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 Table of Contents  
REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 75-84

'Research' of reporting 'Research'-strengthening the evidence-based dentistry


1 Department of Orthodontics, Army Dental Centre (R and R), Delhi, India
2 Dte Gen Dental Services, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission27-Dec-2019
Date of Acceptance02-Jan-2020
Date of Web Publication15-Jul-2020

Correspondence Address:
Rajkumar Maurya
Army Dental Centre (Research and Referral), Delhi
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/JODD.JODD_10_19

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  Abstract 


The present article focuses on minimum guidelines and criteria that can be applied to not only filter high-quality scholarly research from the “scholarly junk” but also provide insight regarding various policies and guidelines for conducting and subsequent reporting of scholarly manuscript. Before conducting the research and clinical studies, review of literature should be assessed from journals recognized by empowered national and international statutory bodies and societies. Second, relevant recommended guidelines as per the design of epidemiological study should be adhered when conducting till manuscript preparation. Once the manuscript is prepared, professional plagiarism detection software must be used to rule out any accidental similarity index and subsequent consequences. Finally, before submitting the manuscript and drawing conclusion out from published literature, ruling out dubious predatory junks should be carried out. The endeavor of the present article is to highlight the key information and references in regard to the above–mentioned guidelines as systematically as possible.

Keywords: Grading of evidence, plagiarism, reporting guidelines


How to cite this article:
Maurya R, Londhe SM. 'Research' of reporting 'Research'-strengthening the evidence-based dentistry. J Dent Def Sect. 2020;14:75-84

How to cite this URL:
Maurya R, Londhe SM. 'Research' of reporting 'Research'-strengthening the evidence-based dentistry. J Dent Def Sect. [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Aug 5];14:75-84. Available from: http://www.journaldds.org/text.asp?2020/14/2/75/289743




  Introduction Top


Although it is difficult to quantify the scientific load in scholarly literature, as per the news published in “University World News” on September 2018, several estimates points that around 30000 journals, with close to two million articles are being published each year.[1] Although the large majority of outputs are produced in developed countries, the fastest scientific output growth rate over the last two decades has been in the Middle East and Asia, with Iran leading with an 11-fold increase. Other developing nations such as China, India, Brazil, and South Africa were among the 31 nations that produced 97.5% of the most-cited scientific articles in a study published in 2004. The remaining 162 countries contributed <2.5%.[2],[3]

The accessibility and prevalent uses of artificial intelligence technologies such as cellphone, computers, and internet have seen tremendous increase among treating dentists as well as patients. The era of “Big Data” has called for the need of filtration of available reliable and scholarly relevant researches from so-called “predatory” junks, which is misguiding readers.

The “conflict of interest” among established publishers such as Elsevier, Wiley, SAGE, and “Taylor and Francis” which are holding more than 50% stake of published scholarly literature and open access publishers such as OMICS and PLOS group has led to mushrooming of scholarly publications, which is difficult to decipher as predatory or nonpredatory.[4]

As the dictum suggests that research should be free and accessible to all for the benefit of the entire humankind, the ongoing constant debate has also emerged as scholarly article manuscript processing, publications, peer review, indexing and abstracting services have monetary need of funds qualified personals and recurring expenditure against it.

The silver line between scholarly manuscripts and junk is becoming so fade that it has forced government agencies such as universities, education governing bodies and nonprofit organizations such as EQUATOR, International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment, and European Association of Science Editors all around the world to develop scrutiny protocols and disseminate its utility to not only researchers but also readers, so that “junk” publications which have potential of harming health-care sector can be curbed from its root.[5],[6],[7],[8],[9]

Conducting research and publishing well-conducted research have become an essential need of treating clinicians in health-care sectors as it not only increases their personal reputation among peer group, career upliftment, and promotion but also helps in building of institutions as well as health-care sector of nation. In the pursuit of doing so, however, sometime, most of budding doctors and dentists are getting trapped in the name of “Publication Prestige” or “minimum quota” completion exercise and thus end up in doing scientific misconduct which may have grave consequences in future.

The University Grants Commission (UGC), India, has released the Consortium for Academic and Research Ethics (CARE) guidelines in 2019, which is in effect from June 2019. With the aim of strengthening the evidence-based research and curb the predatory publications, the UGC proposed modification of “whitelist” consisting of approximately 32,000 publication index with reputed science-citation databases as well as more than 5000 publications recommended by universities. However, scholars found out that whitelist consisted of predatory journals as well. Subsequently, in the process of developing CARE guidelines, the UGC retracted 4305 journals from the list on the grounds of poor quality, incorrect or insufficient information.[5]

Keeping a debate aside, irrespective of open access whether green or gold or “closed” access, the present article focuses on minimum guidelines and criteria that can be applied to not only filter high-quality scholarly research from the “scholarly junk” but also provide insight regarding various policies and guidelines for conducting and subsequent reporting of scholarly manuscript. Before conducting the research and clinical studies, review of literature should be assessed from journals recognized by empowered national and international statutory bodies and societies. Second, relevant recommended guidelines as per the design of epidemiological studies should be adhered while conducting till manuscript preparation. Once the manuscript is prepared, professional plagiarism detection software must be used to rule out any accidental similarity index and subsequent consequences. Finally, before submitting the manuscript and drawing conclusion out from published literature, ruling out dubious predatory junks should be carried out. The endeavor of the present article is to highlight the key information and references in regard to the above-mentioned guidelines as systematically as possible.


  Refer to Recommandations of National Statutory Bodies Top


The UGC established CARE guidelines for maintaining reference list of quality journals in their 536th Meeting held on November 14, 2018. It established a special UGC cell for journal analysis at Savitribai Phule Pune University in support of INFLIBNET Centre, Ahmedabad, and four regional CARE universities, namely, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi (Northern Region); Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara (Western Region); University of Hyderabad (Southern Region); and Tezpur University (Eastern Region) with total 32 members all over India till date.[5]

The UGC cell established a journal analysis protocol in three sections, namely, Part I, basic information; Part II, primary criteria; and Part III, secondary criteria. Part I is dealing with basic information about the journal, and Part II and III are using internal analysis and assessment with due diligence, verification process, and critical appraisal on weightage metrics scale of 10. The verification included journals' history, consistency in publication, peer-review process and recognition, academic credential of editors, indexing and citations, and related financial matters. Based on the UGC CARE cell recommendations, journals were categorized into four groups. Group A were research journals in discipline under science, engineering, technology, agriculture, and biomedical sciences indexed in SCOPUS or Web of Science. Group A journals will not undergo any analysis further by UGC cell. Group B journals will be qualified only after analysis as per the protocol from the existing UGC list. Group C journals from social sciences, humanities, languages, and Indian knowledge system are recommended from time to time by UGC cell. Group D journals are new journals submitted by CARE universities from time to time. The journals which scored more than six out of 10 were included in CARE list and which scored 4–5 were kept under observation for 3 years as emerging list. The latest approved CARE list of journals can be accessed after login at Savitribai Phule Pune University portal at https://ugccare.unipune.ac.in/site.[10]


  Standard Reporting Guidelines Top


Reporting guidelines are a simple, structured tool for health researchers when drafting and reporting a well-conducted research as well as planning well beforehand when conducting the research. It provides minimum list of information needed to let the published manuscript well understood by the readers, allowing the replication of methodology, assisting clinicians to make evidence-based decision, and to be included in meta-analysis.

The guidelines may vary depending on the type of study being conducted or reported, such as “CONSORT-2010” guidelines and their related extensions for randomized controlled trials, “STROBE” and their extensions for observational studies, “PRISMA” and their extensions for conducting systematic reviews and meta-analysis, and “CARE” and “AGREE” guidelines for reporting case reports and clinical practice guidelines, respectively [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5]. Similarly, “ARRIVE” guidelines are for conducting animal preclinical studies and “SRQR” and “COREQ” for conducting qualitative researches.[7],[11],[12],[13],[14],[15],[16],[17]
Table 1: Consolidated standards of reporting trials-CONSORT guidelines[11]

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Table 2: The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) Statement: guidelines for reporting observational studies[12]

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Table 3: Consensus-based Clinical Case Reporting Guideline Development- CARE Guidelines for Case Report[14]

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Table 4: Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses: The PRISMA Statement - checklist for systematic reviews and meta-analysis[16]

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Table 5: GRADE, strength of recommendation taxonomy, and evidence-based medicine

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Considering the vast number of recommended guidelines, which is being published in different reputed and highly cited journals such as Nature, Cell, New England Journal of Medicine, and BMJ, it becomes confusing to trust and follow the most relevant and updated one. To make things organized, the guidance can be taken from the nonprofit organization such as the “EQUATOR” Network, which is an “umbrella” organization that brings together researchers, medical journal editors, peer reviewers, developers of reporting guidelines, research funding bodies, and other collaborators with mutual interest in improving the quality of research publications and of research itself. The first four national centers that substantially contribute to expanding EQUATOR activities include the UK EQUATOR Centre (also the EQUATOR Network's Head Office), French EQUATOR Centre, Canadian EQUATOR Centre, and Australasian EQUATOR Centre. These above-mentioned reporting guidelines can be accessed through https://www.equator-network.org.[7]


  Quantifying the Level of Evidence: Use of “grade” and “sort” Top


With the advent of evidence-based medicine (EBM), the hierarchy of different research methodologies has been rated for best clinical practice. However, the pyramid of EBM does not assess the qualitative aspect of these methodologies.[18] The International Collaborative Group, “GRADE” (the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation), has developed single grading system to corroborate the level of evidence to further strengthen the pyramid of EBM. Other similar kind of recommendation which is widely used is “SORT” (Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy), reported by Ebell et al. [Table 5]. The simple rationale behind these recommendations is to filter the type of evidence available and finding their qualitative value for general recommendations for clinicians.[19],[20]


  Plagiarism and Scientific Misconduct Top


The UGC (promotion of academic integrity and prevention of plagiarism in higher educational institutions) regulations, 2018, or similar kind of government agencies or professional bodies must be followed before submitting manuscript which recommends not only the quantitative aspect of plagiarism and similarity index but also their subsequent consequences.[5] These guidelines must be adhered to and disseminated strictly to all budding and established peer researchers from time to time for reporting undisputed and scientifically sound manuscript for the benefit of human race. Clause number 8 and 12 in respect of academic integrity in Indian universities under the UGC guidelines can be referred for the same [Table 6], [Table 7], [Table 8]. Practice of use of professional plagiarism detection software such as “iThenticate”, 'TURNITIN' or “Urkund' must be regularised. One such Facility for using “Urkund” can be availed via INFLIBNET, Ahmedabad, through pan India universities free of cost under the Project SHODH SHUDDHI.[5],[21],[22]
Table 6: Levels of plagiarism[5]

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Table 7: Penalties in case of plagiarism in submission of thesis and dissertations[5]

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Table 8: Penalties in case of plagiarism in academic and research/publications[5]

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  Ruling Out Predatory Dubious Publishers Top


To prevent any kind of intentional or unintentional scientific misconduct, both clinicians and researchers need to be keeping eagle's eyes on Big Data and follow the updated lists of predatory publishers and time to time guidelines from the above-mentioned agencies and other social and academic websites such as “Beall List” (https://beallslist.net) and “Retraction Watch”; (https://retractionwatch.com). The below-mentioned composite guidelines can be followed to rule out any “junk” publication from predatory publishers, before applying reported manuscript data in published form to clinical practice.[23],[24]


  “Think. Check. Submit” and “think. Check. Attend” Policy Top


Reference guidelines by academic publishers and scholarly associations help provide guidance and spread awareness about the valued journals and conference proceedings. The checklist consists of series of questions, which helps in evaluating whether the journals or scientific conference in which manuscript is being planned to submit or being attended is worth and not any predatory junk [Table 9]. Further reading is encouraged about the entire guidelines from [Table 5].[25],[26]
Table 9: Checklist of think. check. submit[25]

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  Conclusion and Recommendations Top


EBM and dentistry is based on the pillars of well-conducted research studies and genuine reporting and publication, failing of which can lead to mushrooming of opinion-based treatment or “quackery” and further jeopardize the entire health care with grave consequences. The below-mentioned recommendations can be followed for scientific translation of researches into clinical practice that may be reliable as well as easily reproducible in general settings.

  1. Follow general guidelines for conducting different types of researches well in advance as recommended from time to time from concerned government agencies/statutory bodies/professional association. For example, CONSORT and CARE guidelines should be followed before conducting and during reporting of any trial and case reports, respectively. Consolidated list of updated guidelines can be accessed through “EQUATOR” Portal
  2. The vigilant approach and rigorous enquiry should be conducted about the journal or publishers in which either manuscript is being planned to be submitted for publications or reference is being taken for evidence-based practice. Government agencies/statutory bodies or private nonprofit organization Beall List and COPE guidelines should be referred for updates
  3. Practice of use of professional plagiarism detection software such as “iThenticate”, 'TURNITIN' or “Urkund' must be regularised. One such Facility for using “Urkund” can be availed via INFLIBNET, Ahmedabad, through pan India universities free of cost under the Project SHODH SHUDDHI
  4. Strictly adhere to “GRADE” and “SORT” guidelines before general application and wide dissemination of any type of reported research studies
  5. The recommendations of THINK. CHECK. SUBMIT and THINK. CHECK. ATTEND must be followed before submitting manuscript to any scholarly journal and before attending any conference proceeding to judge its scientific value.


Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

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    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6], [Table 7], [Table 8], [Table 9]



 

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Introduction
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Standard Reporti...
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Ruling Out Preda...
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Conclusion and R...
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