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Scoping review on interventions to improve adherence to reporting guidelines in health research
  1. David Blanco1,
  2. Doug Altman2,
  3. David Moher3,
  4. Isabelle Boutron4,
  5. Jamie J Kirkham5,
  6. Erik Cobo1
  1. 1 Statistics and Operations Research, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
  2. 2 Nuffield Department ofOrthopaedics, Rheumatologyand Musculoskeletal Sciences,Centre for Statistics in Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  3. 3 Centre for Journalology, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada
  4. 4 Centre d\'épidémiologie Clinique, Université Paris Descartes, Paris, France
  5. 5 Biostatistics, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, Merseyside, UK
  1. Correspondence to David Blanco;{at}, david.blanco19{at}


Objectives The goal of this study is to identify, analyse and classify interventions to improve adherence to reporting guidelines in order to obtain a wide picture of how the problem of enhancing the completeness of reporting of biomedical literature has been tackled so far.

Design Scoping review.

Search strategy We searched the MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane Library databases and conducted a grey literature search for (1) studies evaluating interventions to improve adherence to reporting guidelines in health research and (2) other types of references describing interventions that have been performed or suggested but never evaluated. The characteristics and effect of the evaluated interventions were analysed. Moreover, we explored the rationale of the interventions identified and determined the existing gaps in research on the evaluation of interventions to improve adherence to reporting guidelines.

Results 109 references containing 31 interventions (11 evaluated) were included. These were grouped into five categories: (1) training on the use of reporting guidelines, (2) improving understanding, (3) encouraging adherence, (4) checking adherence and providing feedback, and (5) involvement of experts. Additionally, we identified lack of evaluated interventions (1) on training on the use of reporting guidelines and improving their understanding, (2) at early stages of research and (3) after the final acceptance of the manuscript.

Conclusions This scoping review identified a wide range of strategies to improve adherence to reporting guidelines that can be taken by different stakeholders. Additional research is needed to assess the effectiveness of many of these interventions.

  • scoping review
  • quality of reporting
  • completeness of reporting
  • reporting guidelines
  • knowledge synthesis
  • adherence

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  • Contributors All authors contributed to conceptualising and designing the study. DB, EC and JJK independently performed screening. DB and JJK independently performed data extraction. DB performed initial data synthesis and EC, IB, DM, DA and JJK refined it. DB drafted the manuscript. EC, IB, DM, DA and JJK made major revisions. Due to the strong involvement of JJK and EC at several different stages of the study, all authors agreed to consider them joint senior authors of the scoping review, although EC was the only senior author of the protocol. All authors read and approved the final manuscript, which was completed in April 2018. DA passed away in June 2018 and therefore could not approve the revised manuscript (November 2018).

  • Funding This scoping review belongs to the ESR 14 research project from the Methods in Research on Research (MiRoR) project (, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 676207. DM is supported through a University Research Chair (University of Ottawa).

  • Competing interests DA and DM are directors of the UK and Canadian EQUATOR Centres, respectively. IB is deputy director of French EQUATOR Centre.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The datasets used and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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