Family Medicine Journals' Adherence to Reporting Guidelines: A Systematic Review

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Reporting guidelines have been developed as a method of mitigating inadequate reporting quality. Reporting guidelines such as the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) for randomized control trials have shown to improve the completeness of reporting in CONSORT-endorsing journals Additionally, requiring the registration of clinical trials and systematic reviews have similarly demonstrated a reduced risk of overall bias in comparison to trials and reviews that were not registered. To our knowledge, the rate of endorsement and requirement of the two aforementioned tools in family medicine journals has not been ascertained. Thus, our objective was to determine the frequencies of recommendation or requirement of reporting guidelines for common study types within Family Medicine journals. In addition, we also sought to assess the rate of recommendation or requirement to register clinical trials and systematic reviews. We conducted a systematic review of family medicine journals’ policies and guidelines for authors in order to examine guideline use and adherence. Using the 2021 Scopus CiteScore tool, we identified 44 active, peer-reviewed journals in the “Family Practice” subcategory as of December 2022. Prior to data collection, email correspondence to the Editors-in-Chief was sent once a week for three weeks, to determine if the journal had any unaccepted article types. In a masked, duplicate fashion, statements regarding the requirement/recommendation of reporting guidelines for popular study designs were extracted from each journal’s “instructions to authors” webpage. Statements regarding clinical trial registration were obtained in a similar manner. Our search identified 44 journals that were included for data collection. The most commonly recommended guidelines were CONSORT (29/44, 65%), PRISMA (26/44, 59%), and STROBE (26/44, 59%). The most commonly required guidelines were PRISMA (7/44, 16%) and CONSORT (6/44, 14%). The least required guidelines were SPIRIT (1/44, 2.4%), SRQR (1/44, 2.5%), ARRIVE (1/44, 2.5%), and CHEERS (1/44, 2.7%). PRISMA and STROBE guidelines were more likely to be recommended or required in journals that mentioned the EQUATOR network (p < 0.001). With respect to study registration, twenty-nine out of the forty-four (66%) journals either recommended (4/44, 9%) or required (25/44, 57%) clinical trial registration. Although CONSORT, PRISMA, and STROBE guidelines were recommended or required by more than half of our included journals, a majority of the journals did not mention many of the other reporting guidelines. Explicit endorsement or requirement of study registration, as well as appropriate reporting guidelines, is necessary to improve the quality of research published in family medicine journals. Therefore, we recommend journal editors make an effort to impose tighter instructions to prospective authors by recommending/requiring these tools.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 17 Feb 2023
EventOklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Research Week 2023 - Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, 1111 W. 17th street, Tulsa, United States
Duration: 13 Feb 202317 Feb 2023


ConferenceOklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Research Week 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • Family Medicine
  • General Practice
  • reporting guidelines
  • systematic review


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