Reporting Standards

Structured tools used by researchers to guide reporting when writing a manuscript; they are considered before starting the experiment.

Click here to download a fact sheet on Reporting Standards at the bench.

What are reporting standards?

Reporting standards are structured tools used by researchers to guide reporting when writing a manuscript and are often depicted as a checklist. Guidelines are developed by members of various scientific communities that are considered experts in their area of research. Reporting guidelines represent the minimum amount of detail that should be reported on to describe key elements. Two highly cited frameworks in preclinical research are the Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments (ARRIVE) Guidelines and the National Institute of Health (NIH) Principles and Guidelines.

Who should use reporting standards?

All researchers are responsible for consulting the appropriate reporting guidelines when drafting academic manuscripts. 

How to identify appropriate reporting guidelines for your research?

The Enhancing the Quality and Transparency of Health Research (EQUATOR) group has designed a reporting guideline search engine. This tool facilitates the identification of reporting guidelines that are relevant to your area of interest. The search engine can be found here. For preclinical, laboratory based research a list of common guidelines can be found here.

When should you use reporting standards?

Reporting should be considered before starting the research experiment to ensure all criteria are met and implemented when reporting the methods and results in the manuscript. However, it is possible that some checklist items cannot be met during the experiment. If this is the case, then it is important that authors report this in the manuscript along with a brief explanation as to why these checklist items were not met.

Why use reporting standards to write a manuscript?

Standardized reporting provides the minimum amount of information to increase transparency of the methods performed and permits reproducibility of scientific findings. Top academic journals endorse standardized reporting across independent research manuscripts. A list of reporting guidelines used by top academic journals can be found here.

Best Practices

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