When is a randomised trial really randomised?
As the report found 3137 apparently randomized controlled trials. However, “Interviews with the authors of 2235 of these reports revealed that only 207 studies adhered to accepted methodology for randomization and could on those grounds be deemed authentic randomized controlled trials”. The authors further note that “Most authors of these articles misunderstood the concept of randomization but allocated patients optionally by authors”.
This paper reinforces the issue, not obviously confined to Chinese journals, that in order for papers to be understood, authors must adhere to reporting guidelines, especially CONSORT for clinical trials; in addition further education on the use of appropriate methodology is required.