The following is a summary of “Use of Reporting Guidelines in Rheumatology: A Cross-Sectional Study of Over 850 Manuscripts Published in 5 Major Rheumatology Journals,” published in the July 2023 issue of Rheumatology by Barajas-Ochoa et al.
This study aims to determine if sixteen of the Enhancing the Quality and Transparency of Health Research (EQUATOR) Network–related reporting guidelines were utilized in rheumatology publications. This was a cross-sectional analysis of research articles published in 2019 in five top-tier rheumatology journals. All articles were manually reviewed to determine whether the use of a reporting guideline was recommended and searched for the names and acronyms (e.g., CONSORT, STROBE) of 16 reporting guidelines.
To calculate the “advisable use rate,” the number of articles for which a guideline was applied was divided by the number of articles for which the guideline was recommended, utilizing descriptive statistics. The researchers evaluated 895 manuscripts published in five publications. A guideline was recommended for 693 (77%) of the articles. About 50 articles utilized reporting guidelines, representing 5.6% of all articles and 7.2% (95% CI 5-9) of those for which guidelines were recommended. Journals adhered to the recommended use rate limits of 0.03 to 0.10 for all guidelines, 0 to 0.26 for CONSORT, 0.01 to 0.07 for STROBE, 0 to 0.8 for Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA), and 0 to 0.14 for Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments (ARRIVE).
There were no discernible trends in the variables analyzed across the five journals. The limited use of reporting guidelines seems counterintuitive, given that guidelines are advocated by journals and are meant to assist authors in reporting relevant information. Uncertainty exists about whether this finding is attributable to problems with the guidelines’ dissemination, awareness, acceptance, or perceived utility.