Systematic review and meta-analyses of studies analysing instructions to authors from 1987 to 2017

Mario Malički*, Ana Jerončić, I. Jsbrand Jan Aalbersberg, Lex Bouter, Gerben ter Riet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


To gain insight into changes of scholarly journals’ recommendations, we conducted a systematic review of studies that analysed journals’ Instructions to Authors (ItAs). We summarised results of 153 studies, and meta-analysed how often ItAs addressed: 1) authorship, 2) conflicts of interest, 3) data sharing, 4) ethics approval, 5) funding disclosure, and 6) International Committee of Medical Journal Editors’ Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts. For each topic we found large between-study heterogeneity. Here, we show six factors that explained most of that heterogeneity: 1) time (addressing of topics generally increased over time), 2) country (large differences found between countries), 3) database indexation (large differences found between databases), 4) impact factor (topics were more often addressed in highest than in lowest impact factor journals), 5) discipline (topics were more often addressed in Health Sciences than in other disciplines), and 6) sub-discipline (topics were more often addressed in general than in sub-disciplinary journals).
Original languageEnglish
Article number5840
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

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