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Archived Comments for: Rapid Review Summit: an overview and initiation of a research agenda

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  1. Rapid reviews and living systematic reviews seem a natural combination

    Robert Badgett, Kansas University School of Medicine - Wichita

    30 November 2015

    Last year, Grewal and Kallen proposed living systematic reviews to narrow the evidence-practice gap (PMID 24558353). A separate thread has been the development of rapid reviews as summarized in the Summit. Intersecting these two threads addresses one of the concerns of the Summit: scientific validity of rapid reviews. A living implementation of a rapid review means corrections, maintenance, and updates can continue to improve and refine a review.

    A third, and essential thread, is a no-cost, online platform for living and rapid reviews. This would address, and even move well beyond, a second concern of the Summit: access to reviews via an international database or clearinghouse. GitHub, developed by the open-source software development community provides transparency and documentation to the content it hosts. This is as critical in software development as in medical publishing and the methods have been refined over years in the programming community. Another arena in which transparency and documentation is critical is politics. Not suprisingly, has been used to track the legislative process (Shirky, 2012). Thus, GitHub is a logical option to host living and rapid systematic reviews.

    OpenMetaAnalysis is an implementation for living and rapid reviews that is hosted at GitHub. Reviews can be updated even as they matriculate through publication as happened with one of our reviews (PMID 26099054). The GitHub platform allows the crowd to not only propose contributions to existing reviews but to create and juxtapose alternative reviews of controversial topics when consensus cannot be reached. Crowdsourcing can enhance the automation of reviews that we have all sought but not found. OpenMetaAnalysis is not a static product. GitHub allows proposals to evolve the methods that currently underpin openMetaAnalysis. As examples, openMetaAnalysis has adopted recent proposals to use the Hartung-Knapp estimator and confidence intervals for I2

    In summary, merging online the concepts of rapid and living reviews on an existing, free and flexible platform needs exploration. Perhaps something better than openMetaAnalysis will emerge, that is the beauty of the democratization of the Internet.

    Competing interests

    I helped develop as an implementation of living systematic reviews.