Jump to page content

On February 20-22, 2020 the BIH QUEST Center and the Charité hosted the REWARD | EQUATOR Conference 2020 in Berlin. The theme of this international conference, which was held for the 3rd time, was ‘Sharing Strategies for Research Improvement’.

REWARD | EQUATOR Conference 2020 aimed at moving beyond the articulation and description of problems relating to research waste and quality issues, and to instead provide greater focus on possible solutions, their development, testing, evaluation and dissemination. More than 250 participants from all over the world representing different stakeholders - Ethics Committees and Regulators, Publishers, Institutions and Researchers, and Funders – were present. By involving communities beyond biomedical research the discussion was broadened to learn from each others‘ experience.

We decided to test new conference formats. Besides a key note lecture, and several invited oral talks and poster presentations - so-called Focus Track sessions took place in which different participants, together with a moderator, worked on and discussed specific topics, such as improving research at the institutional level or improving research integrity. The most innovative format consisted of an Open Space, which offered the opportunity to break out from the traditional sessions and to stage spontaneous sessions, start a working group, hack away with some new collaborators, etc. This format was well received – not only by early career researchers. The conference was furthermore accompanied by several preconference activities, for example a bar camp on research data management. Bar camps are participatory workshop-events, the content of which is provided by participants on site and ad hoc.

Throughout the conference numerous best practice examples for research improvement on all levels were presented. Many excellent contributions in talks, posters, and open space events were made by early career researchers. It appeared that funders are particularly concerned about generating value through their various formats, and are road testing novel types of calls and selections processes. Publishers and journals (some of which cosponsored the meeting) were presenting first experience with novel article article formats such as Registered Reports, or alternative peer review, such as post publication and open review. We are confident that the multitude networking oportunities will have triggered a plethora of collaborative activities, between and among the different stakeholders, in particular institutions, funders, and researchers. The conference was a further milestone in establishing BIH, QUEST, and Charité as leading institutions in the worldwide effort to increase value and reduce waste in research.

Talks, posters, abstracts etc. will soon be available in the media center of the QUEST Center https://www.bihealth.org/en/research/quest-center/media-center/reward-equator-conference-2020-conference-contributions-2022020/ and the conference webpage https://www.reward-equator-conference-2020.com/.