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Table 1 Thirty-six tasks created for the Q-sort survey

From: The most important tasks for peer reviewers evaluating a randomized controlled trial are not congruent with the tasks most often requested by journal editors

Etiquette objectives To read the journals’ recommendations to reviewers
To provide recommendations on publication (e.g., reject/revise/publish)
To evaluate all appendices when available
Rationale To evaluate the novelty of the study (i.e., does the trial add enough to what is already in the published literature)
To evaluate the importance of the study (i.e., usefulness for clinical practice)
Methods To evaluate if the control group is appropriate
To evaluate the risk of bias of the trial
To evaluate the adequacy of the selection of participants and clinical setting
To check if the intervention is described with enough details to allow replication
To evaluate the relevance of the primary outcome(s)
To evaluate the reliability and validity of the outcome measures
Trial registration To compare information recorded on a clinical trials register such as ClinicalTrials.gov and reported in the manuscript
To compare information recorded in the trial protocol when provided by the authors and reported in the manuscript
Reporting guidelines To check if the items requested by the CONSORT statement are adequately reported by authors
To check if items requested by the CONSORT extensions (e.g., cluster, non-pharmacologic treatments etc.) are adequately reported when appropriate
Ethic To check if the study reported ethics review board approval
Statistics To evaluate the adequacy of statistical analyses
To check the sample size calculation
Results To search for any inconsistencies or errors in the manuscript
To search for any attempt to distort the presentation or interpretation of results (e.g., data “beautification”, spin, selective reporting)
To check if all outcomes are adequately reported (results for each group, and the estimated effect size and its precision such as 95 % confidence interval)
To check if all adverse events are adequately reported (participant withdrawals due to harms, absolute risk per arm and per adverse event type, grade, and seriousness)
Discussion To evaluate if the discussion is consistent with the results
To check if the authors referenced all important studies
To check that limitations are adequately reported
To discuss the results in relation to other studies
Conclusion To determine whether the manuscript conclusion is consistent with the results
Fraud To search for plagiarism or imitation in the paper
To evaluate if the manuscript can be suspected of fraud
Figures tables To check if all figures and tables are consistent with the text
To evaluate whether figures and tables can be understood without having to refer the text
References To evaluate if authors respect the requested format for references
Presentation To evaluate the adequacy of the language (grammar, style, misspelling)
To evaluate clarity of presentation
Abstract To check if the authors reported all important outcomes and adverse events in the abstract
To evaluate if the abstract conclusion is consistent with the results