Library’s Systematic Review Service officially launches

Are you preparing for a “systematic review”? Systematic reviews aim to identify and synthesize all of the scholarly research – including both published and unpublished studies – on a particular topic. They are conducted in an unbiased, reproducible way to (1) provide evidence for practice and policy-making and (2) identify gaps in research. If you’re not sure that a systematic review is the right type of literature review for you or you would like to learn more about systematic reviews, see our Systematic Review Portal.

The UT Southwestern Health Sciences Digital Library and Learning Center offers a systematic review service to faculty, post-doctoral and graduate students, and research staff. For an overview of the systematic review process, the Library offers training on the following topics:

  • Overview of the process
  • Systematic review standards (IOM, PRISMA, Cochrane)
  • EndNote
  • Characteristics of a systematic review
  • Development of the research question
  • Potential databases for searching
  • Strategy development
  • Grey literature

Librarians are experts in the field of research and provide in-class instruction on systematic review methodology. To request an instruction session or workshop, fill out the Ask Us Form and indicate your interest in systematic reviews.

Beginning FY 2017, there is a fee for a librarian’s contribution to a systematic review. Librarians are included as authors on systematic review publications based on their valuable contributions to the review, including:

  • Identifying relevant databases and other sources for searching the scholarly literature, including grey literature.
  • Designing and implementing complex, database-specific search strategies.
  • Using reference management software and other tools for managing the study gathering and selection process.
  • Creating search alerts to ensure that new studies are found while the review is in progress.
  • Guidance on the systematic review process and protocol development.
  • Translating the protocol across multiple databases.
  • Conducting and documenting the search in multiple databases.
  • Providing protocol and results from all databases
  • Finding and evaluating systematic reviews that have already been published.
  • Delivering citations in preferred citation management software (e.g., EndNote).
  • Providing basic guidance on screening process (overview of Covidence or DistillerSR, if selected for purchase).
  • Writing methods section.

According to Finding What Works in Health Care: Standards for Systematic Reviews, which was published in 2011 by the Institute of Medicine, the systematic review team should “[work] with a librarian or other information specialist trained in performing systematic reviews to plan the search strategy” (p. 266). Your UTSW librarians are happy to partner with you as you begin this considerable process. If you have any questions about this service, please email us at