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BACKGROUND: When research evidence is limited, inconsistent, or absent, healthcare decisions and policies need to be based on consensus among interested stakeholders. In these processes, the knowledge, experience, and expertise of health professionals, researchers, policymakers, and the public are systematically collected and synthesised to reach agreed clinical recommendations and/or priorities. However, despite the influence of consensus exercises, the methods used to achieve agreement are often poorly reported. The ACCORD (ACcurate COnsensus Reporting Document) guideline was developed to help report any consensus methods used in biomedical research, regardless of the health field, techniques used, or application. This explanatory document facilitates the use of the ACCORD checklist. METHODS AND FINDINGS: This paper was built collaboratively based on classic and contemporary literature on consensus methods and publications reporting their use. For each ACCORD checklist item, this explanation and elaboration document unpacks the pieces of information that should be reported and provides a rationale on why it is essential to describe them in detail. Furthermore, this document offers a glossary of terms used in consensus exercises to clarify the meaning of common terms used across consensus methods, to promote uniformity, and to support understanding for consumers who read consensus statements, position statements, or clinical practice guidelines (CPGs). The items are followed by examples of reporting items from the ACCORD guideline, in text, tables, and figures. CONCLUSIONS: The ACCORD materials-including the reporting guideline and this explanation and elaboration document-can be used by anyone reporting a consensus exercise used in the context of health research. As a reporting guideline, ACCORD helps researchers to be transparent about the materials, resources (both human and financial), and procedures used in their investigations so readers can judge the trustworthiness and applicability of their results/recommendations.

Original publication




Journal article


Plos med

Publication Date