Semi-automating the manual literature search for systematic reviews increases efficiency

Department for Evidence-based Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology, Danube University Krems, Krems, Austria.
Health Information & Libraries Journal (Impact Factor: 0.89). 03/2010; 27(1):22-7. DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-1842.2009.00865.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To minimise retrieval bias, manual literature searches are a key part of the search process of any systematic review. Considering the need to have accurate information, valid results of the manual literature search are essential to ensure scientific standards; likewise efficient approaches that minimise the amount of personnel time required to conduct a manual literature search are of great interest.
The objective of this project was to determine the validity and efficiency of a new manual search method that utilises the scopus database.
We used the traditional manual search approach as the gold standard to determine the validity and efficiency of the proposed scopus method. Outcome measures included completeness of article detection and personnel time involved. Using both methods independently, we compared the results based on accuracy of the results, validity and time spent conducting the search, efficiency.
Regarding accuracy, the scopus method identified the same studies as the traditional approach indicating its validity. In terms of efficiency, using scopus led to a time saving of 62.5% compared with the traditional approach (3 h versus 8 h).
The scopus method can significantly improve the efficiency of manual searches and thus of systematic reviews.

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