Survey assesses CONSORT Statement enforcement by high impact factor medical journals

A survey of journal editors and journal ‘Instructions to Authors’ has identified that the quality of randomized controlled trial reporting could be improved by greater enforcement of the reporting recommendations identified in the CONSORT statement. The survey’s results are published in Trials, a BioMed Central journal dedicated to all aspect of the design, performance, and findings of
randomized controlled trials.

The use of reporting guidelines is important to ensure accuracy and
transparency of publications. CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) is an internationally recognized
set of guidelines for authors on how to prepare reports of trial findings, and has been endorsed by the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), the Council of Science Editors (CSE), and over 200 journals worldwide.

Hopewell et al., examined the online version of  ‘Instructions to Authors’ for 165 high impact factor medical journals and also surveyed the Editor-in-Chief or editorial office about their journal’s endorsement of CONSORT.

Thirty-eight percent (62/165) of journals mentioned the CONSORT Statement in their online ‘Instructions to Authors; of these 37% (23/62) stated this was a requirement, 63% (39/62) were less clear in their recommendations. Of the 39% of journals whose Editors responded to the online survey, 88% (50/57) of journals recommended authors comply with the CONSORT Statement with 62% (35/56) indicating that CONSORT compliance was a requirement.

The authors conclude that some journals could be more explicit in their recommendations and expectations of authors regarding the CONSORT Statement and its related extensions, if the CONSORT Statement is to fully yield the benefits for which it was intended.

of the CONSORT Statement by high impact factor medical journals: a
survey of journal editors and journal ‘Instructions to Authors’

Sally Hopewell, Douglas G Altman, David Moher, Kenneth F Schulz
Trials 2008, 9:20 (18 April 2008)
[Abstract] [Provisional PDF]

The CONSORT Statement and its extensions are part of the EQUATOR Network, an ‘umbrella’ organisation that brings together
developers of reporting guidelines, medical journal editors and peer
reviewers, research funding bodies and other collaborators with mutual
interest in improving the quality of research publications and of
research itself. EQUATOR is holding its launch meeting in London this June.

Trials is overseen by Doug Altman (United Kingdom), Curt Furberg
(United States), Jeremy Grimshaw (Canada) and Peter Rothwell (United
Kingdom), the Editors-in-Chief, and an expert editorial board. If you would like more information on the journal, please contact the editorial office.

View the latest posts on the On Medicine homepage