Writing a narrative biomedical review: considerations for authors, peer reviewers, and editors

Rheumatol Int. 2011 Nov;31(11):1409-17. doi: 10.1007/s00296-011-1999-3. Epub 2011 Jul 29.


Review articles comprehensively covering a specific topic are crucial for successful research and academic projects. Most editors consider review articles for special and regular issues of journals. Writing a review requires deep knowledge and understanding of a field. The aim of this review is to analyze the main steps in writing a narrative biomedical review and to consider points that may increase the chances of success. We performed a comprehensive search through MEDLINE, EMBASE, Scopus, and Web of Science using the following keywords: review of the literature, narrative review, title, abstract, authorship, ethics, peer review, research methods, medical writing, scientific writing, and writing standards. Opinions expressed in the review are also based on personal experience as authors, peer reviewers, and editors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Bibliographic
  • Humans
  • Narration*
  • Peer Review* / methods
  • Peer Review* / standards
  • Periodicals as Topic / standards*
  • Publishing / standards*
  • Review Literature as Topic*
  • Writing / standards*