PRISMA-S: An extension to the PRISMA statement for reporting literature searches in systematic reviews

Melissa L. Rethlefsen, Shona Kirtley, Siw Waffenschmidt, Ana Patricia Ayala, David Moher, Matthew J. Page, Jonathan B. Koffel, PRISMA-S Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Literature searches underlie the foundations of systematic reviews and related review types. Yet, the literature searching component of systematic reviews and related review types is often poorly reported. Guidance for literature search reporting has been diverse and, in many cases, does not offer enough detail to authors who need more specific information about reporting search methods and information sources in a clear, reproducible way. This document presents the PRISMA-S (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses literature search extension) checklist, and explanation and elaboration. Methods: The checklist was developed using a three-stage Delphi survey process, followed by a consensus conference and public review process. Results: The final checklist includes sixteen reporting items, each of which is detailed with exemplar reporting and rationale. Conclusions: The intent of PRISMA-S is to complement the PRISMA Statement and its extensions by providing a checklist that could be used by interdisciplinary authors, editors, and peer reviewers to verify that each component of a search is completely reported and, therefore, reproducible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-200
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of the Medical Library Association
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Information retrieval
  • Literature search
  • Reporting guidelines
  • Reproducibility
  • Search strategies
  • Systematic reviews

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