Living systematic review: 1. Introduction-the why, what, when, and how

J Clin Epidemiol. 2017 Nov:91:23-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2017.08.010. Epub 2017 Sep 11.


Systematic reviews are difficult to keep up to date, but failure to do so leads to a decay in review currency, accuracy, and utility. We are developing a novel approach to systematic review updating termed "Living systematic review" (LSR): systematic reviews that are continually updated, incorporating relevant new evidence as it becomes available. LSRs may be particularly important in fields where research evidence is emerging rapidly, current evidence is uncertain, and new research may change policy or practice decisions. We hypothesize that a continual approach to updating will achieve greater currency and validity, and increase the benefits to end users, with feasible resource requirements over time.

Keywords: Evidence synthesis; Guidelines; Living guidelines; Living systematic review; Systematic review.

MeSH terms

  • Access to Information
  • Biomedical Research
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic*
  • Time Factors