In this second part of our three-part series of interviews with the Editors-in-Chief of the ESR Journals family, we talked with Professors Yves Menu (professor of radiology at the University of Paris and Editor-in-Chief of European Radiology), Luis Martí-Bonmatí (professor of radiology at La Fe Hospital in Valencia and Editor-in-Chief of Insights into Imaging), and Francesco Sardanelli (professor of radiology at the University of Milan and Editor-in-Chief of European Radiology Experimental) about the purpose and importance of reporting guidelines when preparing a manuscript for publication.

“Ideally, for all studies dealing with diagnostic accuracy, authors should follow the STARD (Standards for the Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies) statement; for observational studies, the STROBE (Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology) statement; for randomised controlled trials, the CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) statement; and for systematic reviews, the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) statement,” Sardanelli explained. All three editors agree that reporting guidelines are paramount when drafting an article, as they usually increase the quality of manuscripts by prompting the authors to adhere to a list of specific requirements. “Adherence to these guidelines will impact the homogeneity and quality of the papers,” Martí-Bonmatí added.

The Editors-in-Chief of the ESR Journals family: Luis Martí-Bonmatí (Insights into Imaging), Yves Menu (European Radiology), and Francesco Sardanelli (European Radiology Experimental).

Menu pointed out that most authors do not consider consulting the guidelines until the manuscript is finalised and they realise that they are obligatory for every submission. “This is a major error and I advise the authors to consult the guidelines even before they start writing the article,” he added. When properly used, the guidelines can “help the authors to categorise their study, and also facilitate step-by-step construction of the manuscript,” Menu said.

While none of the three journals currently require a mandatory checklist for new submissions, the editors agree that this step would undoubtedly help authors to formulate their work more swiftly and cohesively, and considerations to introduce this to the regular submission workflows are underway. As of now, only European Radiology has recommended the use of available checklists, but all three journals might adopt mandatory ones in the future.

Martí-Bonmatí singles out non-uniformity of main items and absence of relevant data in the manuscript as the biggest disadvantages of not adhering to reporting guidelines. They lead to well-structured papers which, in turn, “enhance the worldwide impact of the publication and the better understanding of main messages,” he stated.

Sardanelli and Martí-Bonmatí both recommend the Equator network as a valuable resource for authors. This library not only contains a comprehensive database of reporting guidelines, but it is also easily searchable, which should help authors to find the right guidelines, thus expediting the writing process. Menu added that senior authors should help junior authors early in the writing process and explain the importance and role of these guidelines.

Ultimately, guidelines can help improve a manuscript, but they do not guarantee a good paper, as originality, accurate methods, relevant results, and conclusions, as well as acceptable language remain as important. Nevertheless, the editors highlight their importance for authors and reviewers, and encourage authors to consult them as early in the writing process as possible.

C 23 How to get my manuscript accepted: tips and tricks from the editors
Organised by ESR Journals

  • How to ‘polish’ a submission
    Yves Menu; Paris/FR
  • How to reply to reviewers’ criticism
    Francesco Sardanelli; San Donato Milanese/IT
  • How to manage critical reviews
    Luis Martí-Bonmatí; Valencia/ES

C 24 How to get my manuscript accepted: getting help from reporting guidelines
Organised by ESR Journals

  • Why are STARD and STROBE useful and how do they help authors and editors?
    Francesco Sardanelli; San Donato Milanese/IT
  • What is PRISMA, and what is the recipe for a relevant meta-analysis?
    Marc Dewey; Berlin/DE
  • Can we elaborate guidelines or a checklist for radiomics studies?
    Daniel Pinto dos Santos; Cologne/DE