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An Evaluation of Reporting Guidelines and Clinical Trial Registry Requirements Among Addiction Medicine Journals.

Context: Robust methodology and ethical reporting are paramount for quality scientific research, but recently, that quality in addiction research has been questioned. Avenues to improve such research quality include adherence to reporting guidelines and proper usage of clinical trial registries. Reporting guidelines and clinical trial registries have been shown to lead researchers to more ethical and transparent methodology.

Objectives: To investigate the reporting guideline and clinical trial registration policies of addiction research journals and identify areas of improvement.

Methods: We used Google Scholar Metrics' h-5 index to identify the top 20 addiction research journals. We then examined the instructions for authors from each journal to identify whether they required, recommended, or made no mention of trial registration and reporting guidelines, including the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT), Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE), Quality of Reporting of Meta-analyses (QUOROM), Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA), Standards for Reporting Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (STARD), Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE), Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments (ARRIVE), Case Reports (CARE), Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards (CHEERS), Standards for Reporting Qualitative Research (SRQR), Standards for Quality Improvement Reporting Excellence (SQUIRE), Standard Protocol Items: Recommendations for Interventional Trials (SPIRIT), Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research (COREQ), Transparent Reporting of a Multivariate Prediction Model for Individual Prognosis or Diagnosis (TRIPOD), Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Protocols (PRISMA-P), and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) guidelines. We performed the same analysis regarding requirements for clinical trial registration.

Results: Of the 20 journals included in this study, 10 journals (50%) did not require adherence to any reporting guidelines. Trial registration followed a similar trend; 15 journals (75%) did not mention any form of trial or systematic review registration, and was only recommended by only 1 journal (5%).

Conclusions: Among top addiction medicine journals, required adherence to reporting guidelines and clinical trial registry policies remains substandard. A step toward fulfilling the National Institute on Drug Abuses' call for improvement in transparency and reproducibility within addiction research should include all journals adopting a strict reporting guideline and clinical trial registry adherence policy.

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