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Inconsistent views among systematic review authors toward publishing protocols as peer-reviewed articles: an international survey

  • Tanja Rombey
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author. Institute for Research in Operative Medicine, Faculty of Health, School of Medicine, Witten/Herdecke University, Ostmerheimer Str. 200, 51109 Cologne, Germany. Tel.: +49 221 989 5742; fax.: +49 2302 926 44448.
    Affiliations
    Institute for Research in Operative Medicine, Faculty of Health, School of Medicine, Witten/Herdecke University, Cologne, Germany
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  • Livia Puljak
    Affiliations
    Center for Evidence-Based Medicine and Health Care, Catholic University of Croatia, Zagreb, Croatia
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  • Katharina Allers
    Affiliations
    Department of Health Services Research, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Oldenburg, Germany
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  • Juan Ruano
    Affiliations
    Department of Dermatology, Hospital Universitario Reina Sofia, Cordoba, Spain

    Immune-Mediated Inflammatory Skin Diseases Group, Instituto Maimonides de Investigacion Biomedica de Cordoba (IMIBIC)/Hospital Universitario Reina Sofía/Universidad de Cordoba, Cordoba, Spain
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  • Dawid Pieper
    Affiliations
    Institute for Research in Operative Medicine, Faculty of Health, School of Medicine, Witten/Herdecke University, Cologne, Germany
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      Abstract

      Objectives

      This study aimed to explore views of authors of systematic reviews (SRs) registered in the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO) toward publishing SR protocols as peer-reviewed articles.

      Study Design and Setting

      Contact persons of all PROSPERO records for non-Cochrane SRs registered in 2018 (N = 12,531) were invited to participate in an anonymous 5-minute online survey that was administered through SurveyMonkey. The main question addressed SR authors’ views toward publishing SR protocols as peer-reviewed articles. Data were analyzed descriptively.

      Results

      In total, 4,223 (33.7%) of 12,531 invitees responded, of which 3,739 (88.5%) completed the survey. Almost half of the international respondents had published or planned to publish a protocol for the SR described in their PROSPERO record as a peer-reviewed article (1,811/4,054; 44.7%). Most respondents agreed that publishing a protocol in a peer-reviewed journal increases SR quality as reviewers get external feedback from peer reviewers (2,899/3,739; 77.5%) but at the same time agreed that it is not necessary if the SR is registered in PROSPERO (2,399/3,739; 64.2%).

      Conclusion

      SR authors seem to have inconsistent views toward publishing protocols as peer-reviewed articles, and many seem to consider registration in PROSPERO (without peer review) sufficient. Hence, awareness about the benefits of publishing protocols as a peer-reviewed article in addition to registration in PROSPERO should be raised.

      Keywords

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