Studies involving Monte Carlo simulations are common in both diagnostic and therapy medical physics research, as well as other fields of basic and applied science. As with all experimental studies, the conditions and parameters used for Monte Carlo simulations impact their scope, validity, limitations, and generalizability. Unfortunately, many published peer-reviewed articles involving Monte Carlo simulations do not provide the level of detail needed for the reader to be able to properly assess the quality of the simulations. The American Association of Physicists in Medicine Task Group #268 developed guidelines to improve reporting of Monte Carlo studies in medical physics research. By following these guidelines, manuscripts submitted for peer-review will include a level of relevant detail that will increase the transparency, the ability to reproduce results, and the overall scientific value of these studies. The guidelines include a checklist of the items that should be included in the Methods, Results, and Discussion sections of manuscripts submitted for peer-review. These guidelines do not attempt to replace the journal reviewer, but rather to be a tool during the writing and review process. Given the varied nature of Monte Carlo studies, it is up to the authors and the reviewers to use this checklist appropriately, being conscious of how the different items apply to each particular scenario. It is envisioned that this list will be useful both for authors and for reviewers, to help ensure the adequate description of Monte Carlo studies in the medical physics literature.
Keywords: Monte Carlo simulation; diagnosis; guidelines; publication; radiation transport; radiotherapy.
© 2017 American Association of Physicists in Medicine.