Table 1

Reasons for and challenges of doing an LSR

Why researchers should consider conducting an LSR
1. To provide a comprehensive, always up-to-date overview of the available scientific literature to clinicians and patients.
2. To reduce workload by using the experience from previous versions to (1) improve the approach and (2) continue the work already done in prior rounds.
3. To avoid repeating work by others and to reduce ‘research waste’.
Research challenges when conducting an LSR
ChallengesPossible solutions
How to get a LSR widely accepted and supported
  1. Through transparency of methods and approach, by describing the frequency of new searches and screenings, and when and how evidence will be incorporated.

  2. Through collaboration between research groups and pre-registration. This requires that the responsibilities for management, planning, conduction and funding of the LSR are coordinated between and dispersed over multiple research groups. Challenges to such a collaboration may include the buy-in from the many stakeholders, including researchers and funding bodies.

LSRs are labour and resource intensive: how to keep it feasible
  1. Collaboration between multiple research groups

  2. New advances may make LSR easier: software for managing the review process, machine learning for search screening and data extraction, crowd sourcing and online-only publications.

Keeping the LSR alive: how to ensure continued fundingFunding bodies should consider providing a consistent flow of funding to research groups that support a widely supported and accepted LSR. This could be embedded in guideline development processes – where (multidisciplinary) national guideline committees from various countries could commission LSRs.
  • LSR, living systematic review.