The process of "mapping" is increasingly being used to predict health utilities, for application within health economic evaluations, using data on other indicators or measures of health. Guidance for the reporting of mapping studies is currently lacking. The overall objective of this research was to develop a checklist of essential items, which authors should consider when reporting mapping studies. The MAPS (MApping onto Preference-based measures reporting Standards) statement is a checklist, which aims to promote complete and transparent reporting by researchers. This paper provides a detailed explanation and elaboration of the items contained within the MAPS statement. In the absence of previously published reporting checklists or reporting guidance documents, a de novo list of reporting items and accompanying explanations was created. A two-round, modified Delphi survey, with representatives from academia, consultancy, health technology assessment agencies and the biomedical journal editorial community, was used to identify a list of essential reporting items from this larger list. From the initial de novo list of 29 candidate items, a set of 23 essential reporting items was developed. The items are presented numerically and categorised within six sections, namely, (i) title and abstract, (ii) introduction, (iii) methods, (iv) results, (v) discussion and (vi) other. For each item, we summarise the recommendation, illustrate it using an exemplar of good reporting practice identified from the published literature, and provide a detailed explanation to accompany the recommendation. It is anticipated that the MAPS statement will promote clarity, transparency and completeness of reporting of mapping studies. It is targeted at researchers developing mapping algorithms, peer reviewers and editors involved in the manuscript review process for mapping studies, and the funders of the research. The MAPS working group plans to assess the need for an update of the reporting checklist in 5 years' time.
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