Quality of Literature Searches Published in Leading Neurosurgical Journals: A Review of Reviews

O'Donohoe, Tom J., Bridson, Tahnee L., Shafik, Christopher G., Wynne, David, Dhillon, Rana S., and Tee, Jin W. (2021) Quality of Literature Searches Published in Leading Neurosurgical Journals: A Review of Reviews. Neurosurgery, 88 (5). pp. 891-899.

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View at Publisher Website: https://doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyaa573


BACKGROUND: There is mounting evidence that the search strategies upon which systematic reviews (SRs) are based frequently contain errors are incompletely reported or insensitive.

OBJECTIVE: To appraise the quality of search strategies in the 10 leading specialty neurosurgical journals and identify factors associated with superior searches.

METHODS: This research-on-research study systematically surveyed SRs published in the 10 leading neurosurgical journals between 01/10/2017 and 31/10/2019. All SRs were eligible for assessment using a predefined coding manual that was adapted from the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA), a measurement tool to assess systematic reviews (AMSTAR), and Cochrane Collaboration guidelines. The PubMed interface was used to search the MEDLINE database, which was supplemented by individual journal searches. Descriptive statistics were utilized to identify factors associated with improved search strategies.

RESULTS: A total of 633 articles were included and contained a median of 19.00 (2.00-1654.00) studies. Less than half (45.97%) of included search strategies were considered to be reproducible. Aggregated reporting score was positively associated with in-text reference to reporting guideline adherence (τb = 0.156, P <. 01). The number of articles retrieved by a search (τb = 0.11, P <. 01) was also associated with the reporting of a reproducible search strategy.

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that the search strategies used in neurosurgical SRs require improvement. In addition to increasing awareness of reporting standards, we propose that this be achieved by the incorporation of PRISMA and other guidelines into article submission and peer-review processes. This may lead to the conduct of more informative SRs, which may result in improved clinician decision-making and patient outcomes.

Item ID: 70427
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1524-4040
Keywords: Neurosurgery, Reporting quality, Research on research, Search strategies, Systematic review
Copyright Information: © Congress of Neurological Surgeons 2021. All rights reserved.
Date Deposited: 05 May 2022 03:33
Downloads: Total: 2
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