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Jocelyn Cherry, Matthew Cheaveau, Philip J. Peacock, Andrew J. Lotery; How Well Do We Report Our Randomised Controlled Trials? A Study of Abstracts in High Impact Factor Ophthalmology Journals. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):6666.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To assess the reporting of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in high impact factor ophthalmology journals - do abstracts meet reporting criteria from the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) 2010 - Extension for Abstracts?
High impact factor ophthalmology journals were selected using the Journal Citation Reports Science Edition 2009. Starting with the journal with the highest 5-year impact factor, 25 abstracts were selected from each journal website. The search string ((randomised or randomized) and trial) was used. From 2011 Week 9 online availability, we worked backwards until 25 reports of original RCTs were included. Journals were excluded if 50 abstracts from the search string were reviewed with <5 RCTs found. Abstracts were excluded if they were another form of study design, or a prospective study following up groups that had been randomised in the past. The CONSORT abstract checklist was used to score each abstract out of 21. A score of 1 was given for item present and 0 for absent. Two academic clinicians independently scored the abstracts, and any discrepancies were reviewed by a third. Proportions of abstracts with different characteristics were calculated with 95% confidence intervals.
3 journals met exclusion criteria, 4 met inclusion criteria and had 25 abstracts scored. None of the 100 abstracts reviewed fulfilled all 21 CONSORT abstract criteria. The preliminary data shows a mean score of 10.1 (range 6 to 17) out of a maximum of 21. Only 17% (95% ci 10 to 26) of abstracts presented a result for the primary outcome for each group with an effect size, and a measure of precision.
Abstracts published in high impact ophthalmology journals do not fulfil the simple guidelines recommended for RCT reporting. Authors and journal editors need to ensure abstracts are produced to the same standard as full articles to ensure readers are presented with readable, informative and pertinent abstracts that make efficient use of their time.
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