Responsible Epidemiologic Research Practice: a guideline developed by a working group of the Netherlands Epidemiological Society

Gerard M.H. Swaen*, Miranda Langendam, Joost Weyler, Huibert Burger, Sabine Siesling, Willem Jan Atsma, Lex Bouter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: To develop a guideline on Responsible Epidemiologic Research Practice that will increase value and transparency, increase the accountability of the epidemiologists, and reduce research waste. Setting: A working group of the Netherland Epidemiological Society was given the task of developing a guideline that would meet these objectives. Several publications about the need to prevent Detrimental Research Practices triggered this work. Among these were a series in the Lancet on research waste and a subsequent series on transparency in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. The reputation and trust in epidemiologic research is still high, and the Netherlands Epidemiological Society wishes to keep it that way. The guideline deals with how epidemiologic research should be conducted, archived, and disclosed. It does not deal with the more technical aspects, such as required sample size, choice of study design, and so forth. The guideline describes each step in the process of conducting an epidemiologic study, from the first idea to the ultimate publication and beyond. Methods: The working group reviewed the literature on responsible research conduct, including the various existing codes of conduct. It applied the general principles from these codes to the elements of an epidemiologic study and formulated specific recommendations for each of these. Next step was to draft the guideline. Preceding the 2016 annual national epidemiology conference in Wageningen, a preconference was organized to discuss the draft guideline and to assess support. Support was clearly present, and the provided recommendations were incorporated into the draft guideline. In March 2017, a draft version of the guideline was sent to all 1,100 members of the society with the request to review and provide comments. All received responses were positive, and some minor additions were made. The Responsible Epidemiologic Research Practice guideline has now been approved by the board of the Netherlands Epidemiological Society. Conclusion: With the Responsible Epidemiologic Research Practice guideline, we hope to contribute to better research practices in epidemiology but perhaps also in adjacent disciplines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-119
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Volume100
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018

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