05 December 2016
Danish Researchers Contribute to New International Reporting Guidelines Now Published in Five Journals
Over the last two years 17 researchers from four continents have worked on developing the STROBE-Vet statement, which is an extension of STROBE (Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology). These statements address reporting requirements for observational studies. STROBE-Vet is needed because many aspects of study planning, data collection and analysis are unique to studies that are performed in animal populations related to health, production, welfare, and food safety.
It was becoming clear to the scientists that too many published studies were not appropriately reported. Important details were often left out or not illustrated in a transparent manner. Suboptimal reporting hampers the impact of the performed research, even for appropriate and well-performed studies, and is a waste of resources spent on research. The guidelines are expected to ensure clear writing and comprehensive reporting to better translate future scientific results to decision-makers, and for improved use in teaching and research.
The guideline and recommendation entitled "Methods and Processes of Developing the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology – Veterinary (STROBE-Vet) Statement" is encouraged by several journal editors within the field and has so far been published in:
- Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
- Journal of Food Protection
- Journal Preventive Veterinary Medicine
- Journal of Swine Health and Production
- Journal of Zoonoses and Public Health
Background Reporting of observational studies in veterinary research presents challenges that often are not addressed in published reporting guidelines.
Objective To develop an extension of the STROBE (Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology) statement that addresses unique reporting requirements for observational studies in veterinary medicine related to health, production, welfare, and food safety.
Design Consensus meeting of experts.
Setting Mississauga, Canada.
Participants Seventeen experts from North America, Europe, and Australia.
Methods Experts completed a pre-meeting survey about whether items in the STROBE statement should be modified or added to address unique issues related to observational studies in animal species with health, production, welfare, or food safety outcomes. During the meeting, each STROBE item was discussed to determine whether or not rewording was recommended and whether additions were warranted. Anonymous voting was used to determine consensus.
Results Six items required no modifications or additions. Modifications or additions were made to the STROBE items 1 (title and abstract), 3 (objectives), 5 (setting), 6 (participants), 7 (variables), 8 (data sources/measurement), 9 (bias), 10 (study size), 12 (statistical methods), 13 (participants), 14 (descriptive data), 15 (outcome data), 16 (main results), 17 (other analyses), 19 (limitations), and 22 (funding).
Conclusion The methods and processes used were similar to those used for other extensions of the STROBE statement. The use of this STROBE statement extension should improve reporting of observational studies in veterinary research by recognizing unique features of observational studies involving food-producing and companion animals, products of animal origin, aquaculture, and wildlife.
The STROBE-Vet Group