CONSORT in China: past development and future direction

Trials. 2015 Jun 1;16:243. doi: 10.1186/s13063-015-0769-z.


The Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) Statement was published in 1996, and first introduced to China in 2001. Although CONSORT has been widely accepted in high-quality international journals, we still need to have more investigation on how many Chinese journals have adopted the CONSORT Statement, and whether the quality of reporting has improved. A systematic search of the "Instructions to authors" in all Chinese medical journals in China Academic Journals (CAJ) Full-text Database was conducted up to February 2012 and only 7 journals officially listed the requirements of the CONSORT Statement. The research articles about randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010 from journals which had specifically adopted the CONSORT Statement, and from 30 top journals based on the Chinese Science Citation Index (CSCI) 2011 as the control group, were identified. The quality of both cohorts of articles was assessed using the revised CONSORT Checklist and Jadad scale. A total of 1221 Chinese medical journals was identified. Only seven journals stated clearly in the "Instructions to authors" that authors should adopt the CONSORT requirement in the clinical trial paper. None of these journals is among the control group in the CSCI 2011. In the selected years, a total of 171 articles from 7 journals which had adopted CONSORT and 232 articles in the control were identified as including RCT trials. The average scores according to the revised CONSORT Checklist were 29.47 for the CONSORT-adopting journals and 25.57 for the control group; while the average scores based on the Jadad scale were 2.53 for CONSORT-adopting journals and 1.97 for the control group. Few journals among Chinese medical journals have adopted the CONSORT Statement. The overall quality of RCT reports in the 7 journals which have adopted CONSORT was better than those in the top 30 journals which have not adopted CONSORT. The quality of RCT reports in Chinese journals needs further improvement, and the CONSORT Statement could be a very helpful guideline.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bibliometrics
  • Checklist
  • China
  • Consensus
  • Forecasting
  • Guidelines as Topic / standards*
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Periodicals as Topic / history
  • Periodicals as Topic / standards*
  • Periodicals as Topic / trends
  • Quality Control
  • Quality Improvement / standards
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / history
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / standards*
  • Research Design / standards*
  • Research Design / trends
  • Research Report / history
  • Research Report / standards*
  • Research Report / trends
  • Time Factors