To study whether specific recommendations aiming to improve publication practice were included in author instructions of pediatric journals.
We identified 69 journals in the subject category “pediatrics” of the Journal Citation Report 2007 that publish original research articles. From the journals' online author instructions, we extracted information regarding endorsement of the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts (URM) of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and of 5 major reporting guidelines such as the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) statement, disclosure of conflicts of interest, and trial registration. Two investigators collected data independently.
The URM were mentioned in author instructions of 38 of the 69 journals (55%). Endorsement of reporting guidelines was low: CONSORT was referred to most frequently (14 journals; 20%); each of the other 4 reporting guidelines was mentioned in less than 10% of author instructions. Fifty-four journals (78%) explicitly required authors to disclose conflicts of interest, and 16 (23%) either recommended or required trial registration. The odds of endorsing the URM increased by 2.25 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.17-4.34) per additional impact factor point. Similarly, the odds increased by 2.32 (95% CI, 0.95-5.70) for requiring disclosure of conflicts of interest and by 3.66 (95% CI, 1.74-7.71) for requiring trial registration.
Many pediatric journals do not include recommendations that aim to improve publication practice in their author instructions. About one-fifth of journals do not require authors to disclose conflicts of interest on manuscript submission and more than three-quarters do not require/recommend trial registration.