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Systematic Review Services: Overview

Systematic Review Services at NML


Systematic Review Services at NML‚Äč


Systematic reviews (and meta-analyses) is a form of research where the library can contribute with expertise in the area of information searching and document management by co- authoring reviews and/or provides help and support throughout the work process.


The literature search is a time- consuming part of a systematic review that requires each detail of the search string to be carefully reviewed and evaluated to ensure the best possible search outcome. According to the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions, the search process only requires up to six months or more to complete (read more about how to plan and estimated timeframe for systematic reviews in the handbook). 


To include a medical librarian in the systematic review team is therefore a recommended standard by institutions like the Institute of Medicine, IOM, (Standards for Best Practice of Systematic Reviews, standard 3.1.1), and can help the researcher(s) to present a literature selection based on a detailed, re- producible, high quality search in academic databases and in sources for grey literature. 


The systematic review services offered at NML includes both the possibility to add a librarian as a co-author to your team and general support and training in search strategies, software and reporting guidelines etc. The service is available for faculty, researchers and students within the UAEU community and to collaborating partners.


The service includes: 


  • Pre-searching to identify relevant search terms and information resources 
  • Assisting in developing a protocol for the systematic review and identifying reporting standards (PRISMA etc.) required for intended publication(s)
  • Assisting in register the review in Prospero or any other register/database for ongoing systematic reviews
  • Develop a search strategy utilizing advanced search techniques for the best possible search outcome
  • Conduct the search in selected academic databases and in sources for grey literature
  • Training and guidance in systematic review and reference management software 
  • Peer-reviewing search strings
  • Document management including collecting, de-duplication and uploading of selected references 
  • Locating, ordering and uploading full text articles for review.
  • Documentation of the search process and writing the search portion of the review’s methodology section


Covidence systematic review software 


NML offers subscribed access to the systematic review software Covidence. Covidence is a user- friendly, cloud- based software that helps researchers to avoid bias and obtain the best possible structure and documentation throughout the review process. Group collaboration tools and time-saving support functions for uploading, sharing, screening and selecting studies are furthermore included (watch a short introduction film about Covidence on the right hand side on this page).

For more information or to request NMLs systematic review service, please contact: 


Linda Ostlundh, Library Director 

Phone: 03 713 7233

e- mail:

Example of papers published within the service

Boudi, Z., Lauque, D., Alsabri, M., Östlundh, L., Oneyji, C., Khalemsky, A., ... & Moeckel, M. (2020). Association between boarding in the emergency department and in-hospital mortality: A systematic review. PloS ONE15(4).

Arora, T., Grey, I., Östlundh, L., Lam, H., Omar, O. & Arnone D. (2020). Psychological consequences of COVID-19 amongst affected individuals, healthcare workers and the general population : A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Health Psychology. Online ahead of print.

Butler, A., English, E, Östlundh, L… & Atkin ,S.L.(2020). Diagnosing type 2 diabetes using Haemoglobin A1c; A systematic review and meta-analysis of the diagnostic cut point based on microvascular complications. Acta Diabetologica. In press.

Alsabri, M., Boudi, Z,,  Lauque, D...&  Bellou, A. (2020). Impact of Teamwork and Communication Training Interventions on Safety Culture and Patient Safety in Emergency Departments. Journal of Patient Safety. Ahead of Print. doi: 10.1097/PTS.0000000000000782

Al Alawi, L., Soteriades, E. S., Paulo, M. S., Östlundh, L., Grivna, M., Al Maskari, F., & Al-Rifai, R. H. (2020). Environmental assessment of cytotoxic drugs in healthcare settings: protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis. Systematic reviews9(1), 242.

Al-Sheikhly, D., Östlundh, L. & Arayssi, T. (2020). A systematic review of remediation strategies for learners struggeling with communication skills. BMC Medical Education20(1).

Short, M., Booth, S., Omar, O., Östlundh, L., & Arora, T. (2020). The relationship between sleep duration and mood in adolescents: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sleep Medicine Reviews. doi:10.1016/j.smrv.2020.101311.

Bettencourt-Silva, R., Beatriz Aguiar, B., Sá-Araújo, V., Barreira, R., Guedes, V., Marques Ribeiro, M., Carvalho, D., Östlundh, L., Silva Paulo, M. (2019). Diabetes-related symptoms, acute complications and management of Diabetes Mellitus of patients who are receiving palliative care: A protocol for a systematic review. BMJ Open, 14;9(6). DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-028604

Jaka, H., Rhee, J. A., Östlundh, L., Smart, L., Peck, R., Mueller, A., ... & Mshana, S. E. (2018). The magnitude of antibiotic resistance to Helicobacter pylori in Africa and identified mutations which confer resistance to antibiotics: Systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Infectious Diseases18(1), 193. 

Otun, J., Sahebkar, A., Östlundh, L., Atkin ,S.L. & Sathyapalan, T. (2019). Systematic Review and Meta-analysis on the Effect of Soy on Thyroid Function. Scientific Reports, 8;9(1), 3964. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-40647-x

The illustration used in this guide is downloaded from Cochrane's home page:

UH, Public Services and Outreach

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Reem Al Sheryani
National Medical Library, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UAEU
+971 3 713 7211

Covidence Systematic Review Software