Introduction: Along with the proliferation of Open Access (OA) publishing, the interest for comparing the scientific quality of studies published in OA journals versus subscription journals has also increased. With our study we aimed to compare the methodological quality and the quality of reporting of primary epidemiological studies and systematic reviews and meta-analyses published in OA and non-OA journals. Methods: In order to identify the studies to appraise, we listed all OA and non-OA journals which published in 2013 at least one primary epidemiologic study (case-control or cohort study design), and at least one systematic review or meta-analysis in the field of oncology. For the appraisal, we picked up the first studies published in 2013 with case-control or cohort study design from OA journals (Group A; n = 12), and in the same time period from non-OA journals (Group B; n = 26); the first systematic reviews and meta-analyses published in 2013 from OA journals (Group C; n = 15), and in the same time period from non-OA journals (Group D; n = 32). We evaluated the methodological quality of studies by assessing the compliance of case-control and cohort studies to Newcastle and Ottawa Scale (NOS) scale, and the compliance of systematic reviews and meta-analyses to Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR) scale. The quality of reporting was assessed considering the adherence of case-control and cohort studies to STrengthening the Reporting of OBservational studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) checklist, and the adherence of systematic reviews and meta-analyses to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) checklist. Results: Among case-control and cohort studies published in OA and non-OA journals, we did not observe significant differences in the median value of NOS score (Group A: 7 (IQR 7-8) versus Group B: 8 (7-9); p = 0.5) and in the adherence to STROBE checklist (Group A, 75% versus Group B, 80%; p = 0.1). The results did not change after adjustment for impact factor. The compliance with AMSTAR and adherence to PRISMA checklist were comparable between systematic reviews and meta-analyses published in OA and non-OA journals (Group C, 46.0% versus Group D, 55.0%; p = 0.06), (Group C, 72.0% versus Group D, 76.0%; p = 0.1), respectively). Conclusion: The epidemiological studies published in OA journals in the field of oncology approach the same methodological quality and quality of reporting as studies published in non-OA journals.
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
- Medicine (all)