Endorsement for improving the quality of reports on randomized controlled trials of traditional medicine journals in Korea: a systematic review.

PMID 25373427


The aim of this study was to assess the endorsement of reporting guidelines in Korean traditional medicine (TM) journals by reviewing their instructions to authors. We examined the instructions to authors in all of the TM journals published in Korea to assess the appropriate use of reporting guidelines for research studies. The randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published after 2010 in journals that endorsed reporting guidelines were obtained. The reporting quality was assessed using the following guidelines: the 38-item Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) statement for non-pharmacological trials (NPT); the 17-item Standards for Reporting Interventions in Clinical Trials of Acupuncture (STRICTA) statement, instead of the 5-item CONSORT for acupuncture trials; and the 22-item CONSORT extensions for herbal medicine trials. The overall item score was calculated and expressed as a proportion.One journal that endorsed reporting guidelines was identified. Twenty-nine RCTs published in this journal after 2010 met the selection criteria. General editorial policies such as those of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) were endorsed by 15 journals. In each of the CONSORT-NPT articles, 21.6 to 56.8% of the items were reported, with an average of 11.3 items (29.7%) being reported. In the 24 RCTs (24/29, 82.8%) appraised using the STRICTA items, an average of 10.6 items (62.5%) were addressed, with a range of 41.2 to 100%. For the herbal intervention reporting, 17 items (77.27%) were reported. In the RCT studies before and after the endorsement of CONSORT and STRICTA guidelines by each journal, all of the STRICTA items had significant improvement, whereas the CONSORT-NPT items improved without statistical significance.The endorsement of reporting guidelines is limited in the TM journals in Korea. Authors should adhere to the reporting guidelines, and editorial departments should refer authors to the various reporting guidelines to improve the quality of their articles.

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