Accessibility statement

Improving systematic review transparency

Posted on 17 October 2008

CRD leads global initiative to improve the transparency and reporting of systematic reviews

A major global research initiative led by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York to register systematic review protocols was launched today by Health Minister Lord Howe.

PROSPERO is the first open access online facility to prospectively register systematic reviews of the effects of interventions used in health and social care from all around the world. Registration is web-based, completely free and open to all researchers planning to conduct a systematic review.

Systematic reviews are widely accepted as providing the best quality evidence to support decision making in health and social care for policy and practice. They are recognised and valued by decision-makers because when well conducted, they provide the most reliable estimates about the effects of health care interventions.

There have been growing concerns about and evidence of, systematic reviews being selective about what they report, and of unintended duplication of effort.

Professor Lesley Stewart, Director of the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, said: “PROSPERO was conceived to address these concerns. The register will increase transparency and guard against selective reporting; making it obvious if the research that is published differs from what was planned at the outset.”

“Also, by providing information about reviews in progress, PROSPERO should also reduce unplanned duplication and encourage greater information sharing and collaboration worldwide.”

“We have been delighted by the enthusiastic international response to the development of PROSPERO, and also that our own National Institute for Health Research is to make registration a requirement for all its grant holders undertaking relevant systematic reviews.”

Notes to editors:

  1. PROSPERO is a prospective register of systematic reviews of health and social care interventions produced and maintained by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination.
  2. The following organisations have stated their support of the principle of systematic review registration: National Institute for Health Research; Canadian Institutes of Health Research; International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment; The Campbell Collaboration; The Cochrane Collaboration; The Joanna Briggs Institute; The James Lind Alliance; National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence; NHS Evidence; Public Health Wales.
  3. The Centre for Reviews and Dissemination is part of the National Institute for Health Research and a department of the University of York. The Centre produces and disseminates systematic reviews and associated economic analyses that evaluate the effects of health and social care interventions, and the delivery and organisation of health care.
  4. Further information can be obtained from Paul Wilson, Tel: 01904 321040 or Email: