AgroEcoList 1.0: A checklist to improve reporting standards in ecological research in agriculture

Georgia M. Daykin, Marcelo A. Aizen, Luke G. Barrett, Lewis J. Bartlett, Péter Batáry, Lucas A. Garibaldi, Ali Güncan, Sridhar Gutam, Bea Maas, Jayalakshmi Mitnala, Flavia Montaño-Centellas, Tarirai Muoni, Erik Öckinger, Ode Okechalu, Richard Ostler, Simon G. Potts, David C. Rose, Cairistiona F.E. Topp, Hope O. Usieta, Obaiya G. UtobloChristine Watson, Yi Zou, William J. Sutherland, Amelia S.C. Hood*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Many publications lack sufficient background information (e.g. location) to be interpreted, replicated, or reused for synthesis. This impedes scientific progress and the application of science to practice. Reporting guidelines (e.g. checklists) improve reporting standards. They have been widely taken up in the medical sciences, but not in ecological and agricultural research. Here, we use a community-centred approach to develop a reporting checklist (AgroEcoList 1.0) through surveys and workshops with 23 experts and the wider agroecological community. To put AgroEcoList in context, we also assessed the agroecological community's perception of reporting standards in agroecology. A total of 345 researchers, reviewers, and editors, responded to our survey. Although only 32% of respondents had prior knowledge of reporting guidelines, 76% of those that had said guidelines improved reporting standards. Overall, respondents agreed on the need of AgroEcolist 1.0; only 24% of respondents had used reporting guidelines before, but 78% indicated they would use AgroEcoList 1.0. We updated AgroecoList 1.0 based on respondents' feedback and user-testing. AgroecoList 1.0 consists of 42 variables in seven groups: experimental/sampling set-up, study site, soil, livestock management, crop and grassland management, outputs, and finances. It is presented here, and is also available on github (https://github.com/AgroecoList/Agroecolist). AgroEcoList 1.0 can serve as a guide for authors, reviewers, and editors to improve reporting standards in agricultural ecology. Our community-centred approach is a replicable method that could be adapted to develop reporting checklists in other fields. Reporting guidelines such as AgroEcoList can improve reporting standards and therefore the application of research to practice, and we recommend that they are adopted more widely in agriculture and ecology.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0285478
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume18
Issue number6
Early online date13 Jun 2023
DOIs
Publication statusFirst published - 13 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright: © 2023 Daykin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Keywords

  • Animals
  • Checklist
  • Agriculture
  • Soil
  • Knowledge
  • Livestock

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