This is a retrospective documentary study. A peer-reviewed data collection form was constructed using a set of published scientific reporting guidelines [4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13].
The study started in 2011, the first year of JENCI online publishing by Elsevier. The study ended in 2016 being the last complete year of JENCI’s publications at the time approving the study protocol. All online-available original research articles published during this period were included. Other published research types during the same period; case reports, reviews, and letters to editors were not included in the current study.
The data collection form
It consisted of two parts:
The first part included the general article information, e.g., serial number, article title, and specialty as well as the institution, and year of publication, while the second part included the reviewed items of every article’s section from title to references as follows:
Clarity of reporting (adequate study description, clear and simple phrasing without unfamiliar terms (jargons), uncommon or un-declared abbreviations, with precise description and relevance to study), absence of abbreviations or formula, and reflecting the aim with clear mention of the study design.
Clarity of reporting that makes it stand-alone, concision, using a structured writing format (aim, methodology, results, and conclusion), and without references or abbreviations.
This included the aim, rationale, relevant previous studies to the studied topic, and did not include material belonging to other sections of the manuscript (e.g., methods or results).
Sampling method reporting and type, randomization reporting and method (considered applicable multi-armed clinical trials), matching technique reporting and method (considered applicable in case-control studies), blinding documentation and its method (if used), PICOT components reporting (population, intervention, comparator group if applicable, outcome, and time), inclusion and exclusion criteria documentation, study scope (classified to either preventive, therapeutic, diagnostic, prognostic, basic science (physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics), or others), study design and type, study timing and type, absence of material belonging to other sections of the manuscript, data collection tool reporting with comment on validity and reliability aspects (for questionnaires), statistical methods (reporting, appropriateness, completeness, including the significance level confidence interval (if applicable or not used), and correctly defining any used statistical variables (e.g., survival terms, morbidity, or mortality rates)), sample size estimation.
Clarity of reporting ( accurate, complete, relevant, clearly phrased with no contradicting within the text), exhaustiveness (with post hoc tests and multivariate analysis whenever applicable), relevance to aim, answering the research question, and had no material belonging to other sections of the manuscript, appropriate use of statistical terms (e.g., correlation, prevalence or incidence, trend), appropriate selection or application of descriptive parameters, or statistical tests with correct statistical calculations.
Accurate titles and labels (complete, correct, and without misused statistical terms), completely presenting the applied statistical material (e.g., survival tables), informative (complete and correct information), emphasizing the written text (informative but not merely repeating the text or figure or contradicting them), without irrelevant or redundant information, all tables correctly referred to in the text, organized, and consistently formulated within each table and in-between tables.
Accurate titles and labels (correct, complete, and without misused statistical terms), informative (correct information, complete with clear figure formatting), organized, consistently formulated (if multiple), without contradiction with the written text or tables, emphasizing the written text (informative but not merely repeating the text or contradicting it), without irrelevant or redundant information, and all figures are correctly referred to in the text.
Clarity of reporting (accurate, complete, relevant, clearly phrased with no contradictions within the text), correct interpretation complete coverage of the results, no comparison with non-similar studies, no material belonging to other sections of the manuscript, full justification of findings in relation to literature and evidence, no contradiction within text or extrapolation beyond results range, not redundant, followed a logical flow, and addressing strengths and limitations.
Clarity of reporting (accurate, relevant, clear phrasing with no contradicting within the text), short, precise, linked to title and aim, reasonable and logical, and justified by the results without extrapolation.
Reporting and clarity of statement.
Mostly recent (more than half of them within maximum 10 years of publication year), present for all cited texts, and list of references completely mentioned in the text.
Abbreviations are fully mentioned at first use, and the state of any conflict of interest is reported.
Data management and analysis were performed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) vs. 25. Each item in the checklist was summarized as a number and percentage, and for each item, a score of 1 was awarded for the “YES; favorable method” and a score of 0 for the “NO; un-favorable method.” A summary score for the whole article and for each major subsection was computed by adding all scores of each item. The summary scores were tested for normality using Kolmogrov-Smirnov test and Shapiro-Wilk test. The medians and ranges were computed for the scores as they were non-normally distributed.
The whole study period between 2011 and 2016 was divided into two periods early: from 2011 to 2013 and recent from 2014 to 2016. Each item in the checklist was compared using chi-square or Fisher’s exact test as appropriate. The summary scores of all reviewed sections from title to references were compared between the 2 time periods using the Student’s t test, in case they were normally distributed and by the Mann-Whitney test, if not normally distributed. All statistical tests were two-sided. The threshold of statistical significance of the p value was fixed at the 5% level.