What is the impact of reporting guidelines on Public Health journals in Europe? The case of STROBE, CONSORT and PRISMA

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Abstract

Background

The aim was to evaluate the use of PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses), CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) and STROBE (Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology) methods in reviews, clinical trials and observational studies, respectively, which were published in European journals within the field of Public Health (PH).

Methods

Papers published between 2010 and 2013 in seven PH journals were evaluated. The presence of the words PRISMA, STROBE and CONSORT was considered in the search criteria.

Results

In total, 2355 of 3456 retrieved articles were included: 1.5% appeared to follow the guidelines. The boundaries within which the criteria were applied are 0–100% for CONSORT, 0–0.6% for STROBE and 0–37% for PRISMA.

Conclusions

A strong heterogeneity in the application of guideline statements was observed. A common agreement among journals regarding research-reporting methodologies could improve the quality of PH research publishing.

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