Room: Exhibit Hall | Forum 3
Purpose: To develop a checklist of what information should be included in articles making use of Monte Carlo simulations, thereby increasing its overall scientific value.
Methods: The AAPM formed a TG of researchers with extensive experience in Monte Carlo simulations in both diagnostic and therapy medical physics. By seeking input from other experts as well, the group first identified the information required to allow a reader to understand and establish the validity of the Monte Carlo study. Then the amount of detail required was discussed. Thereafter a checklist was developed of items considered necessary and reasonable to expect to find in a manuscript. A template for an optional table was also developed to allow a concise but complete description of the methods used in tabular form. The checklist was circulated to a larger international group of experts in Monte Carlo simulations. They were asked for their group's feedback and whether they would use the checklist.
Results: The checklist includes 20 specific items under headings Title, Methods, Results, and Discussion. Items vary from the very simple (e.g., explicitly mention Monte Carlo in the title) to the more extensive (e.g., describing the simulation geometry). The appropriate level of detail was suggested. From all scientists consulted, very positive feedback was received regarding the need for such guidance, the items included in the document, and its perceived ease-of-use.
Conclusion: This checklist is meant as a guide to good practice and not a set of hard and fast rules. Hopefully these guidelines will improve the description of Monte Carlo studies published in medical physics literature. As well as potentially providing a reference for authors and journal reviewers, the guidelines should prove useful for researchers entering the field and preparing their first publication or thesis. The RECORDS guidelines are open access at http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mp.12702.