Quality and equality in dental research: Perspective from the JDR
Improving oral health is the desired outcome of most dental, oral and craniofacial research. Any new approaches to prevent or treat oral disease must be based on robust science. However, the pressure to publish work quickly risks a reduction in scientific quality and integrity that jeopardises the ability to draw firm conclusions from the data, and potentially adds confusion to the literature. While there have been improvements in the quality of dental research over time, there are still many examples of poor practice across the field.
To ensure that the time, money and effort taken to conduct scientific research is not wasted, it is essential to follow the key principles of research integrity: honesty, transparency, accountability, respect and rigour. Pre-registration of studies and data analysis plans help to ensure that analyses are conducted against pre-planned hypotheses. Reporting guidelines give authors a clear structure to ensure that essential details of studies are included in the final publication. Peer review remains critical to detect issues and concerns prior to publication. Here, I will give a perspective from the Journal of Dental Research on some of the key current issues, and opportunities for journals to help improve the quality of published science.