Appraisal of: "Korevaar DA, Cohen JF, Hooft L, Bossuyt PMM. (2015). Literature survey of high-impact journals revealed reporting weaknesses in abstracts of diagnostic accuracy studies. J Clin Epidemiol. 68(6): 708-715."

Short description: 

This study presents the results of an evaluation to determine the “informativeness” (i.e., reporting of methods used, reference test/standard used, balanced reporting of results) of abstracts for diagnostic accuracy studies published in 12 high-impact journals in 2012.

Of interest to information retrieval practices, specifically the use of diagnostic accuracy filters, the study found that:

  • 50% (51/103) of articles in the sample identified the study as a diagnostic accuracy study in the title;
  • 100% (103/103) of article abstracts identified the index test;
  • Of the 93% (96/103) of abstracts that reported a diagnostic accuracy estimate, 65% (67/103) were sensitivity and/or specificity estimates; 19% (20/103) reported the negative and/or positive predictive value. 
Limitations stated by the author(s): 
  • Sample of studies was limited to high-impact journals and may have produced an overestimate of the number of items reported in study abstracts. The findings may not be generalisable to lower-impact journals.
  • This is an exploratory analysis: the authors did not calculate the sample size required to power this study, therefore results may not be generalizable.
Limitations stated by the reviewer(s): 
In addition to the self-identified limitations of the sample, this study used a diagnostic filter published in 2000 (Deville et al.) to create the sample. Research, including this study, has consistently found weak reporting of study design and results of diagnostic accuracy studies, therefore using a diagnostic filter to create the sample may have resulted in missing relevant studies.
Study Type: 
Single study
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