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Extending CONSORT to oral presentations not just abstracts

Posted by plosmedicine on 31 Mar 2009 at 00:25 GMT

Author: Sally Hopewell
Position: Senior Research Fellow
Institution: Centre for Statistics in Medicine, University of Oxford, UK.
Submitted Date: April 28, 2008
Published Date: April 29, 2008
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

Our recent extension to the CONSORT Statement, published in January 2008, provides a list of essential items that authors should consider when reporting the main results of a randomized trial in any journal or conference abstract. These recommendations will make it easier for authors of these abstracts to provide the detail and clarity needed by readers wishing to assess a trial’s validity and the applicability of its results.

We are grateful for the suggestion from Sydes that this CONSORT extension could also be applied to oral presentations at medical conferences, since these presentations may have more impact than the published abstract alone. Sydes also suggests that a completed CONSORT for Abstracts checklist be included as the final slide of each presentation. Indeed, many journals already provide similar recommendations for randomized trials reported in journal articles and require a completed CONSORT checklist to be submitted alongside the publication [1].

We agree mostly with Sydes’s suggestions and have consulted by e-mail with members of the wider CONSORT Group and people who contributed to the Delphi survey which provided the basis for this CONSORT extension. Of those who responded to this brief survey (n=47/74; 64% response rate), 83% agreed that the CONSORT for Abstracts reporting guidelines should also be applied to conference oral presentations (disagreed 4%; unsure 13%). The responses were much more mixed over whether a completed CONSORT for Abstracts checklist should be included as the final slide of each oral presentation (agreed 34%; disagreed 38%; unsure 28%) with concerns mainly to do with the limitations of time and information overload.

We will take account of these opinions when this CONSORT extension is updated but, in the meanwhile, we look forward to continued efforts to encourage medical conferences to endorse the recommendations and welcome the recent editorial by Chapple [2].


1. Hopewell S, Altman DG, Moher D, Schulz KF. Endorsement of the CONSORT Statement by high impact factor medical journals: a survey of journal editors and journal 'Instructions to Authors'. Trials 2008 9:20.

2. Chapple C. EIC Editorial – 27:4. Neurourol Urodyn 2008 27:263.

No competing interests declared.