#BMJOpen5years: 2011 article highlight

Uses and misuses of the STROBE statement


This week we’re celebrating our fifth anniversary by highlighting some of the articles that have gained us attention, along with some that demonstrate our unique approach. 

The use of reporting guidelines has always been central to BMJ Open, and we’re happy to see that one of the articles published in our very first edition, back in February 2011, is also one of our most highly cited.

Uses and misuses of the STROBE statement  has been cited more than 60 times in the Web of Science. By reviewing the literature, Bruno da Costa and colleagues highlight how correctly to use reporting guidelines and how the guidelines are often misused to assess methodological quality rather than the quality of the reporting.

So what might explain the misuse of the guidelines? According to da Costa et al.,

“The misuse of STROBE as a tool to assess methodological quality may be explained by the lack of validated and accepted tools for such assessments. As a consequence, authors who want to assess methodological quality of studies may turn to reporting guidelines.”

While the message is simple, it is also important, and we believe the article deserves its place as one of the journal’s highlights. It was also the first among many articles that we have published relating to medical publishing and peer review.

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