Improvements are needed in reporting of accuracy studies for diagnostic tests used for detection of finfish pathogens

Ian Gardner, Timothy Burnley, Charles Caraguel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Indices of test accuracy, such as diagnostic sensitivity and specificity, are important considerations in test selection for a defined purpose (e.g., screening or confirmation) and affect the interpretation of test results. Many biomedical journals recommend that authors clearly and transparently report test accuracy studies following the Standards for Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy (STARD) guidelines ( This allows readers to evaluate overall study validity and assess potential bias in diagnostic sensitivity and specificity estimates. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the reporting quality of studies evaluating test accuracy for finfish diseases using the 25 items in the STARD checklist. Based on a database search, 11 studies that included estimates of diagnostic accuracy were identified for independent evaluation by three reviewers. For each study, STARD checklist items were scored as "yes," "no," or "not applicable." Only 10 of the 25 items were consistently reported in most (>80%) papers, and reporting of the other items was highly variable (mostly between 30% and 60%). Three items ("number, training, and expertise of readers and testers"; "time interval between index tests and reference standard"; and "handling of indeterminate results, missing data, and outliers of the index tests") were reported in less than 10% of papers. Two items ("time interval between index tests and reference standard" and "adverse effects from testing") were considered minimally relevant to fish health because test samples usually are collected postmortem. Modification of STARD to fit finfish studies should increase use by authors and thereby improve the overall reporting quality regardless of how the study was designed. Furthermore, the use of STARD may lead to the improved design of future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-209
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Aquatic Animal Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 17 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Medicine(all)


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