It can be frustrating when you are trying to critically appraise an article, only to find that key information is missing. There have been a number of initiatives recently to try and improve the quality of published data. These include:
CONSORT - standards for reporting RCTs
SPIRIT - standards for designing RCTs
STROBE - standards for epidemiological studies
STARD - diagnostic accuracy testing
STREGA - standards for genetic association studies
PRISMA - standards for meta-analyses and systematic reviews
In September 2004, an international committee of medical journal editors agreed that they would only consider trials for publication if they had been registered before the enrolment of the first participant. This stops researchers from doing retrospective trawls of their data and publishing findings from small sub-group analyses.