Objectives: Clear, transparent, and sufficiently detailed abstracts of journal articles and conference abstracts are important because readers often base their assessment of a trial on such information. There are concerns over the reliability and quality of trials published only in the proceedings of scientific meetings. This study aims to assess the reporting quality of abstracts of randomized trials published in Chinese medical conference abstracts.
Methods: Conference abstracts reporting randomized trials included in the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) in 2007 were identified. A revised checklist (based on the CONSORT extension for reporting randomized controlled trials in journal and conference abstracts) was used to assess the reporting quality of these conference abstracts.
Results: A total of 567 conference abstracts of randomized trials were identified. Some aspects were well reported, including 94 percent of authors contact details, 83 percent of trial interventions and 78 percent of control interventions, 62 percent of participant eligibility criteria, and 66 percent the number of participants randomized to each group. Other areas were very poorly reported: only 1 percent identified the study as randomized in the abstract title, 2 percent reported the trial design, and only 7 percent reported on blinding. No details of allocation concealment, trial registration, or funding were reported.
Conclusion: The information given for trials in conference proceedings in China is very poor, especially in some aspects of methodological quality, trial registration, and funding source. The quality of conference abstracts for trials should be improved to further facilitate understanding of their conduct and validity.