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Am J Emerg Med. 2013 Feb;31(2):297-301. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2012.07.026. Epub 2012 Oct 4.

Quality of publications in emergency medicine.

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, SAMU 31, Purpan Hospital, Toulouse University Hospital, Toulouse, France.



The objective of this study is to describe emergency medicine (EM) publications in terms of methodology, approval by institutional review board, method of consent, external validity, and setting (eg, prehospital or emergency department).


The 12 top-ranked emergency journals were selected. We manually reviewed the last 30 original articles in each EM journal, to represent more than 2 months of publications for all EM journals (range, 2-6 months). Only clinical original articles on human subjects were included. To ensure accurate data transcription, each article was read at least twice by 2 different reviewers and graded by written criteria using an extraction standard chart.


Over the articles reviewed, 330 were analyzed. One hundred eighty-nine (57.3%) were prospective studies; 29 (8.8%) were randomized studies. Two hundred twenty-six studies (68.5%) mentioned an institutional review board approval or a waiver of authorization, and an informed consent was not mentioned in 227 (68.8%) of studies. Fifty-nine (17.9%) were conducted in a prehospital setting. Two hundred thirty-eight (72.1%) of these studies were at single-center institutions; the Unite States contributed 158 (47.9%) of the total publications.


This study describes publications in the field of EM. Randomized studies represent 9% of publications, most studies are cross-sectional, and more than half have a retrospective design. We found that, in one-third of the studies, an institutional review board review was not mentioned and informed consent was not specified in two-thirds of the studies. Emergency medicine research volume, quality, and grants activity must increase in order for EM to progress within academic medicine.

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