Encouraging best practice in systematic reviews

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The PLoS Medicine editorial this month focuses on initiatives ensuring best practice in the conduct and reporting of systematic reviews. This editorial announces key changes in journal policy towards this type of article; the PLoS Medicine editors will now ask authors whether their systematic review was registered during the planning stage (a practice we support, as helping to reduce bias in carrying out and reporting the systematic review). We will also ask authors whether they had a protocol for the review, and if so ask to see a copy to help in editorial and peer-review assessment of the submitted article. Although such policies have existed for some time for clinical trials, it is only now that an international registry exists that is available to all researchers carrying out systematic reviews – the PROSPERO registry. As this is still a comparatively recent initiative, we are very keen to hear researchers’ reactions regarding their experiences of registering systematic reviews and the change in policy.

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