Purpose of review The nature of palliative care practice, especially the reliance on referrals and differing models of service delivery, poses unique challenges for the creation and interpretation of an evidence base, frequently limiting the applicability of data to patient care. Here we discuss two core aspects of clinical trials reporting in palliative medicine: proposed standards governing the collection and reporting of data, and rules governing authorship and publication. Recent findings Existing literature often inadequately describes the characteristics of patients, caregivers, clinicians, systems, and interventions included in studies, thereby limiting the utility of results. Summary A generalizability framework is needed to ensure a robust evidence base that advances practice. Lessons learned through the development of research cooperative groups in palliative care reinforce the importance of an authorship protocol for large trials and working groups. �� 2012 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams &Wilkins.