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IOP Publishing and IPEM announce mandate

IOP Publishing and the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine have introduced checks for sex and gender equality for all manuscripts submitted to their jointly published journal Physiological Measurement.

IOP Publishing and IPEM announce mandate
Kim Eggleton: “Understanding sex and gender differences is crucial for thorough and inclusive research.”

IOP Publishing (IOPP) says, in line with the Sex and Gender Equity in Research (SAGER) guidelines, which were introduced to ensure that sex and gender considerations are appropriately reported in scholarly literature, all research published in Physiological Measurement must declare the sex and gender balance of subject groups. Authors are asked to explain any variations in results related to sex or gender. This information makes it clear whether the outcomes can be generalised to all sexes and genders in a population.

The implications of declaring sex and gender balance in clinical research can be far reaching and are becoming more known especially in cardiovascular and pain research, added the publisher. For instance, a study published in Physiological Measurement shows that regulation of blood flow to the brain is distinctly different in woman and men highlighting the need to consider sex differences in both physiological and clinical studies.

The decision to mandate the requirement to clearly declare sex and gender balance in research comes after a successful two-year trial on the journal. During the trial, which ran between November 2021 and January 2024, all authors were requested to include sex and gender reporting information if absent. In addition, if the sample groups were found to be unjustifiably imbalanced, they were asked to increase the subject group size. Only 3.1% of submitted papers were sent back to the authors due to imbalanced subject groups.

Dr Jemimah Eve, IPEM director of policy and impact, said: “It’s essential that published research is as robust as possible, and this requirement will help with that. The trial that we ran showed that it’s straightforward for researchers to follow and will help to ensure that relevant sex and gender differences are recognised and taken into account.”

Kim Eggleton, head of peer review and research integrity says: “Understanding sex and gender differences is crucial for thorough and inclusive research. By insisting on clear declarations of sex and gender balance in study samples and flagging this early in the publishing process, we can make science better. We’d love to see these principles mandated more widely including by funders and institutions.”

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