Reporting guidelines for human microbiome research: the STORMS checklist

Mirzayi C, Renson A, Zohra F, Elsafoury S, Geistlinger L, Kasselman LJ, Eckenrode K, van de Wijgert J, Loughman A, Marques FZ, MacIntyre DA, Arumugam M, Azhar R, Beghini F, Bergstrom K, Bhatt A, Bisanz JE, Braun J, Bravo HC, Buck GA, Bushman F, Casero D, Clarke G, Collado MC, Cotter PD, Cryan JF, Demmer RT, Devkota S, Elinav E, Escobar JS, Fettweis J, Finn RD, Fodor AA, Forslund S, Franke A, Furlanello C, Gilbert J, Grice E, Haibe-Kains B, Handley S, Herd P, Holmes S, Jacobs JP, Karstens L, Knight R, Knights D, Koren O, Kwon DS, Langille M, Lindsay B, McGovern D, McHardy AC, McWeeney S, Mueller NT, Nezi L, Olm M, Palm N, Pasolli E, Raes J, Redinbo MR, Ruhlemann M, Balfour Sartor R, Schloss PD, Schriml L, Segal E, Shardell M, Sharpton T, Smirnova E, Sokol H, Sonnenburg JL, Srinivasan S, Thingholm LB, Turnbaugh PJ, Upadhyay V, Walls RL, Wilmes P, Yamada T, Zeller G, Zhang M, Zhao N, Zhao L, Bao W, Culhane A, Devanarayan V, Dopazo J, Fan X, Fischer M, Jones W, Kusko R, Mason CE, Mercer TR, Sansone SA, Scherer A, Shi L, Thakkar S, Tong W, Wolfinger R, Hunter C, Segata N, Huttenhower C, Dowd JB, Jones HE, Waldron L, Nat Med 27 (11) :1885-1892 (2021).


The particularly interdisciplinary nature of human microbiome research makes the organization and reporting of results spanning epidemiology, biology, bioinformatics, translational medicine and statistics a challenge. Commonly used reporting guidelines for observational or genetic epidemiology studies lack key features specific to microbiome studies. Therefore, a multidisciplinary group of microbiome epidemiology researchers adapted guidelines for observational and genetic studies to culture-independent human microbiome studies, and also developed new reporting elements for laboratory, bioinformatics and statistical analyses tailored to microbiome studies. The resulting tool, called ‘Strengthening The Organization and Reporting of Microbiome Studies’ (STORMS), is composed of a 17-item checklist organized into six sections that correspond to the typical sections of a scientific publication, presented as an editable table for inclusion in supplementary materials. The STORMS checklist provides guidance for concise and complete reporting of microbiome studies that will facilitate manuscript preparation, peer review, and reader comprehension of publications and comparative analysis of published results.