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Simone Priester-Vink, Chantal den Haan


Medical Library, Department of Research and Epidemiology, OLVG hospital, Amsterdam, the Netherlands



Systematic review support is often not available in non-academic hospitals. Inspired by the EAHIL 2018 presentation by Jane Falconer, the authors, both information specialists at OLVG hospital, assessed all systematic reviews published in 2017 or 2018 with the first or last author affiliated to OLVG hospital, using the PRESS guideline criteria. In these systematic reviews the search strategies used were not only reported poorly or not at all, a majority of reviews did not include subject headings, text word searching, limits or filters or used these incorrectly. This motivated the authors to develop a systematic review service (SRS). The aim of this poster is to give a practical example of setting up an SRS and describe its development and application in a non-academic hospital.


To determine the characteristics for the SRS, the authors searched for literature on systematic review support by information specialists or librarians in PubMed until August 2019 and checked reference lists of relevant articles.

Additionally, the authors participated in a course about the role of the information specialist in systematic reviews, organised by the Dutch Association for Biomedical Information Professionals. Subsequently, the three information specialists at OLVG organised group sessions to discuss and decide upon the following topics: specific roles for the information specialist within systematic reviews, co-authorship, database selection, grey literature, keeping a process log, what information to offer to researchers, protocol registration and collaboration with epidemiologists.


Based on the review of the literature and course content, it was decided to aim for collaboration with researchers during the whole systematic review process, by being part of the research team. Collaboration with researchers was identified as advice about and assistance with the research question, search strategies, use of databases and grey literature, deduplication of the search results, as well as reporting of the search methods and search strategies for the manuscript. By being part of the research team, co-authorship on these systematic reviews is expected. Conditions for collaboration were published on OLVG (closed circuit) intranet, along with guidance for researchers. To further professionalise the SRS, bimonthly intervision sessions for the information specialists will be held. This newly designed SRS was started in September 2019.


To the authors’ knowledge, OLVG hospital is the first non-academic hospital in the Netherlands to collaborate with researchers and epidemiologists by offering a formalised systematic review service. It is expected that the new SRS will lead to improvement of both quality and proper reporting of search strategies. Therefore, future efforts will include monitoring time spent by the information specialists on systematic reviews and evaluation of the quality of systematic reviews published by OLVG affiliated authors in 2020, using the PRESS guideline. In the future an expansion of the available resources such as software and even staff might be required.


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