Building the Systematic Review Core in an academic health sciences library


  • Mellanye J. Lackey Health Sciences Library, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV
  • Heidi Greenberg Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Melissa L. Rethlefsen Health Science Center Libraries - George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL



Systematic Review, Evidence Synthesis, Capacity


Background: The authors present efforts to build capacity at our institution for conducting systematic reviews and other forms of evidence synthesis through partnerships and a recharge model. This report describes how we successfully created and launched a for-fee systematic review core at our library.

Case Presentation: Throughout 2014 and 2015, library leadership proposed different models for getting institutional and financial support for librarians and staff to better support university researchers conducting systematic reviews. Though well received, initial requests for financial support were not funded. The executive director of the Health Sciences Library released two years’ worth of salary and benefits to fund an evidence synthesis and retrieval librarian position. With this new position, the team formed a charge-back core facility in partnership with our university’s Clinical Translation and Science Award hub. A series of procedural decisions and operational changes helped the group achieve success. Within eighteen months after launching the Systematic Review Core, we reached maximum capacity with more than twenty ongoing reviews.

Discussion: Assigning a dollar value to our expertise put us on par with other subject matter experts on campus and actually drove demand. We could act as paid consultants in research projects and shifted the perception of librarians from service providers to research partners. Affiliating with our partners was key to our success and boosted our ability to strengthen our campus’ research infrastructure.


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Case Report