Systematic Reviewers: Get to Know PRISMA 2020 and PRISMA-S

The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) was first published in 2009.  Since then, this evidence-based checklist has provided guidance to researchers in health science-related fields, helping researchers improve the reporting quality of systematic reviews, which prior research found was often lacking. 

Recently, updated guidelines in the form of a PRISMA 2020 statement and accompanying documents were made available. These resources replace the 2009 version of PRISMA, and include guidance that reflect changes in technology, terminology, our understanding of research bias, and changes in the professional publication process. Among the changes and additions are the inclusion of statements of competing interests, information about data sharing, more detailed reporting of search strategies and excluded studies, and a restructuring of the flow diagram. 

Extensions were created soon after the development of the original PRISMA document to facilitate the reporting of different aspects of systematic and other reviews. A new extension, PRISMA for Searching, PRISMA S, includes a checklist of 16 items along with an accompanying Explanation and Elaboration document that provides guidance designed to help authors conduct a search that is transparent, well documented, and easily replicable. As the article introducing PRISMA-S to the scholarly community stated, “incomplete reporting of the literature search methods can introduce doubt and diminish trust in the final systematic review….If researchers are unable to understand or reproduce how information was gathered….they may suspect the authors of…not conducting a thorough….literature search.” 

Thomas Jefferson University librarians are excited by the introduction of this new extension and are ready to help researchers adhere to PRISMA-S guidelines in their systematic review projects.

To consult with a Jefferson librarian about your review project, please e-mail AskaLibrarian@jefferson.edu (Abington/Center City, Scott Library) or AskGutman@jefferson.edu (East Falls, Gutman Library)