Living systematic reviews: practical guidance for author teams

Workshop category: 

  • Other review formats (e.g. overviews of reviews, network meta-analysis)
Date and Location


Wednesday 23 October 2019 - 11:00 to 12:30


Contact persons and facilitators

Contact person:


Brooker J1, McDonald S1, Featherstone R2, Elliott J3, Akl E4, Clark J5, Thomas J6
1 Cochrane Australia, Australia
2 Cochrane Editorial & Methods Department, Canada
3 Cochrane, Australia
4 American University of Beirut, Lebanon
5 Institute for Evidence-Based Healthcare, Bond University, Australia
6 EPPI-Centre, University College London, UK


Living Evidence Network LEN1
1 ,
Target audience

Target audience: 

Review authors, editors, Cochrane review group members

Level of difficulty: 

Type of workshop

Type of workshop : 



Background: since 2016, Cochrane teams and others in the Living Evidence Network (LEN) have piloted living systematic reviews (LSRs). Following an evaluation of three Cochrane and three non-Cochrane pilot LSRs, and drawing on feedback from LEN members, we updated the interim guidance to produce the 'Guidance for Cochrane Living Systematic Reviews'.

Objectives: based on updated Cochrane LSR guidance, the workshop will equip participants with an understanding of the production and publication issues associated with LSRs. These include identifying topics suitable for an LSR approach; workflow, workload and authorship considerations; publication models; managing continual evidence surveillance; determining when to integrate new evidence and update an LSR; and considering when maintaining the review in living mode is no longer warranted.

Description: the workshop will commence with an overview of the updated guidance document and group discussion about factors for teams to consider before deciding to use an LSR approach. This will be followed by an overview of publication platforms for LSRs and an outline of the practicalities of managing continual evidence surveillance.

We will then break into two groups to discuss challenges and strategies related to undertaking LSRs.

Group 1: evidence surveillance
The increased frequency of searching poses several practical and methodological challenges to maintaining LSRs. These include applying database date limits, dealing with duplicates, feasibility of integrating technology enablers such as Cochrane’s RCT classifier, evaluating search performance (sources and terms) and various reporting issues (e.g. living PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) diagrams). The group will discuss these and other challenges and share ideas for how to minimize workload and improve the efficiency of the LSR search process.

Group 2: production and publication
This group will discuss the workflow, workload, authorship and publication issues unique to LSRs. Topics will also include LSR-related information required in the protocol, when to integrate new evidence and update the LSR, and when to transition the LSR out of living mode.

Both groups will report back and we will conclude with a discussion to summarize the key practicalities, challenges and opportunities with an LSR approach.