Systematic Reviews encompasses all aspects of the design, conduct and reporting of systematic reviews. The journal aims to publish high quality systematic review products including systematic review protocols, systematic reviews related to a very broad definition of health, rapid reviews, updates of already completed systematic reviews, and methods research related to the science of systematic reviews, such as decision modeling. The journal also aims to ensure that the results of all well-conducted systematic reviews are published, regardless of their outcome.
- David Moher, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
- Paul G Shekelle, RAND Corporation
- Lesley A Stewart, CRD, University of York
Methods of a multi-faceted rapid knowledge synthesis project to inform the implementation of a new health service model
In some circumstances it is imperative that knowledge is gathered and assessed in a time-dependent manner, particularly for policy makers. Such was the case to inform the implementation of a new health service in Nova Scotia, Canada, the methods of which are described and evaluated.
Vigorous systematic review methods include searching multiple bibliographic databases for identifying studies for inclusion, though this leads to duplicate citations. The Systematic Review Assistant-Deduplication Module (SRA-DM) was tested and validated; results indicate it is a reliable deduplication program.
With an ever-increasing number of studies which could be relevant for inclusion in systematic reviews, text mining may hold the answer for facilitating the screening process; including, prioritising items for screening, as a ‘second screener’ or to eliminate studies automatically.
Prospectively publishing systematic review protocols enables the appraisal of review methods, along with identification of changes to the methods or selective reporting of the outcomes in the completed review. Here, the authors describe the development of the PRISMA-P, the PRISMA extension for transparently and robustly reporting systematic review protocols.
When obtaining raw data directly from authors is not possible, reconstruction techniques can be used to extract data from survival curves. This innovative methodology describes the use of vector-based formats rendered via PostScript to extract data, which limits observer variation seen with other methods.
Dr. David Moher is a senior scientist at the Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, and Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa. Dr. Moher has been involved in systematic reviews for more than 20 years and has made contributions to the conduct and reporting of systematic reviews. Dr. Moher is associated with many journals, is a member of the advisory board for the International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication, and a member of the EQUATOR Network's steering group.
In addition to currently serving as a Staff Physician at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Dr. Shekelle has served as the Director of the Southern California Evidence-based Practice Center for the RAND Corporation since 1997. He is also a Professor of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Medicine. He is widely recognized in the field of guidelines, quality measurement, and evidence-based medicine. Dr. Shekelle has extensive experience in the health care arena and was previously the methodologist for the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (now the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality [AHRQ]) Low-Back Guidelines Panel, and he has participated in a number of other guideline development activities. He is currently the chair of the Clinical Guidelines Committee of the American College of Physicians.
Professor Lesley Stewart is Director of the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) at the University of York and is a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Senior Investigator. Lesley has been involved in evidence synthesis in healthcare since the late 1980's, previously running the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit meta-analysis research programme. Together with colleagues in Cambridge and Oxford, she helped establish the methodology and framework for individual patient data (IPD) reviews and was a founding member of the Cochrane Collaboration. Her research interests include the avoidance of bias and development of IPD methods and approaches to systematic review. Recently, she has instigated the development of PROSPERO an international register for the prospective registration of systematic reviews.