Living systematic reviews: an emerging opportunity to narrow the evidence-practice gap

PLoS Med. 2014 Feb 18;11(2):e1001603. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001603. eCollection 2014 Feb.


The current difficulties in keeping systematic reviews up to date leads to considerable inaccuracy, hampering the translation of knowledge into action. Incremental advances in conventional review updating are unlikely to lead to substantial improvements in review currency. A new approach is needed. We propose living systematic review as a contribution to evidence synthesis that combines currency with rigour to enhance the accuracy and utility of health evidence. Living systematic reviews are high quality, up-to-date online summaries of health research, updated as new research becomes available, and enabled by improved production efficiency and adherence to the norms of scholarly communication. Together with innovations in primary research reporting and the creation and use of evidence in health systems, living systematic review contributes to an emerging evidence ecosystem.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Access to Information
  • Biomedical Research / trends*
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / trends*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Review Literature as Topic*
  • Time Factors
  • Workflow