Maintenance Notice

Due to necessary scheduled maintenance, the JMIR Publications website will be unavailable from Wednesday, July 01, 2020 at 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM EST. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Who will be affected?

Advertisement

Currently submitted to: Journal of Medical Internet Research

Date Submitted: Jul 23, 2020
Open Peer Review Period: Jul 23, 2020 - Aug 2, 2020
(closed for review but you can still tweet)

NOTE: This is an unreviewed Preprint

Warning: This is a unreviewed preprint (What is a preprint?). Readers are warned that the document has not been peer-reviewed by expert/patient reviewers or an academic editor, may contain misleading claims, and is likely to undergo changes before final publication, if accepted, or may have been rejected/withdrawn (a note "no longer under consideration" will appear above).

Peer-review me: Readers with interest and expertise are encouraged to sign up as peer-reviewer, if the paper is within an open peer-review period (in this case, a "Peer-Review Me" button to sign up as reviewer is displayed above). All preprints currently open for review are listed here. Outside of the formal open peer-review period we encourage you to tweet about the preprint.

Citation: Please cite this preprint only for review purposes or for grant applications and CVs (if you are the author).

Final version: If our system detects a final peer-reviewed "version of record" (VoR) published in any journal, a link to that VoR will appear below. Readers are then encourage to cite the VoR instead of this preprint.

Settings: If you are the author, you can login and change the preprint display settings, but the preprint URL/DOI is supposed to be stable and citable, so it should not be removed once posted.

Submit: To post your own preprint, simply submit to any JMIR journal, and choose the appropriate settings to expose your submitted version as preprint.

Warning: This is an author submission that is not peer-reviewed or edited. Preprints - unless they show as "accepted" - should not be relied on to guide clinical practice or health-related behavior and should not be reported in news media as established information.

How Can We Optimize the Readability and Format of Plain Language Summaries for Medical Journal Articles? A Cross-sectional Survey Study

  • Leia Martínez Silvagnoli; 
  • Caroline Shepherd; 
  • James Pritchett; 
  • Jason Gardner; 

ABSTRACT

Background:

Plain language summaries (PLS) are intended to provide readers with a clear, non-technical, and easily understandable overview of medical and scientific literature; however, audience preferences for specific PLS format have yet to be fully explored.

Objective:

To evaluate the preferred readability level and format for PLS of medical journal articles across different disease states, with online audiences from various age groups.

Methods:

Articles describing phase III clinical trials from top-level, peer-reviewed journals published between May 2016–May 2018 were identified for three disease states representing a range of patient age groups (psoriasis, a skin disease [younger patients]; multiple sclerosis [MS], a nerve-based disease [middle-aged patients]; and rheumatoid arthritis [RA], a painful joint disease [older patients]). Four PLS were developed for each article: three as text only (written with high-, medium-, and low-complexity) and one as an infographic. To evaluate each of the four PLS formats, a 20-question survey (specific to one of the three diseases) was sent to a representative sample, via UK-based patient association websites, Twitter, and Facebook patient groups. A weighted-average calculation was applied to responders’ ranked preferences for each PLS format.

Results:

Across all three diseases, the weighted-average preference scores showed that infographics (psoriasis=2.91; MS=2.71; RA=2.78) and medium-complexity text PLS (reading age: 14–17 years, US Grade 9–11; psoriasis=2.90; MS=2.47; RA=2.77) were the two most-preferred PLS formats in each case.

Conclusions:

Audience preferences should be accounted for when preparing PLS to accompany original peer-reviewed research articles. Oversimplified text can be viewed negatively, and infographic versions or medium-complexity text appear to be the most popular.


 Citation

Please cite as:

Martínez Silvagnoli L, Shepherd C, Pritchett J, Gardner J

How Can We Optimize the Readability and Format of Plain Language Summaries for Medical Journal Articles? A Cross-sectional Survey Study

JMIR Preprints. 23/07/2020:22122

DOI: 10.2196/preprints.22122

URL: https://preprints.jmir.org/preprint/22122

Download PDF


Request queued. Please wait while the file is being generated. It may take some time.

© The authors. All rights reserved. This is a privileged document currently under peer-review/community review (or an accepted/rejected manuscript). Authors have provided JMIR Publications with an exclusive license to publish this preprint on it's website for review and ahead-of-print citation purposes only. While the final peer-reviewed paper may be licensed under a cc-by license on publication, at this stage authors and publisher expressively prohibit redistribution of this draft paper other than for review purposes.