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Bandolier has commented on the sources of bias that have been found in clinical trials due to lack of randomisation or blinding (see Bandolier 17 ). In 1994 two groups independently published proposals for requirements for reporting randomised trials [1, 2]. These groups have got together, and have produced a unified statement [3], which was summarised in a BMJ editorial by Doug Altman [4]. This is the Consolidation of the Standards of Reporting Trials, or CONSORT statement, of which much, rightly, has been made.

What is most important is that the major medical journals including the BMJ, Lancet and JAMA are going to require authors of clinical trials to conform to these reporting guidelines from January 1 1997.

This is not the only initiative to improve reporting of clinical science. The two top clinical biochemistry journals, Clinical Chemistry in the US and Annals of Clinical Biochemistry in the UK will, also from January, begin asking authors to conform to standards of reporting of diagnostic tests, featured in Bandolier 26 .

These are important changes that will help us feel confident about trials we read.


  1. Standards of reporting Trials Group. A proposal for structured reporting of randomized controlled trials. Journal of the American Medical Association 1994 272: 1926-31.
  2. Working Group on Recommendations for Reporting of Clinical Trials in the Biomedical Literature. Call for comments on a proposal to improve reporting of clinical trials in the biomedical literature: a position paper. Annals of Internal medicine 1994 121: 894-5.
  3. C Begg, M Cho, S Eastwood et al. Improving the quality of reporting of randomized controlled trials: the CONSORT statement. Journal of the American Medical Association 1996 276: 637-9.
  4. D Altman. Better reporting of randomised controlled trials: the CONSORT statement. British Medical Journal 1996 313: 570-1.

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