Resource use during systematic review production varies widely: a scoping review

B Nussbaumer-Streit*, M Ellen, I Klerings, R Sfetcu, N Riva, M Mahmić-Kaknjo, G Poulentzas, P Martinez, E Baladia, L E Ziganshina, M E Marqués, L Aguilar, A P Kassianos, G Frampton, A G Silva, L Affengruber, R Spjker, J Thomas, R C Berg, M KontogianiM Sousa, C Kontogiorgis, G Gartlehner, Working group 3 in the EVBRES COST Action

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review

10 Citations (Web of Science)


OBJECTIVE: We aimed to map the resource use during systematic review (SR) production and reasons why steps of the SR production are resource intensive to discover where the largest gain in improving efficiency might be possible.

STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: We conducted a scoping review. An information specialist searched multiple databases (e.g., Ovid MEDLINE, Scopus) and implemented citation-based and grey literature searching. We employed dual and independent screenings of records at the title/abstract and full-text levels and data extraction.

RESULTS: We included 34 studies. Thirty-two reported on the resource use-mostly time; four described reasons why steps of the review process are resource intensive. Study selection, data extraction, and critical appraisal seem to be very resource intensive, while protocol development, literature search, or study retrieval take less time. Project management and administration required a large proportion of SR production time. Lack of experience, domain knowledge, use of collaborative and SR-tailored software, and good communication and management can be reasons why SR steps are resource intensive.

CONCLUSION: Resource use during SR production varies widely. Areas with the largest resource use are administration and project management, study selection, data extraction, and critical appraisal of studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-296
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Biomedical Research/standards
  • Data Collection/methods
  • Humans
  • Research Design
  • Research Report/standards
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic/methods
  • Costs
  • BIAS
  • RISK
  • Time
  • Personnel
  • Evidence synthesis
  • Efficient
  • Resources

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