Krizia Tuand, Magdalena Jans, Kristel Paque, Sylvette Vanderstraeten, Mark Verbrugge, and Thomas Vandendriessche


KU Leuven Libraries – 2Bergen – Leercentrum Désiré Collen, Leuven, Belgium



Evidence-based practice (EBP) has seen a serious increase in popularity during the past decade. Well known in many health care disciplines, one of its main features is the integration of hard scientific evidence (information retrieval (IR)), clinical expertise and patient needs and preferences for decision-making. However, EBP isn’t limited to health care only. Also within other scientific disciplines, this approach becomes more and more important. Since IR is one of the keystones in the integrative approach underlying EBP, information specialists can play a significant role. However, the support information specialists offer, is not always known or researchers decide not to include these specialists in the process. Unfortunately, the quality of evidence-based products is often questionable, underlining the role librarians can play.

KU Leuven Libraries – 2Bergen offers research support (IR, EBP, Research Data Management and Open Access) to students and researchers of the Group Biomedical Sciences and the Group Science, Engineering & Technology, as well as to medical staff of the University Hospital. When it comes to IR, within the Group Biomedical Sciences, the library already plays an important role. A well-established service for systematic reviews (SRs) is present and courses about IR are integrated within the curricula of bachelor, master and PhD-students. In addition, in-depth sessions are available for researchers and medical staff. Recently, KU Leuven Libraries – 2Bergen underwent a new organization and function design. This event makes a good evaluation point of the actual services of the library. Here, we would like to share how we evaluated our IR service and how we intend to introduce this as well within the Group Science, Engineering & Technology.


In order to evaluate the quality of SRs written by KU Leuven staff and to understand why researchers include library staff in the process of writing a SR, a search in Pubmed, Embase, Web of Science (Core Collection) and Cochrane Library was done to map all SRs written by KU Leuven staff (first or last author) between 2016 and 2018. The search strategies of these SRs were scored (PRESS checklist) and authors were surveyed about the library IR service (why they did (not) involve an information specialist).

Results and discussion

Between 2016 and 2018, based on title and abstract screening, 266 SRs were published by KU Leuven affiliated authors. Our IR service at the library was consulted for 43 of these SRs. At the moment, the search strategies are being scored and the authors are being surveyed. We will provide a complete overview of this evaluation and discuss how we adapted our IR service to the needs of KU Leuven staff and students. We will also discuss what steps were taken to create a better IR awareness, train students in IR and stimulate academic staff to include the library in the SR process. Finally, we will report how we will unfold an IR service towards students and staff of the Group Science, Engineering & Technology.


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