Assessment of Rehabilitation Journal Requirements for the Use of Reporting Guidelines and Clinical Trial Registration

Eli Paul, Annes Elfar, Caleb Peters, Caleb Smith, Danya Nees, Griffin Hughes, Matt Vassar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To assess reporting guideline and clinical trial registration requirements in rehabilitation journals. Design: We examined rehabilitation journals with 5-year impact factors exceeding 1.00 from the 2021 Scopus CiteScore tool, alongside the 28 journals included in the 2014 rehabilitation and disability quality improvement initiative. Journals outside the traditional rehabilitation scope were excluded. Setting: A publicly-funded academic health center in the United States. Participants and Interventions: N/A. Main Outcome Measure(s): The proportion of journals requiring/recommending reporting guideline use and clinical trial registration. Results: Over 90% (57/63) of journals required/recommended clinical trial reporting guidelines, while 68% (39/57) specified guideline requirements for systematic review/meta-analysis protocols. The 2014 collaborative initiative journals demonstrated higher rates of requiring/recommending reporting guidelines for clinical trials (24/26; 92.3%), systematic reviews/meta-analyses (23/26; 88.5%), observational studies in epidemiology (22/25; 88%), and diagnostic accuracy studies (20/24; 83.3%). Conversely, the 2021 Scopus CiteScore journals displayed higher rates for the remaining study designs. Overall, 52/63 (82.5%) journals required/recommended trial registration. Trial registration policies were comparable, with a slight advantage favoring the 2021 Scopus CiteScore journals. Conclusion: Rehabilitation journals variably promoted reporting guideline use and clinical trial registration. Common study designs like clinical trials, observational studies in epidemiology, and diagnostic accuracy studies demonstrated robust requirement/recommendation rates, while less common designs like economic evaluations and animal research had suboptimal rates. Journals can enhance reporting guideline use and trial registration by directing authors to the EQUATOR Network, requiring adherence to registration and reporting standards, and clarifying language in author instructions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Evidence-based practice
  • Observational study
  • Physical and rehabilitation medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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