Chinese authors do need CONSORT: reporting quality assessment for five leading Chinese medical journals

Lin Xu, Jing Li, Mingming Zhang, Changlin Ai, Ling Wang
Contemporary Clinical Trials 2008, 29 (5): 727-31

OBJECTIVE: Only a few Chinese medical journals have recommended CONSORT in their "Instruction for authors or Guide for authors". This study aims to evaluate the reporting quality of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published in the five leading Chinese medical journals indexed by MEDLINE.

METHODS: We identified RCTs published from 2004 to January 2007 in five leading Chinese medical journals by searching three important Chinese databases systematically, namely CNKI (China National Knowledge Infrastructure/Chinese Academic Journals full text Database), VIP (a full text database of China) and CBM disc (China Biomedicine Database Disc) and assessed the quality of each RCT by using the Consolidated Standards for Reporting of Trials (CONSORT) and the 5-point Jadad scale.

RESULTS: One hundred and forty two RCTs were included. Based on the items in the revised CONSORT statement, 130 (91.55%) of the 142 RCTs mentioned "randomization" in the title or abstract, but only 38 (26.76%) RCTs described the method to generate the random sequence; only 6 RCTs had adequate allocation concealment; 24 (17.61%) RCTs mentioned "masking", but only 7 described the process of masking. Three out of 40 items were reported clearly in all included trials, while five items were not mentioned at all. The quality of RCTs was low as assessed by the Jadad scale and 22 RCTs were high-quality research (>/=3 points).

CONCLUSIONS: The reporting quality of RCTs published in the five leading Chinese medical journals is low. Chinese journals should adopt the CONSORT statement to improve the reporting quality of Chinese randomized controlled trials.

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