How Qeios defines quality

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Let's take a closer look!

Let's consider two research articles, and therefore two research teams, that are trying to find an answer to the same question — what is the ideal treatment for, let's say, medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (MRONJ)? Arguably, the design brief of the two teams, before starting the study, would include the selection of the "right" definition of MRONJ. Unfortunately, our researchers are not aided, not even a little, in their choice. Should they consider the AAOMS (American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons) definition of MRONJ? Or the European one? Or, again, the one from the Asian research team? Sadly, groping in the dark is very easy. This frequently brings, by default, to the choice made by the most authoritative team, published in the most authoritative journal, regardless of its intrinsic quality.

But, how many other definitions have our researchers to select to complete their study designs and thus compose their articles? Hundreds. And each of them has dozens of variants.

To better understand the problem, consider for instance the definition of Quality of Life (QoL), an essential metric when evaluating almost any medical treatments (what is medicine fighting for?). Well, there are, again, dozens of different definitions of QoL, and choosing one instead of another means totally changing the study results.

We can now easily understand how incomparable related articles can be from their very birth, each being made of its unique mix of definitions. And it is precisely here that the indecision and inconclusiveness of the research arise — we are not able, in most cases, to say "treatment A is better than treatment B”, simply because the articles, that is the studies, are not comparable.

The severity of the problem is huge, isn't it?

As if this wasn't enough, the system currently employed to check the quality of the research thus produced is extremely defective. Articles are submitted to academic journals to be checked and published. But, how is the process of selection carried out? For the most part, works' selection is performed by taking into account the ability of the article to raise the journal's Impact Factor, regardless of its actual quality. Despite this, journal brandname is still regarded as a marker of quality. What count is where rather than what researchers publish.

And finally Qeios arrives.

Qeios is a totally new integrated system of research production and quality check. We are asking researchers, gathered on Qeios, to compose their Articles along with a new object, the Definition, directly on the platform (and editing on Qeios is satisfying like never before!). Why a new object? Because researchers can thus rate it!

For the first time, a ranking of Definitions — in other words of Article "ingredients" — will be built, which is able to answer questions such as "which Definition of oral carcinoma should I use in my Article?", "which is the best Definition of QoL?".

It is now the cumulative knowledge of the entire scientific community that helps researchers choose the ingredients for their Articles. Its power is immense.

It is really striking how the simple principle of the "community review" has been fully and successfully applied by the commercial world — major search engines, online retailers, hospitality services, streaming services, etc. — but has been just weakly adopted — mainly in preprint repositories — or even rejected by the academic world. Actually the answer is as simple as the principle itself. To abandon a 300-year-old system, on which all the metrics used to judge researchers' performances have been built, is not a matter of one night. But the Internet has irrevocably changed the way we deal with information of any kind, for the better. The old printed-based habitat has evolved, we cannot expect to survive, and most likely we won't, if we do not adapt to the new environment. Qeios is ultimately filling the gap.

It should now be clear how the Definition and the rating system built on it have allowed the assisted-choice of the best building blocks or ingredients when creating knowledge. And if anyone can now easily recognise the best ingredients, Articles will be automatically composed more homogeneously — simply with the best Definitions!

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