Endorsement of reporting guidelines and study registration by endocrine and internal medicine journals: meta-epidemiological study

BMJ Open. 2019 Sep 26;9(9):e031259. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-031259.


Objectives: To improve the trustworthiness of evidence, studies should be prospectively registered and research reports should adhere to existing standards. We aimed to systematically assess the degree to which endocrinology and internal medicine journals endorse study registration and reporting standards for randomised controlled trials (RCTs), systematic reviews (SRs) and observational studies (ObS). Additionally, we evaluated characteristics that predict endorsement of reporting or registration mechanism by these journals.

Design: Meta-epidemiological study.

Setting: Journals included in the 'Endocrinology and Metabolism' and 'General and Internal Medicine' 2017 Journal Citation Reports.

Participants: Journals with an impact factor of ≥1.0, focused on clinical medicine, and those who publish RCTs, SRs and ObS were included.

Primary outcomes: Requirement of adherence to reporting guideline and study registration as determined from the journals' author instructions.

Results: Of the 170 (82 endocrinology and 88 internal medicine) eligible journals, endorsing of reporting standards was the highest for RCTs, with 35 (43%) of endocrine journals and 55 (63%) of internal medicine journals followed by SRs, with 21 (26%) and 48 (55%), respectively, and lastly, by ObS with 41 (50%) of endocrine journals and 21 (24%) of internal medicine journals. In 78 (46%) journals RCTs were required to be registered and published in adherence to the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials statement. Only 11 (6%) journals required registration of SRs. Internal medicine journals were more likely to endorse reporting guidelines than endocrine journals except for Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology. No other journal characteristic proved to be an independent predictor of reporting standard endorsement for RCTs besides trial registration.

Conclusion: Our results highlight that study registration requirement and reporting guideline endorsement are suboptimal in internal medicine and endocrine journals. This malpractice may be further enhanced since endorsement does not imply enforcement, impairing the practice of evidence-based medicine.

Keywords: endocrinology; endorsement; internal medicine; registration; reporting guidelines.

MeSH terms

  • Editorial Policies*
  • Endocrinology*
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine*
  • Periodicals as Topic*
  • Publishing
  • Records
  • Research Report*