Reward campaign

From The Embassy of Good Science

Reward campaign

What is this about?

REWARD stands for REduce research Waste And Reward Diligence, and it is a campaign initiated by The Lancet in 2014. The aim of the campaign is to reduce waste and maximize value of research.

Why is this important?

Research is an expensive endeavor in terms of finances, time, human, and other resources. Therefore, if the results of research do not serve those who would use it, it becomes waste. Research can be wasted in several ways. First, if the potential results of research will not be of benefit to anybody. Second, if the research design is flawed. Third, if the management and execution of research is inadequate. Fourth, if research information is inaccessible. Finally, if the benefit of the research published is undermined by not publishing or partially publishing research reports.

For whom is this important?

What are the best practices?

To address the issues stated above, the REWARD campaign offers five set of recommendations. First, research priorities need to be selected. This means that prior to engaging in any experimentation or observation, a systematic review of literature should be done, funders should make their criteria for funding transparent, and research funders should develop sources of information about ongoing research.

Second, the REWARD campaign supports rigor in research design, conduct and analysis. This includes improving protocols and making them public, engaging professional staff and non-conflicted stakeholders, as well as rewarding quality and reproducibility of the research, rather than novelty.

Third, research waste can be reduced through research regulation and management. It emphasizes the important role and influence of research regulators who, along with policy makers, should collaborate with researchers, patients and health professionals. Their cooperation should simplify and coordinate laws and regulations that control or guide research. Furthermore, researchers should be able to improve the efficiency of their research using high quality designs that reduce inefficiencies of recruitment, retention, data monitoring, and data sharing. Finally, the integration of research findings in daily clinical practice should be promoted.

Fourth, all information on research methods and findings should be accessible. Academic institutions and funders should reward research that is publicly available and disseminated. REWARD recommends the standardization of protocols and data sharing, as well as the release of complete study reports. Finally, journals, funders, sponsors, research ethics committees, regulators and legislators should support and enforce study registration and availability of complete information regarding research.

Fifth, research reports should be complete and usable. With that aim, the REWARD campaign suggests that the focus of research regulations and rewards should be to encourage complete research reporting. To facilitate this, there is a need for good reporting infrastructure. Authors, editors and reviewers should be trained about reporting guidelines, publication ethics, and research integrity. Funders should support and monitor training.