Consolidated standards of reporting trials (CONSORT) and the completeness of reporting of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) published in medical journals
ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: An overwhelming body of evidence stating that the completeness of reporting of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) is not optimal has accrued over time. In the mid-1990s, in response to these concerns, an international group of clinical trialists, statisticians, epidemiologists, and biomedical journal editors developed the CONsolidated Standards Of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) Statement. The CONSORT Statement, most recently updated in March 2010, is an evidence-based minimum set of recommendations including a checklist and flow diagram for reporting RCTs and is intended to facilitate the complete and transparent reporting of trials and aid their critical appraisal and interpretation. In 2006, a systematic review of eight studies evaluating the "effectiveness of CONSORT in improving reporting quality in journals" was published. OBJECTIVES: To update the earlier systematic review assessing whether journal endorsement of the 1996 and 2001 CONSORT checklists influences the completeness of reporting of RCTs published in medical journals. SEARCH METHODS: We conducted electronic searches, known item searching, and reference list scans to identify reports of evaluations assessing the completeness of reporting of RCTs. The electronic search strategy was developed in MEDLINE and tailored to EMBASE. We searched the Cochrane Methodology Register and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews using the Wiley interface. We searched the Science Citation Index, Social Science Citation Index, and Arts and Humanities Citation Index through the ISI Web of Knowledge interface. We conducted all searches to identify reports published between January 2005 and March 2010, inclusive. SELECTION CRITERIA: In addition to studies identified in the original systematic review on this topic, comparative studies evaluating the completeness of reporting of RCTs in any of the following comparison groups were eligible for inclusion in this review: 1) Completeness of reporting of RCTs published in journals that have and have not endorsed the CONSORT Statement; 2) Completeness of reporting of RCTs published in CONSORT-endorsing journals before and after endorsement; or 3) Completeness of reporting of RCTs before and after the publication of the CONSORT Statement (1996 or 2001). We used a broad definition of CONSORT endorsement that includes any of the following: (a) requirement or recommendation in journal's 'Instructions to Authors' to follow CONSORT guidelines; (b) journal editorial statement endorsing the CONSORT Statement; or (c) editorial requirement for authors to submit a CONSORT checklist and/or flow diagram with their manuscript. We contacted authors of evaluations reporting data that could be included in any comparison group(s), but not presented as such in the published report and asked them to provide additional data in order to determine eligibility of their evaluation. Evaluations were not excluded due to language of publication or validity assessment. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We completed screening and data extraction using standardised electronic forms, where conflicts, reasons for exclusion, and level of agreement were all automatically and centrally managed in web-based management software, DistillerSR(®). One of two authors extracted general characteristics of included evaluations and all data were verified by a second author. Data describing completeness of reporting were extracted by one author using a pre-specified form; a 10% random sample of evaluations was verified by a second author. Any discrepancies were discussed by both authors; we made no modifications to the extracted data. Validity assessments of included evaluations were conducted by one author and independently verified by one of three authors. We resolved all conflicts by consensus.For each comparison we collected data on 27 outcomes: 22 items of the CONSORT 2001 checklist, plus four items relating to the reporting of blinding, and one item of aggregate CONSORT scores. Where reported, we extracted and qualitatively synthesised data on the methodological quality of RCTs, by scale or score. MAIN RESULTS: Fifty-three publications reporting 50 evaluations were included. The total number of RCTs assessed within evaluations was 16,604 (median per evaluation 123 (interquartile range (IQR) 77 to 226) published in a median of six (IQR 3 to 26) journals. Characteristics of the included RCT populations were variable, resulting in heterogeneity between included evaluations. Validity assessments of included studies resulted in largely unclear judgements. The included evaluations are not RCTs and less than 8% (4/53) of the evaluations reported adjusting for potential confounding factors. Twenty-five of 27 outcomes assessing completeness of reporting in RCTs appeared to favour CONSORT-endorsing journals over non-endorsers, of which five were statistically significant. 'Allocation concealment' resulted in the largest effect, with risk ratio (RR) 1.81 (99% confidence interval (CI) 1.25 to 2.61), suggesting that 81% more RCTs published in CONSORT-endorsing journals adequately describe allocation concealment compared to those published in non-endorsing journals. Allocation concealment was reported adequately in 45% (393/876) of RCTs in CONSORT-endorsing journals and in 22% (329/1520) of RCTs in non-endorsing journals. Other outcomes with results that were significant include: scientific rationale and background in the 'Introduction' (RR 1.07, 99% CI 1.01 to 1.14); 'sample size' (RR 1.61, 99% CI 1.13 to 2.29); method used for 'sequence generation' (RR 1.59, 99% CI 1.38 to 1.84); and an aggregate score over reported CONSORT items, 'total sum score' (standardised mean difference (SMD) 0.68 (99% CI 0.38 to 0.98)). AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Evidence has accumulated to suggest that the reporting of RCTs remains sub-optimal. This review updates a previous systematic review of eight evaluations. The findings of this review are similar to those from the original review and demonstrate that, despite the general inadequacies of reporting of RCTs, journal endorsement of the CONSORT Statement may beneficially influence the completeness of reporting of trials published in medical journals. Future prospective studies are needed to explore the influence of the CONSORT Statement dependent on the extent of editorial policies to ensure adherence to CONSORT guidance.
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ABSTRACT: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are not always well reported, especially in terms of their methodological descriptions. This study aimed to investigate the adherence of methodological reporting complying with CONSORT and explore associated trial level variables in the Chinese nursing care field. In June 2012, we identified RCTs published in five leading Chinese nursing journals and included trials with details of randomized methods. The quality of methodological reporting was measured through the methods section of the CONSORT checklist and the overall CONSORT methodological items score was calculated and expressed as a percentage. Meanwhile, we hypothesized that some general and methodological characteristics were associated with reporting quality and conducted a regression with these data to explore the correlation. The descriptive and regression statistics were calculated via SPSS 13.0. In total, 680 RCTs were included. The overall CONSORT methodological items score was 6.34±0.97 (Mean ± SD). No RCT reported descriptions and changes in "trial design," changes in "outcomes" and "implementation," or descriptions of the similarity of interventions for "blinding." Poor reporting was found in detailing the "settings of participants" (13.1%), "type of randomization sequence generation" (1.8%), calculation methods of "sample size" (0.4%), explanation of any interim analyses and stopping guidelines for "sample size" (0.3%), "allocation concealment mechanism" (0.3%), additional analyses in "statistical methods" (2.1%), and targeted subjects and methods of "blinding" (5.9%). More than 50% of trials described randomization sequence generation, the eligibility criteria of "participants," "interventions," and definitions of the "outcomes" and "statistical methods." The regression analysis found that publication year and ITT analysis were weakly associated with CONSORT score. The completeness of methodological reporting of RCTs in the Chinese nursing care field is poor, especially with regard to the reporting of trial design, changes in outcomes, sample size calculation, allocation concealment, blinding, and statistical methods.PLoS ONE 11/2014; 9(11):e113002. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0113002 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Chronic inflammatory diseases (CID) are globally highly prevalent and characterized by severe pathological medical conditions. Several trials were conducted aiming at measuring the effects of manipulative therapies on patients affected by CID. The purpose of this review was to explore the extent to which osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) can be benefi-cial in medical conditions also classified as CID. This review included any type of experimental study which enrolled sub-jects with CID comparing OMT with any type of control procedure. The search was conducted on eight databases in January 2014 using a pragmatic literature search approach. Two independent re-viewers conducted study selection and data extraction for each study. The risk of bias was evaluated according to the Cochrane methods. Heterogeneity was assessed and meta-analysis performed where possible. 10 studies met the inclusion criteria for this review enrolling 386 subjects. The search identified six RCTs, one laboratory study, one cross-over pilot studies, one observation-al study and one case control pilot study. Results suggest a potential effect of osteopathic medicine on patients with medical pathologies associated with CID (in particular Chronic Obstructive Pul-monary Disease (COPD), Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Asthma and Peripheral Arterial Disease) com-pared to no treatment or sham therapy although data remain elusive. Moreover one study showed possible effects on arthritis rat model. Meta-analysis was performed for COPD studies only show-ing no effect of any type of OMT applied versus control. No major side effects were reported by those receiving OMT. The present systematic review showed inconsistent data on the effect of OMT in the treatment of medical conditions potentially associated with CID, however the OMT appears to be a safe approach. Further more robust trials are needed to determine the direction and magnitude of the effect of OMT and to generalize favorable results.PLoS ONE 10(3):e0121327. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0121327 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The quality of reporting clinical and preclinical research is not optimal. Reporting guidelines can help make reports of research more complete and transparent, thus increasing their value and making them more useful to all readers. Getting reporting guidelines into practice is complex and expensive, and involves several stakeholders, including prospective authors, peer reviewers, journal editors, guideline developers, and implementation scientists. Working together will help ensure their maximum uptake and penetration. We are all responsible for helping to ensure that all research is reported so completely that it is of value to everybody.BMC Medicine 12/2015; 13(1):9-12. DOI:10.1186/s12916-015-0284-9 · 7.28 Impact Factor