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Using reporting guidelines in sports and exercise medicine research: why and how to raise the bar?
  1. David Blanco1,
  2. Aïda Cadellans-Arróniz1,
  3. Márcio Vinícius Fagundes Donadio1,2,
  4. Melissa K Sharp3,
  5. Martí Casals4,5,6,
  6. Pascal Edouard7,8
  1. 1Department of Physiotherapy, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
  2. 2Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil
  3. 3Department of Public Health and Epidemiology, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dublin, Ireland
  4. 4National Institute of Physical Education of Catalonia (INEFC), University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  5. 5Sport and Physical Activity Studies Centre (CEEAF), Faculty of Medicine, University of Vic-Central University of Catalonia (UVic-UCC), Barcelona, Spain
  6. 6Sport Performance Analysis Research Group, University of VicCentral University of Catalonia (UVic-UCC), Barcelona, Spain
  7. 7Inter-university Laboratory of Human Movement Biology (EA 7424), Université Jean Monnet, Lyon 1, Université Savoie Mont-Blanc, Saint-Etienne, France
  8. 8Department of Clinical and Exercise Physiology, Sports Medicine Unit, University Hospital of Saint-Etienne, Faculty of Medicine, Saint-Etienne, France
  1. Correspondence to Dr David Blanco, Physiotherapy Department, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain; dblanco{at}

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Have you already heard about the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT), Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA), or Consensus on Exercise Reporting Template (CERT)? Are you using these reporting guidelines (RGs)? And if so, how? These, and other guidelines, should be used when submitting research manuscripts to most of journals in the field of sports and exercise medicine. But why are they so important?

This editorial has two goals: (1) to illustrate how reporting quality differs from methodological quality and why complete reporting is key to maximise the clinical impact of research and (2) to be a call to action for journal editors, peer reviewers and authors to effectively use RGs to improve reporting according to the needs of the sports and exercise medicine community.

Reporting quality versus methodological quality

Let us start by looking at two concepts that are often confused or used interchangeably: reporting quality (or completeness of reporting) and methodological quality. While the first refers to how well the methods and findings are reported in a manuscript, the latter addresses how well the research has been designed and conducted.1 These two concepts are heavily linked. Complete reporting allows readers to ascertain the methodological quality of research, and therefore, know to what extent the results may be biased (table 1). When there is clinical uncertainty, clinicians and researchers in the sports and exercise medicine field look to the published evidence base for answers. Complete reporting allows for the creation of stronger recommendations for healthcare, and …

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  • Contributors DB and PE conceptualised this work. DB wrote the original draft. AC-A, MVFD, MKS, MC and PE reviewed and edited the manuscript. All authors understand that they are accountable for all aspects of the work and ensure the accuracy or integrity of this manuscript. DB and PE are the guarantors.

  • Funding DB was funded by the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (Spain) (PID2019-104830RB-I00/ DOI (AEI): 10.13039/501100011033).

  • Competing interests MC and PE are associate editors for the British Journal of Sports Medicine. PE is an associate editor for the BMJ Open Sports and Exercise Medicine.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Equity, diversity and inclusion statement The research team consists of five senior researchers (two women and three men) from a variety of disciplines (methodology, statistics, sports medicine, sports physiotherapy), and who work at three countries in Europe (Spain, Ireland, and France).