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Developing a Systematic Review Service Model: Two Approaches

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  1. Developing a Systematic Review Service Model: Two Approaches Edward LucaManager, Academic Services (Medicine and Health, Health Sciences) University of Sydney Library Patrick Condron Senior Liaison Librarian (Research) MDHS/FVAS Team University of Melbourne Library

  2. What are systematic reviews? “A systematic review attempts to collate all empirical evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria in order to answer a specific research question.” A Systematic Review has: • clearly stated objectives • pre-defined eligibility criteria • explicit, reproducible methodology • systematic search of the literature • assessment of validity of included studies • systematic synthesis and presentation of findings Higgins JPT, Green S (editors). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions Version 5.1.0 [updated March 2011]. The Cochrane Collaboration, 2011. Available from

  3. Growth of Systematic Reviews: Documents by Year

  4. Growth of Systematic Reviews: By Affiliation

  5. University of Melbourne: SR Growth (First/Multiple (3+) Authors Only)

  6. Systematic Review Support Principles Research Support Staff-led reviews can be for guideline development, research consultancy for government or grant applications Educational Support Half or full year research projects in graduate programs. Literature review component or separate study by graduate research students

  7. Systematic Review Support Principles • Supported primarily by medicine/health sciences teams • Support is project-specific delivered in a research consultation setting • Researchers may have alternative support staff to the library • International guidelines for systematic review presentation (PRISMA, Cochrane) should be understood

  8. Systematic Review Support Staff Availability • University of Sydney • 1x Manager Academic Services, 7x Academic Liaison Librarians, 2x Assistant Librarians, 1x Academic Services Graduate • University of Melbourne • 1x Faculty Librarian, 2x Research Librarians, 2.5x Teaching & Learning Librarians • Premium service: 10% for 1x Research Librarian, 5% for 1x Research Librarian. • Discipline-based teams within Academic Services structure


  10. Context • Around 13% (approximately 531 appointments in a year) of total library research consultations relate to systematic reviews • Systematic review support has been delivered inconsistently, with each librarian offering varying levels of service and advice based on their experiences, with limited formal training • Formed a working group in 2017 to identify how the University of Sydney can most effectively support researchers conducting Systematic Reviews through user experience research

  11. User Research • Understand the steps in the process of conducting a systematic review from a researcher’s perspective • Identify things that helped in each stage of the process (which may have included resources, services, information, activities or people) • Identify pain points that researchers faced • Ideate potential solutions to make the SR process easier 

  12. Findings • Steps that librarians saw as important were not explicitly identified by workshop participants as distinct stages (e.g. perform search) • When discussing support resources and pain points, participants emphasised details that librarians may have been aware of but didn’t prioritise • Success factors included peer-to-peer learning, an effective workflow, and for HDR students, having an involved supervisor • Systematic Review Service Charter (to define Library support levels) • Systematic Review Toolkit (to address the pain points of researchers) • Staff Development Program (to build staff capacity)

  13. Service Charter (introduced January 2019)

  14. Systematic Review Toolkit

  15. Systematic Review Toolkit • Content and structure determined through user research workshop • Additional usability testing conducting by external UX agency, 2 rounds (one with postgraduate researchers, another with academics teaching systematic review methods) • Tested interaction design, language, content discoverability and navigation

  16. Structure of each stage Evidence, synthesised information about the process and workflow Tips, best practice suggestions from Library staff Tools & resources, links to suggested websites, guidelines and databases Need help? Who at the University can support you with this stage


  18. University of Melbourne: 2018 SR Authorship 260 articles • Population and Global Health ; Psychiatry ; Paediatrics/Royal Childrens Hospital • Royal Melbourne Hospital ; Austin Health ; St Vincents HospitalPeter MacCallum Cancer Institute ; Dental Science ; Psychology ; Physiotherapy • General Practice ; Nursing ; Social Work • Obstetrics and Gynaecology ; Audiology & Speech Pathology 20-50 10-20 5-10 2-5

  19. University of Melbourne Development of SR Service

  20. Systematic Review Service Catalogue (Melbourne)

  21. Research Guide

  22. Implementation Findings – Melbourne Standard / Consult a Librarian • Searching vs Workflow • Do you want an Expert Search?? Academic • Authorship agreements Premium • Who is the University? • Billing up front vs Counting the Hours

  23. Staff Development Program at University of Sydney Self-education | Peer Observation | Guided Practice

  24. Staff Capacity Building: Events • Australian Evidence Based Practice Institute (ALIA Health Libraries Australia) • Cochrane Colloquium

  25. Staff Capacity Building: Online Training • Evidence Based Practice and the Medical Librarian (8-week online course) • Cochrane Interactive • Covidence training

  26. Thank you!