Assessment of research quality in major infertility journals

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Abstract text
Background:
Systematic reviews (SR) and randomised controlled trials (RCT) are at the top of the pyramid in quality research. But little is known about the number and quality of SRs and RCTs published in peer-reviewed journals.
Objectives:
To evaluate the quality of research of published studies in journals that cover fertility issues.
Methods:
We selected the five journals with highest impact factor that cover fertility. A search strategy was performed in Pubmed, identifying the meta-analysis and randomised controlled trials published in 2006-2010. We analyzed the potential number and proportion of SRs with meta-analysis and RCTs over all the retrieved studies. From potential RCTs published in 2010, we screened the real RCTs, performed data extraction and assessed the methodological quality by pairs of independent reviewers. Discrepancies were solved by consensus.
Results:
During the analysed period, among all the articles from the top-five fertility journals, 7.1% and 1.4% were RCTs and SRs respectively (table 1). Fertility and Sterility has been the journal with more potential SRs and Human Reproduction Update is the only one with trend to increase the number of potential SRs. Except from Human Reproduction Update, all the rest of the journals published a proportion of SR below 2%. In 2010, 152 out of the 169 retrieved studies were confirmed RCT. Around 74% explicitly mention not having conflict of interest and their quality assessment is shown in figure 1.
Conclusions:
This is the first study about methodological quality of research in fertility journals. More than 90% of all the publications in the top-five journals are neither SRs nor RCTs. In the future, researchers and journals should make more effort in publishing higher quality studies, and readers should identify those sources with better quality studies to obtain the best information for their own practice.
Authors
Glujovsky D1, Boggino C2, Coscia A2, Riestra B2, Comande D3, Sueldo C2, Ciapponi A3
1 CEGYR and Instituto de Efectividad Clínica y Sanitaria / Institute for Clinical Effectiveness and Health Policy (IECS), Argentina
2 CEGYR, Argentina
3 Instituto de Efectividad Clínica y Sanitaria / Institute for Clinical Effectiveness and Health Policy (IECS), Argentina
Presenting author and contact person
Presenting author: 
Demian Glujovsky
Contact person Affiliation Country
Demian Glujovsky (Contact this person) Instituto de Efectividad Clínica y Sanitaria / Institute for Clinical Effectiveness and Health Policy Argentina
Agustín Ciapponi (Contact this person) Argentine Cochrane Centre IECS (Institute for Clinical Effectiveness and Health Policy) Argentina
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