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J Clin Epidemiol. 2005 Jul;58(7):662-7.

An analysis of general medical and specialist journals that endorse CONSORT found that reporting was not enforced consistently.

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Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, HSC-2C12, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, 1200 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario L8N 3Z5, Canada.



We aimed to determine if specialist journals implement specific Consolidated Standards for Reporting Trials (CONSORT) recommendations to the same extent as general medical journals.


Analysis of random controlled trials (RCTs) in five general medical journals (n=100) and 10 specialist journals (n=100), all endorsing CONSORT. We evaluated the likelihood of reporting important methodologic criteria. Analyses controlled for the nested effect of journal within each journal type.


General medical journals published, on average, more CONSORT items per RCT than specialist journals (7.9 [SD 1.8] vs. 6.5 [SD 2.2] out of 11 possible items, P=.02). When compared with specialist journals, RCTs in general medical journals published a participant flow diagram more frequently (83 vs. 42%, odds ratio [OR] 6.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.4-12.9) and more likely to report the method of randomization (78 vs. 55%, OR 2.9, 95% CI 1.5-5.3) and allocation concealment (48 vs. 26%, OR 2.6, 95% CI 1.4-4.7); they were less likely to publish RCTs reporting adverse events (58 vs. 78%, OR 0.3, 95% CI 0.2-0.7). Both page length and impact factor were weakly associated with number of CONSORT items reported.


General medical and specialist journals that endorse CONSORT do not enforce reporting issues consistently, with specialty journals lagging behind general medical journals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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