practices in reproducibility.
At Karger, as we expand our portfolio of research communication, we grow, in step, our focus on reliability and trust in those findings. By empowering researchers, institutions, funders, and policy makers to maximize impact in health sciences, we are taking strides toward our goal to help shape a smarter, more equitable future.