In a new open-access Guidelines & Guidance paper published in PLOS Medicine, Matthew Page of Monash University, Melbourne, Australia and co-authors present PRISMA 2020, an updated version of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses reporting checklist. The new guideline paper is also being published in the British Medical Journal, Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, Systematic Reviews and International Journal of Surgery.
Systematic reviews allow researchers to search for and analyse all the available evidence on a specific medical research question, which could involve evidence on different treatments for a particular disease studied in randomized controlled trials, for example, or data on risk factors or disease characteristics obtained from observational studies. Meta-analyses of these data aim to provide the most accurate information on treatment benefits and side-effects, for instance.
PRISMA, first published in 2009, encourages researchers to describe key elements of their review according to an evidence-based checklist--published alongside a research paper, this provides readers with clear access to information on study methods and findings. PRISMA 2020 includes a 27-item reporting checklist that has been updated to reflect methodological and other developments that have occurred in the decade since the original PRISMA statement was released. As an example, one new item encourages researchers to describe whether study data, analytic code and other research materials are publicly available, and where these can be found. The authors say: "Incompletely reported systematic reviews can lead to low-value healthcare. We hope to combat this with PRISMA 2020, which aims to help authors prepare transparent, complete and accurate accounts of the next generation of systematic reviews". Submissions to PLOS Medicine will be expected to be accompanied by a completed checklist for the most appropriate reporting guideline, including PRISMA 2020 for reports of systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
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Funding: There was no direct funding for this research. MJP is supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DE200101618) and was previously supported by an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Early Career Fellowship (1088535) during the conduct of this research. JEM is supported by an Australian NHMRC Career Development Fellowship (1143429). TCH is supported by an Australian NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship (1154607). JMT is supported by Evidence Partners Inc. JMG is supported by a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Health Knowledge Transfer and Uptake. MML is supported by The Ottawa Hospital Anaesthesia Alternate Funds Association and a Faculty of Medicine Junior Research Chair. TL is supported by funding from the National Eye Institute (UG1EY020522), National Institutes of Health, United States. LAM is supported by a National Institute for Health Research Doctoral Research Fellowship (DRF-2018-11-ST2-048). ACT is supported by a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Knowledge Synthesis. DM is supported in part by a University Research Chair, University of Ottawa. The funders had no role in considering the study design or in the collection, analysis, interpretation of data, writing of the report, or decision to submit the article for publication.
Competing Interests: I have read the journal's policy and the authors of this manuscript have the following competing interests: EL is head of research for the BMJ; MJP is an editorial board member for PLOS Medicine; ACT is an associate editor and MJP, TL, EMW, and DM are editorial board members for the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology; DM and LAS were editors in chief, LS, JMT, and ACT are associate editors, and JG is an editorial board member for Systematic Reviews. None of these authors were involved in the peer review process or decision to publish. TCH has received personal fees from Elsevier outside the submitted work. EMW has received personal fees from the American Journal for Public Health, for which he is the editor for systematic reviews. VW is editor in chief of the Campbell Collaboration, which produces systematic reviews, and co-convenor of the Campbell and Cochrane equity methods group. DM is chair of the EQUATOR Network, IB is adjunct director of the French EQUATOR Centre and TCH is co-director of the Australasian EQUATOR Centre, which advocates for the use of reporting guidelines to improve the quality of reporting in research articles. JMT received salary from Evidence Partners, creator of DistillerSR software for systematic reviews; Evidence Partners was not involved in the design or outcomes of the statement, and the views expressed solely represent those of the author.
Citation: Page MJ, McKenzie JE, Bossuyt PM, Boutron I, Hoffmann TC, Mulrow CD, et al. (2021) The PRISMA 2020 statement: An updated guideline for reporting systematic reviews. PLoS Med 18(3): e1003583. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003583