Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Christmas 2021: Get Lucky

Biased Outcome reporting Guidelines for Underwhelming Studies (BOGUS) statement and checklist

BMJ 2021; 375 doi: (Published 10 December 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;375:e067350
  1. Greta R Bauer, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics1 2
  1. 1Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2Western Centre for Public Health and Family Medicine, London, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to G Bauer gbauer{at}


Most biomedical research is flawed. While existing reporting guidelines (eg, STROBE, CONSORT, STARD) highlight the strengths of already strong studies, few resources exist to highlight the “strengths” of weak studies. The Biased Outcome reporting Guidelines for Underwhelming Studies (BOGUS) initiative fills a real gap in the multitude of existing guidelines. Representing a vast effort undertaken by a single individual with multiple opinions over seven days of productive pandemic procrastination, the guidelines are a first for “precision reporting” of underwhelming studies, and underscore ways of reporting underdeveloped methods and underachieving efforts. These guidelines will allow authors to better underemphasise limitations, underestimate bias, and undervalue their readers without underselling their work.


That most published research findings are wrong is not only a published argument, but one frequently cited and tweeted.1 To remedy this, more than 400 different sets of research reporting guidelines have been created and compiled through the Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research (EQUATOR) network in an effort to improve reporting, and thus peer review and evaluation of validity of research findings.2 More than 100 additional guidelines are under development.3 So many guidelines exist that there are now guidelines on how to produce …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription