5. How do I manage my search results?

5.2. Sharing a search for publication

6.2 Sharing a search for publication

Publishing and sharing our evidence syntheses can benefit the whole veterinary community.

If you intend to publish your search it is good practice to report the search strategies so that they are transparent and reproducible.

Reporting your search in a standard way enables the search to be replicated in the future, to identify any new evidence published since the last search was run. It also demonstrates the quality of the search strategy and allows others to assess this – they will want to have confidence that the search captured the most relevant literature.

As a minimum, the following should be reported:

The search strategy

  • The names of the databases (including the platform and database coverage dates)
  • The search strategies (for example, the full search terms used, with an explanation of any decisions made about these if not self-explanatory, plus the way the terms were combined with Boolean operators)
  • Any limits or filters applied to the search (for example, date, language)
  • The date on which the search was conducted
  • Names of any other sources searched/details of any supplementary searching

The search outcome

  • The number of publications that were found in the searches and how many were included in the synthesis
  • The inclusion and exclusion criteria used to screen results (for example, duplicates, languages, dates, types of study)

If you plan to publish an evidence synthesis, then the target publisher may have reporting standards that you need to follow. For examples, see:

Guidance on compiling a Knowledge Summary from RCVS Knowledge, which includes a Knowledge Summary Template with a requirement for reporting the Search Strategy and the Search Outcome.

Reporting a literature search for BestBETs for Vets 

Reporting guidelines for systematic reviews and meta-analyses

It is important to follow the guidelines for reporting studies, including systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

Comprehensive guidelines for transparent and comprehensive reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses, including a flowchart, are provided on the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) website.

SYREAF  provides resources related to systematic reviews for animals and food.

Meridian  gathers together the reporting guidelines for studies that involve animals.