New EQUATOR Centre launches with symposium at Bond

February 22, 2016

Bond University will host an Australian-first symposium on improving the quality of medical and health research literature next month, in-line with the launch of the Australasian EQUATOR Centre.

The symposium will bring together some of Australia's leading academics in the field on March 3 to discuss strategies for ensuring research reporting meets the benchmarks of transparency, accuracy,reproducibility and useability, in a bid to reduce 'research waste'.

The international EQUATOR (Enhancing the QUality And Transparency Of health Research) Centre initiative was founded in the United Kingdom in 2006, with Australasia becoming the fourth centre worldwide, joining existing branches in Canada and France.

The Australasian Centre will be headed by Professor Paul Glasziou and Associate Professor Elaine Beller, both of Bond University's Centre for Research in Evidence-Based Practice (CREBP).

Professor Glasziou said the new centre aimed to improve medical reporting in Australasia and Asia, with the aim of establishing collaborating centres in Asia in the next few years.

"Improved reporting has wide-reaching positive benefits for the whole community and, ultimately, that is what we want to achieve in Australasia," he said.

"By presenting new research in a way that is credible, easily interpreted and comprehensive we ensure, for example, that a doctor reading the article can easily apply new best practice techniques to their patients.

"We also avoid 'research waste' that goes hand-in-hand with reports that don't meet the necessary benchmarks and, therefore, may be disregarded by the medical field or need to be reproduced in a way that does tick all the necessary boxes.

"We have already been involved in the development of templates for reporting that guide researchers through all the information to cover, and believe this will be an important first step in realising the goals of the EQUATOR Centre in Australasia."

Associate Professor Beller said the upcoming symposium would involve a number of preeminent figures in medical research reporting in Australia, and would be followed with training events throughout the year to guide researchers through the new templates.

Those presenting at the symposium include Sally Green of the Australasian Cochrane Centre, Ed Aromataris of the Joanna Briggs Institute, Adrian Barnett of Queensland University of Technology and Ginny Barbour of the Australasian Open Access Support Group.

Bond University's Professor Glasziou, Associate Professor Beller and Professor Tammy Hoffmann, who are all involved with the new Australasian EQUATOR Centre, will also speak.

"The symposium will cover a range of issues including why we need to improve reporting, reporting guidelines, how templates positively impact reporting,the need for both qualitative and quantitative research and open access articles," said Associate Professor Beller.

"We want to look at this issue from all angles, which means going all the way back to research design as well as how the results are reported.

"The workshop will also involve a strategic planning session on how we can best move forward in Australia, and we encourage anyone who is interested to come along and share their thoughts so we can all work together to improve the system."

The Official Opening Symposium for the Australasian EQUATOR Centre will be held on Thursday, March 3, from 9am to 1.30pm at the Bond Institute of Health and Sport, 2 Promethean Way, Robina.

                        The symposium is free to attend, but places are limited. 
                 To register please contact Melanie Vermeulen at [email protected] 
                                     or visit www.crebp.net.au for further information.