Conceptualizing the reporting of living systematic reviews

Joanne Khabsa, Stephanie Chang, Joanne E. McKenzie, James M. Barker, Isabelle Boutron, Lara A. Kahale, Matthew J. Page, Nicole Skoetz, Elie A. Akl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objectives: As part of an effort to develop an extension of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) 2020 statement for living systematic reviews (LSRs), we discuss conceptual issues relevant to the reporting of LSRs and highlight a few challenges. Methods: Discussion of conceptual issues based on a scoping review of the literature and discussions among authors. Results: We first briefly describe aspects of the LSR production process relevant to reporting. The production cycles differ by whether the literature surveillance identifies new evidence and whether newly identified evidence is judged to be consequential. This impacts the timing, content, and format of LSR versions. Second, we discuss four types of information that are specific to the reporting of LSRs: justification for adopting the living mode, LSR specific methods, changes between LSR versions, and LSR updating status. We also discuss the challenge of conveying changes between versions to the reader. Third, we describe two commonly used reporting formats of LSRs: full and partial reports. Although partial reports are easier to produce and publish, they lead to the scattering of information across different versions. Full reports ensure the completeness of reporting. We discuss the implications for the extension of the PRISMA 2020 statement for LSRs. Conclusion: We argue that a dynamic publication platform would facilitate complete and timely reporting of LSRs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-118
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


  • Evidence synthesis
  • Living systematic review
  • Meta-analysis
  • Reporting guidelines
  • Systematic review
  • Transparency

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