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Effect of using reporting guidelines during peer review on quality of final manuscripts submitted to a biomedical journal: masked randomised trial

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d6783 (Published 22 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d6783

Re: Effect of using reporting guidelines during peer review on quality of final manuscripts submitted to a biomedical journal: masked randomised trial

Dear Editor,

Thank you for this informative publication. Data suggesting significant improvement in publications quality using additional measures such as reporting guidelines is certainly of great importance.

Authors' point that researchers do not adhere to reporting guidelines caught my particular attention. One of the potential reasons for this situation suggested in the article was lack of knowledge about the reporting guidelines at an early stages of research and publication write up. From my personal point of view I can confirm that this certainly can be the case to some extend.

As a medical student I might have limited experience in research and publishing. Nevertheless, I was not aware of reporting guidelines until very recently when I was submitting my review paper for publication in BMJ and was asked to submit PRISMA protocol as a part of it. Despite publishing reviews in the past I never encountered it before.

What is more, the PRISMA protocol made me realise that there were significant aspects of a review missing in my work. Only by going through the guideline I was able to make by work more systematic and improve its quality. If I have known PRISMA before I started work on the review it would certainly be of even better quality.

One interesting observation here is that I happened not to encounter any information about reporting guidelines despite comprehensive teaching at my medical school, contact with my supervisors, and presence at medical conferences.

Main conclusion drawn from this experience is that more can be done in order to improve knowledge about reporting guidelines among scientific and medical community hence hopefully improve quality of peer reviewed publications per se.

Competing interests: No competing interests

23 November 2011
Radoslaw A Rippel
medical student
UCL
Gower Street