Accessibility statement

PROSPERO: Looking good one year on

Posted on 24 February 2012

The first open access online facility to prospectively register systematic reviews reports a successful first year with researchers from 27 countries around the world registering reviews.

Developed by CRD in collaboration with an advisory group and following an international consultation, PROSPERO was launched on 22 February 2011. This global initiative seeks to reduce unplanned duplication of reviews, encourage transparency, and by enabling comparison of key protocol elements (registered before the main review gets underway) against final publications, help safeguard against reporting bias. By providing information about reviews in progress, PROSPERO should also encourage greater information sharing and collaboration worldwide. 

PROSPERO is web-based, completely free of charge, and open to all researchers planning to conduct a systematic review. During the initial phase of development, researchers and commissioners of systematic reviews have been encouraged to register their reviews. As a result the database already contains key information from protocols of over 350 systematic reviews being undertaken in 27 countries around the world.

The NIHR have made PROSPERO registration a requirement of systematic review funding across all its programmes. A similar policy is recommended by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; and CRD is working to establish similar mechanisms with other commissioners and funders internationally, many of whom have already given their support for the principle of systematic review registration.

We are delighted to announce that BMJ and BMJ Open have joined PLoS in supporting the principle of protocol registration and the aims of PROSPERO. In addition, the new BMC journal Systematic Reviews launched with a featured series of articles supporting systematic review registration and PROSPERO including a commentary on the NIHR position by Dame Sally Davies.

An evaluation of the utility of the registration process is being undertaken to inform the next phase of development. 

As CRD builds on PROSPERO’s successful first year, we look forward to reaping not only the direct benefits of facilitation of efficient use of funding, timely updating, and safeguarding against bias, but also the indirect benefits accruing from nudges to improve the quality of systematic reviews and the decisions that rely upon them.

Details can be found on the website and for further information please contact Alison Booth