A Web-based archive of systematic review data
Tufts Evidence-based Practice Center, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA 02111, USA
Systematic Reviews 2012, 1:15 doi:10.1186/2046-4053-1-15Published: 21 February 2012
Systematic reviews have become increasingly critical to informing healthcare policy; however, they remain a time-consuming and labor-intensive activity. The extraction of data from constituent studies comprises a significant portion of this effort, an activity which is often needlessly duplicated, such as when attempting to update a previously conducted review or in reviews of overlapping topics.
In order to address these inefficiencies, and to improve the speed and quality of healthcare policy- and decision-making, we have initiated the development of the Systematic Review Data Repository, an open collaborative Web-based repository of systematic review data. As envisioned, this resource would serve as both a central archive and data extraction tool, shared among and freely accessible to organizations producing systematic reviews worldwide. A suite of easy-to-use software tools with a Web frontend would enable researchers to seamlessly search for and incorporate previously deposited data into their own reviews, as well as contribute their own.
In developing this resource, we identified a number of technical and non-technical challenges, as well as devised a number of potential solutions, including proposals for systems and software tools to assure data quality, stratify and control user access effectively and flexibly accommodate all manner of study data, as well as means by which to govern and foster adoption of this new resource.
Herein we provide an account of the rationale and development of the Systematic Review Data Repository thus far, as well as outline its future trajectory.