Librarian co-authors correlated with higher quality reported search strategies in general internal medicine systematic reviews

Published:February 05, 2015DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclinepi.2014.11.025

      Abstract

      Objectives

      To determine whether librarian and information specialist authorship was associated with better reported systematic review (SR) search quality.

      Study Design and Setting

      SRs from high-impact general internal medicine journals were reviewed for search quality characteristics and reporting quality by independent reviewers using three instruments, including a checklist of Institute of Medicine Recommended Standards for the Search Process and a scored modification of the Peer Review of Electronic Search Strategies instrument.

      Results

      The level of librarian and information specialist participation was significantly associated with search reproducibility from reported search strategies (Χ2 = 23.5; P < 0.0001). Librarian co-authored SRs had significantly higher odds of meeting 8 of 13 analyzed search standards than those with no librarian participation and six more than those with mentioned librarian participation. One-way ANOVA showed that differences in total search quality scores between all three groups were statistically significant (F2,267 = 10.1233; P < 0.0001).

      Conclusion

      Problems remain with SR search quality and reporting. SRs with librarian or information specialist co-authors are correlated with significantly higher quality reported search strategies. To minimize bias in SRs, authors and editors could encourage librarian engagement in SRs including authorship as a potential way to help improve documentation of the search strategy.

      Keywords

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