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Systematic Reviews: Librarian Collaboration


To work with a librarian, please fill out the Systematic Review Request Form to make an appointment to discuss your project.


We offer two tiers of librarian involvement in systematic review teams.

Tier 1:

  • Consult on formation of review question
  • Aid in selection of databases and initial keywords
  • Provide suggestions for methodology and screening tools

Tier 2:

  • All elements in Tier 1
  • Determine if a systematic review has already been performed on the proposed topic
  • Write, translate, and carryout database searches
  • Deduplicate results
  • Deliver search results in a predetermined format and/or set up project for citation screening
  • Maintain document with numbers for the PRISMA diagram
  • Update the search as needed
  • Assist in writing the methods portion of the final manuscript

Coauthorship is requested for Tier 2

Working with a Librarian

Meeting with a librarian during the earliest stages of planning can help you develop and conduct the complex literature searches required for systematic reviews. The National Academy of Sciences Health and Medicine Division (formerly the Institute of Medicine) recommends that systematic review teams “work with a librarian or other information specialist trained in performing systematic reviews to plan the search strategy.” (Standard 3.1.1)

The average time it takes to design and complete a full search is two weeks. The exact length of time depends on the complexity of the search, types of databases searched, changes required, and length of time required to resolve questions.

Regarding Authorship

According to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, authorship should be based on the following criteria:

  • Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
  • Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
  • Final approval of the version to be published; AND
  • Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

The search strategies librarians design and implement are a substantial contribution to the design of the study, while the citation data acquired and organized is a substantial acquisition of data. The written methods regarding the design of the search, resources searched, and data retrieved fall under drafting the work. Finally, the librarian will stand behind their contributions to the manuscript.