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PROSPERO registrations reach milestone

Posted on 4 November 2015

PROSPERO, the international prospective register of systematic reviews led by the University of York now holds over 10,000 published records.

Prospero map

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.”

Further information:

  • PROSPERO is a prospective register of systematic reviews that have a health related outcome www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/. It is produced and maintained by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination at the University of York www.york.ac.uk/crd and funded by the National Institute for Health Research www.nihr.ac.uk/
  • From October 2014 new protocols published in the Cochrane Library have been automatically loaded into PROSPERO to provide a single point of access to information about on-going systematic reviews. Cochrane reviews make up around 10% of the content of PROSPERO.
  • The top ten countries with most reviews registered are: England (2102), Australia (1068), USA (975), Canada (946), China (744), Brazil (722), Netherlands (338), Scotland (261), Germany (252), Denmark (244). World and UK maps can be provided.
  • The majority of registered reviews are of health related interventions but PROSPERO also includes diagnostic, prognostic and epidemiologic reviews, reviews of service delivery, and prevention.
  • The following organisations have stated their support for 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; Public Health Wales; Equator network; BioMed Central; BMJ; BMJ Open; PLoS; The Head and Neck Optical Diagnostics Society; German Agency for Quality in Medicine (AZQ);WHO Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research; Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry; Guidelines International Network; BiONorte (Health Sciences Basque Association).
  • Further information can be obtained from Alison Booth, Tel: 01904 321040 or Email: alison.booth@york.ac.uk

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