Policies & Procedures

International Team 
  • PEN: Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition® is a dynamic knowledge translation subscription service developed by Dietitians of Canada with input from thought leaders in dietetic practice, knowledge translation and technology. The PEN System is now governed by a collaborative partnership comprised of the British Dietetic Association, Dietitians Australia and Dietitians of Canada. 
  • The PEN Global Governance Group is responsible for managing the collaboration, strategic planning, business plan development and approval of new partners. Reporting to the Global Governance Group, the PEN Management Team is responsible for the establishment of standards pertaining to all aspects of curating and developing PEN content, operations, marketing and building capacity for evidence-based practice.
  • View PEN Team and Advisory Committee members' biographies.

PEN Content Development

  • Determining what content is included in the PEN System
  • PEN Content Priorities

Evidence-based Process


  • PEN

PEN Knowledge Object Development/Enhancement 
  • Knowledge Pathways
  • Practice Questions
  • Backgrounds
  • Practice Guidance Toolkits
  • Related Tools and Resources
  • Trending Topics 

  • Authors may be academic experts, practitioners, experts with an advanced degree or education or Evidence Analysts. Evidence Analysts are employed by the PEN System and are required to have a degree in nutrition and dietetics, public health, epidemiology or adult education/communications as well as additional experience and training in critical appraisal and guideline development. Student authors are closely supervised by an academic mentor as well as a member of the PEN Team. All authors are guided by standardized processes for developing PEN content, outlined in the PEN Authors and Reviewers Guide.

Peer Reviewers 

  • Peer reviewers may be academics or practictioners with acknowledged expertise, experience or training in the topic area. While the goal is to have someone from each partner country (three individuals representing Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom), at least two partner countries will be represented and a member of the PEN team of the missing partner country will review from their country perspective. Reviewers guidelines are provided to all peer reviewers to ensure a comprehensive and transparent review process.

Conflict of Interest 

  • Content development processes ensure that the practice recommendations contained in the PEN System are objective and grounded in best evidence. All PEN authors and reviewers are required to complete a Declaration of Affiliations and Interests form that is kept on file with Dietitians of Canada. A rigorous peer review process, documentation of search strategies, adherence to critical appraisal standards and appropriate referencing of content are designed to mitigate conflict of interests. The PEN Editor ensures that inappropriate content in not published in the PEN System.
  • Resources and/or tools that have been developed by the corporate sector may be eligible for inclusion in the PEN System if they are reviewed through an independent peer review process and deemed congruent with the evidence in the PEN System. However, preference will always be given to tools and resources that have not been developed by corporate interests, should similar tools exist.

Editorial/Publishing Process 

  • All content submitted to the PEN System for publishing is reviewed and approved by various PEN Team members. Standardized processes are used to ensure that only evidence-based content that is relevant and appropriate is published in the PEN System. The majority of the content (Practice Questions, Backgrounds, Practice Guidance Toolkits) is edited by the PEN Editor who also reviews content for congruency with existing content in the PEN System and ensures that appropriate referencing is used. Related tools and resources and client handouts are reviewed against the PEN evidence and approved for publication by the PEN Resource Managers. Trending Topics submissions are reviewed by the PEN Resource Managers. The PEN Style Guide, linked to the PEN Authors and Reviewers Guide, is available to familiarize authors and reviewers with grammar and formatting specific to the PEN System.  

Notification of New/Updated Content 

  • PEN users are alerted to new content posted to the PEN System in a variety of ways. General updates are posted on the home page, in a bimonthly electronic newsletter - PEN eNews, and shared via social media. Users can also receive customized notices of new or updated content added to the PEN System via PEN Content Alerts. This feature allows users to specify the topics they wish to be alerted about and the frequency of the email updates (monthly or quarterly). 

Social Media 
Goals of PEN communications include:  

  • enhance adoption of best evidence into practice by students and practitioners
  • engage students and practiioners in learning about evidence-based practice and ways to incorporate it into their learning opportunities
  • increase awareness of the PEN System
  • increase PEN System usage by showcasing PEN content, its features and how the PEN System is used in practice
  • establish/build the PEN brand
  • build the PEN Community.

The PEN System currently utilizes four social media platforms:

Citing PEN

Linking Policy


Advertising/Sponsorship Policy 

  • It is essential that the development of evidence-based tools for practice guidance is not biased through the influence of commercial entities that may stand to benefit from the PEN System and its recommendations. As seen in the PEN Commercial Sponsorship Policy, we do not accept corporate sponsorship for the development or updating of practice guidance provided in the Knowledge Pathway content of the PEN System. We do not host or receive funding from advertising or from the display of commercial content on the PEN website. Professional associations, subscription and licensing revenues, government grants and health authorities have provided funding for the PEN System.

Privacy Policy


Policy Review 

  • The content management group, made up of representatives from partnering organizations, reviews PEN policies and procedures at least yearly.

Reviewed/Updated February 2020