A decade of systematic reviews: an assessment of Weill Cornell Medicine's systematic review service





Evidence synthesis, systematic reviews, meta-analysis, library services, research services


Background: The Weill Cornell Medicine, Samuel J. Wood Library’s Systematic Review (SR) service began in 2011, with 2021 marking a decade of service. This paper will describe how the service policies have grown and will break down our service quantitatively over the past 11 years to examine SR timelines and trends.

Case Presentation: We evaluated 11 years (2011-2021) of SR request data from our in-house documentation. In the years assessed, there have been 319 SR requests from 20 clinical departments, leading to 101 publications with at least one librarian collaborator listed as co-author. The average review took 642 days to publication, with the longest at 1408 days, and the shortest at 94 days. On average, librarians spent 14.7 hours in total on each review. SR projects were most likely to be abandoned at the title/abstract screening phase. Several policies have been put into place over the years in order to accommodate workflows and demand for our service.

Discussion: The SR service has seen several changes since its inception in 2011. Based on the findings and emerging trends discussed here, our service will inevitably evolve further to adapt to these changes, such as machine learning-assisted technology.


Koffel JB. Use of recommended search strategies in systematic reviews and the impact of librarian involvement: a cross-sectional survey of recent authors. PLoS ONE. 2015 May 4;10(5).

Hameed I, Demetres M, Tam DY, Rahouma M, Khan FM, Wright DN, et al. An assessment of the quality of current clinical meta-analyses. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2020 May 7;20(1):105.

Higgins JPT, Thomas J, Chandler J, Cumpston M, Li T, Welch VA, editors. Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions, version 6.1 [Internet]. Cochrane; 2020 [cited 2021 Feb 1]. Available from: http://www.training.cochrane.org/handbook

Institute of Medicine. Finding What Works in Health Care: Standards for Systematic Reviews. National Academy of Sciences; 2011 Mar.

Hardi AC, Fowler SA. Evidence-based medicine and systematic review services at Becker Medical Library. Mo Med. 2014 Oct;111(5):416–8.

Ludeman E, Downton K, Shipper AG, Fu Y. Developing a library systematic review service: a case study. Med Ref Serv Q. 2015;34(2):173–80.

McKeown S, Ross-White A. Building capacity for librarian support and addressing collaboration challenges by formalizing library systematic review services. J Med Libr Assoc. 2019 Jul 1;107(3):411–9.

Demetres MR, Wright DN, Delgado D. Supporting consensus statements: considerations and recommendations for a systematic review service. Med Ref Serv Q. 2021 Dec;40(4):347–54.

Campbell S, Dorgan M. What to do when everyone wants you to collaborate: managing the demand for library support in systematic review searching. J Can Health Libr Assoc. 2015 Apr 1;36(1):11–9.

Covidence. Covidence. Covidence; 2022.

Adelman RD, Tmanova LL, Delgado D, Dion S, Lachs MS. Caregiver burden: a clinical review. JAMA. 2014 Mar 12;311(10):1052–60.

Jarvis C, Gregory JM, Mortensen-Hayes A, McFarland M. Borrowing trouble? The impact of a systematic review service on interlibrary loan borrowing in an academic health sciences library. J Med Libr Assoc. 2021 Jan 1;109(1):84–9.

Evidence Partners. DistillerSR. Evidence Partners; 2021.

RobotReviewer. About RobotReviewer [Internet]. 2022 [cited 2022 Aug 31]. Available from: https://www.robotreviewer.net/about






Case Report