Nature journals raise the bar on sex and gender reporting in research


A medical student using a microscope and being guided by his tutor in the laboratory.

Many analysis research don’t account for intercourse and gender.Credit score: Getty

In late 2020, the European Fee introduced that its research-grant recipients would want to include analyses of intercourse and gender of their examine design. This might embody disaggregating knowledge by intercourse when inspecting cells, or contemplating how a expertise may perpetuate gender stereotypes. Again then, Nature wrote that this was a big step and urged different funders to observe go well with (see Nature 588, 196; 2020). On the identical time, we stated that publishers, too, have a task in encouraging intercourse and gender reporting. The duty doesn’t lie solely with funders.

Some journals have inspired reporting of intercourse and gender analyses for years, and the variety of analysis research that embody such knowledge has elevated considerably up to now decade. However gaps stay — particularly inadequate reporting of information disaggregated by intercourse and gender13.

To treatment this, to any extent further, researchers who submit papers to a subset of Nature Portfolio journals (see checklist at go.nature.com/3mcu0zj) can be prompted to state whether or not and the way intercourse and gender have been thought of of their examine design, or to point that no intercourse and gender analyses have been carried out, and make clear why. They need to notice within the title and/or summary if findings apply to just one intercourse or gender.

They may also be requested to supply knowledge disaggregated by intercourse and gender the place this data has been collected, and knowledgeable consent for reporting and sharing individual-level knowledge has been obtained. The adjustments apply to research with human contributors, on different vertebrates or on cell strains, during which intercourse and gender is an acceptable consideration.

On the identical time, we’re urging care and warning in speaking findings about intercourse and gender, to keep away from analysis findings having inadvertent and dangerous results, particularly the place there’s the potential for societal and public-policy impression. Extra particulars about these adjustments will be discovered at go.nature.com/3mcu0zj. They’re a part of the SAGER (Intercourse and Gender Fairness in Analysis) pointers4.

As well as, from 1 June, 4 journals — Nature Most cancers, Nature Communications, Nature Medication and Nature Metabolism — can be elevating consciousness of the up to date suggestions in letters to authors and reviewers throughout peer assessment. The intention right here is to enhance understanding of the diploma to which intercourse and gender reporting is already a part of examine design, knowledge assortment and evaluation within the analysis these journals publish. The journals may also consider writer and reviewer reception of the adjustments in order that we are able to iterate on them as we be taught by means of expertise.

The brand new measures are wanted as a result of analysis remains to be largely failing to account for intercourse and gender in examine design, typically with catastrophic outcomes. Between 1997 and 2001, ten pharmaceuticals have been withdrawn from use in america; eight of those have been reported to have worse uncomfortable side effects in girls than in males (we acknowledge that not everybody suits into these classes). These variations had in all probability been missed, partly, due to inadequate or inappropriate evaluation of information on intercourse variations throughout medical trials.

By introducing these adjustments, we intention to advertise transparency in examine design and, in the end, make findings extra correct. Over time, we hope to see integration of intercourse and gender evaluation in examine design by default.

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