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Library Knowledge Services (North)

Lit search peer review with a buddy – way more fun than it sounds!

I have been interested in peer review of literature searches for quite some time. At the International Clinical Librarian Conference in 2017 I was intrigued by a conference poster which described risk of bias in published systematic reviews due to avoidable failures in searching. At the same event I attended an excellent workshop on assessing search strategies, where more fascinating, amusing and frankly shocking details of published search strategies were aired. Kate Misso and Janine Ross from Kleijnen took us through using the ROBIS tool to judge risk of bias from common inadequacies found in reported search strategies in systematic reviews. Then we used the PRESS Evidence Based Checklist to evaluate a search strategy. Using what I’d learnt I facilitated a peer review programme at Doncaster & Bassetlaw where once a quarter we each did the same search and then looked our approaches to spot differences, similarities and discuss what worked and what didn’t etc. It was useful, if more than a little artificial, but often it was too hard to justify spending the time on a “fake” search when there were plenty of the real thing coming in thick and fast!…

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