Assessing the roles and challenges of librarians in dental systematic and scoping reviews

Nena Schvaneveldt, Elizabeth M. Stellrecht


Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the scope of experience, roles, and challenges that librarians face in participating in dental and oral health systematic and scoping reviews to inform outreach efforts to researchers and identify areas for librarian professional development.

Methods: The authors developed a twenty-three-item survey based on the findings of two recent articles about health sciences librarians’ roles and challenges in conducting systematic and scoping reviews. The survey was distributed via electronic mailing lists to librarians who were likely to have participated in conducting dental systematic and scoping reviews.

Results: While survey respondents reported participating in many dental reviews, they participated more commonly in systematic reviews than in scoping reviews. Also, they worked less commonly on dental and oral health reviews than on non-dental reviews. Librarian roles in dental reviews tended to follow traditional librarian roles: all respondents had participated in planning and information retrieval stages, whereas fewer respondents had participated in screening and assessing articles. The most frequently reported challenges involved the lead reviewer or review team rather than the librarians themselves, with time- and methodology-related challenges being most common.

Conclusions: Although librarians might not be highly involved in dental and oral health systematic and scoping reviews, more librarian participation in these reviews, either as methodologists or information experts, may improve their reviews’ overall quality.


Systematic Reviews; Scoping Reviews; Dentistry; Oral Health; Librarians

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