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Does journal endorsement of reporting guidelines impact the completeness of reporting of health research? A systematic review

Date and Location




Saturday 21 September 2013 - 10:30 - 12:00


Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author

Adrienne Stevens

Contact person

Adrienne Stevens
Abstract text
Background: Reporting guidelines (RGs) have been developed to overcome inadequate and incomplete reporting of health research. Aside from CONSORT, which was assessed in a recently published systematic review, the effectiveness of RGs for improving the completeness of reporting is unknown. Objectives: To evaluate the impact of journal endorsement of RGs (excluding CONSORT) on the completeness of reporting of health research studies. Methods: We conducted a systematic review assessing RG impact on completeness of reporting by comparing studies published (1) before and after journal endorsement and (2) in endorsing and non-endorsing journals for a given RG. RGs providing a minimum set of items for reporting a specific type of research, developed with explicit methodology, and using a consensus process were identified from another systematic review and the EQUATOR Network’s reporting guidelines library (to June 2011). MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Methodology Register, and Scopus were searched (October 2011) for evaluations of RGs. Fulltext articles were screened independently by two reviewers. One person extracted data, and a second person verified 10% of study characteristics and 100% of validity and outcomes data. RGs were analyzed according to individual checklist items and their total sum, where applicable. RR, MD, or SMD with 99% confidence intervals using random effects models were used. Results: 101 relevant RGs were identified. Of 15,240 records retrieved from the literature search for evaluations, 20 evaluations assessing 7 RGs were included. Of those, 10 evaluations addressing 6 RGs (BMJ economic checklist, CONSORT for harms, QUOROM, STARD, STRICTA, STROBE) could be analyzed. Most RG checklist items were assessed by one evaluation; evaluations included relatively few studies. Conclusions: Only 7 of 101 RGs have been evaluated by a small number of evaluations assessing relatively few publications. Insufficient evidence exists to determine the impact of journal endorsement on completeness of reporting.