Posted on 4 November 2015
Systematic reviews aim to identify, evaluate and summarise available research evidence on a specific research question. They are widely accepted as providing the best quality evidence to support decision making in health and social care for policy and practice. Decision-makers recognize that well conducted systematic reviews provide the most reliable estimates of the effects of health care interventions.
PROSPERO is helping reduce unplanned duplication and encouraging greater information sharing and collaboration worldwide. Registration increases transparency and helps safeguard against selective reporting; allowing readers to compare published research with what was planned at the outset.
This major global research initiative is led by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) at the University of York, and is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Launched in February 2011, PROSPERO is the only open access prospective register of systematic reviews. Registration is web-based, open to all researchers planning to conduct a systematic review, free to register and free to search.
Initially focused on reviews of interventions, the scope for inclusion in PROSPERO now covers protocol details for systematic reviews relevant to health and social care, welfare, public health, education, crime, justice, and international development, where there is a health related outcome.
Professor Lesley Stewart, Director of CRD said:
“CRD is proud to have led on the development and implementation of this unique register. We have been delighted by the enthusiastic response from the international research community. We also appreciate the support of many major publishers and journal editors in requesting registration details for systematic reviews submitted for publication. Reaching 10,000 registrations in less than five years with submissions from over 92 countries is a great achievement.”
“Having reached this important milestone, we are excited to be working with an international collaboration on the inclusion of protocols of systematic reviews of pre-clinical studies as part of the drive to reduce waste and promote high standards in health research.”
Professor Dame Sally C. Davies FRS FMedsci, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser, Department of Health, said:
“Reaching over 10,000 registrations on PROSPERO is a great achievement. Through the National Institute for Health Research we are proud to be leading the world on transparency and making sure the best quality evidence is available to avoid duplicate reviews.”
“By promoting transparency, NIHR has already been able to avoid commissioning duplicate reviews.”