EQUATOR: reporting your randomized trial

The EQUATOR Network seminar, ‘Reporting your randomized trial: CONSORT 2010 and other reporting guidelines’ provided an opportunity for those involved in randomized controlled trials – from planning to publishing – to learn more about the importance of transparent and accurate reporting. In addition, delegates were informed of the essential role of the EQUATOR Network, which aims to increase the value and reliability of the medical literature by promoting high-quality reporting.

Allison Hirst, Research Fellow for the EQUATOR Network, started proceedings at Oriel College, Oxford, with an introduction to EQUATOR and a virtual tour of the resources available at www.equator-network.org. In addition to an easy-to-use library of reporting guidelines for different study types, the EQUATOR website provides resources aimed at helping journal editors and peer reviewers to use and implement reporting guidelines, as well as information for those looking to develop new guidelines.

Doug Altman, Chair of the EQUATOR steering group and co-Editor-in-Chief of Trials, talked us through the need for good-quality reporting and the development of the CONSORT guidelines for reporting clinical trials. Using a series of examples, Professor Altman illustrated the difference between poor reporting and flawed methodology, and how the latter can often be hidden by the former. CONSORT for abstracts was introduced by Sally Hopewell, Senior Research Fellow for the CONSORT group. Highlighting the fact that some researchers’ access to peer-reviewed articles is limited to the abstract, Dr Hopewell also demonstrated that word limits need not be a hindrance to good abstract writing by preparing a real-life example in under 300 words.

To finish the afternoon, Emma Veitch, Senior Editor at PLoS Medicine, shared the journal’s experience of implementing the CONSORT guidelines. As well as reminding authors of the importance of adhering to relevant  guidelines to facilitate review of their work, this presentation in particular was a timely reminder for editors of their role in helping to ensure complete and accurate reporting of clinical trials – a responsibility that journals like Trials are keen to meet through their support of EQUATOR and its aims.

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