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

Edward Mills, Ping Wu, Joel Gagnier, Diane Heels-Ansdell, Victor M. Montori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

61 Scopus citations


Background: We aimed to determine if specialist journals implement specific Consolidated Standards for Reporting Trials (CONSORT) recommendations to the same extent as general medical journals. Methods: 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. Results: 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. Conclusion: General medical and specialist journals that endorse CONSORT do not enforce reporting issues consistently, with specialty journals lagging behind general medical journals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)662-667
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2005



  • General medical journals
  • Reporting
  • Specialist journals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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