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Occurrence and nature of questionable research practices in the reporting of messages and conclusions in international scientific Health Services Research publications: a structured assessment of publications authored by researchers in the Netherlands.


ABSTRACT:

Objectives

Explore the occurrence and nature of questionable research practices (QRPs) in the reporting of messages and conclusions in international scientific Health Services Research (HSR) publications authored by researchers from HSR institutions in the Netherlands.

Design

In a joint effort to assure the overall quality of HSR publications in the Netherlands, 13 HSR institutions in the Netherlands participated in this study. Together with these institutions, we constructed and validated an assessment instrument covering 35 possible QRPs in the reporting of messages and conclusions. Two reviewers independently assessed a random sample of 116 HSR articles authored by researchers from these institutions published in international peer-reviewed scientific journals in 2016.

Setting

Netherlands, 2016.

Sample

116 international peer-reviewed HSR publications.

Main outcome measures

Median number of QRPs per publication, the percentage of publications with observed QRP frequencies, occurrence of specific QRPs and difference in total number of QRPs by methodological approach, type of research and study design.

Results

We identified a median of six QRPs per publication out of 35 possible QRPs. QRPs occurred most frequently in the reporting of implications for practice, recommendations for practice, contradictory evidence, study limitations and conclusions based on the results and in the context of the literature. We identified no differences in total number of QRPs in papers based on different methodological approach, type of research or study design.

Conclusions

Given the applied nature of HSR, both the severity of the identified QRPs, and the recommendations for policy and practice in HSR publications warrant discussion. We recommend that the HSR field further define and establish its own scientific norms in publication practices to improve scientific reporting and strengthen the impact of HSR. The results of our study can serve as an empirical basis for continuous critical reflection on the reporting of messages and conclusions.

SUBMITTER: Gerrits RG 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6530378 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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