Many high-impact journals endorse the CONSORT Statement but the extent of misreporting and whether it is possible to publish correction letters are not known.

Goldacre et al. (1) reviewed all trials reported in 5 major academic journals (New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, Journal of the American Medical Association, British Medical Journal, and Annals of Internal Medicine) published during a 6 week period with regard to the consistency between published reports and published study protocols or registry entries. Correction letters describing the discrepancies were submitted to the journals for all misreported trials.

Of the 67 reviewed trials 76% (journal range 25% – 96%) reported the primary endpoint correctly. Secondary endpoints were reported correctly for 55% (journal range 31% – 72%) of the trials. 58 correction letters were submitted and 23 published.

The authors conclude that readers are likely to be misled by the discrepancies between the journals’ endorsement of the CONSORT Statement and the actual reporting of trials.

Reference

  1. Goldacre B, Drysdale H, Milosevic I, Slade E, Hartley P, Marston C, Powell-Smith A, Heneghan C, Mahtani KR. COMPare: a prospective cohort study correcting and monitoring 58 misreported trials in real time. Trials 2019;20:118.