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Scientific Literature Review Resources and Services

About BUL's literature review services

Brown University's Health Sciences Librarians are available to consult on your literature reviews. 

  • For students doing independent research, one or two 1-hr consultations are typically enough to help define the question and develop the search strategies. A student who is working on a systematic review must be working with a faculty mentor, and the mentor must attend the initial planning meeting. 
  • For larger projects, we typically will start with an intake interview to define the scope of project and determine timelines.

Literature reviews are time- and labor-intensive: a project that goes beyond 2 meetings typically will result in an acknowledgment or co-authorship. For larger projects we may ask for an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) to avoid situations in which a librarian makes a significant scholarly contribution to a review project, only to lose touch with the investigator, or to be left unclear about the status of the project, what to do with the products of his/her work, or how to plan for future involvement in the project.

How do the Health Sciences Librarians help with your review?

 

Librarians can work with researchers on a consultation basis to:
  • Clarify the research question and determine the most appropriate type of review to undertake.
  • Find existing reviews on the topic.
  • Recommend appropriate databases and show how to build an effective search.
Librarians can work with established research teams on a collaborative basis to:
  • Construct an expert search and translate it across several databases.
  • Document the search methodology in accordance with the appropriate reporting guidelines or other standards (e.g., PRISMA).
  • Manage, export, and deliver search results for screening by the review team via Covidence or other determined screening or bibliographic management tool. Save and update searches as appropriate.
  • Write search related methods of the manuscript, and review the final manuscript.

Note: Co-authorship is requested for this scope of work. 

Researcher Requirements
  • Eligibility: Faculty, staff and students at Brown University, including Brown University/Alpert Medical School Residents, Fellows, and clinical faculty. Any student must be working with a faculty mentor, and the mentor must attend the initial planning meeting.
  • A signed Memorandum of Agreement which details librarian co-author responsibilities and researcher expectations.

 

Partnering with BUL on systematic reviews

Working with the BUL Systematic Review Program 
We clarify expectations at the outset and ask for an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) to avoid situations in which a librarian makes a significant scholarly contribution to a review project, only to lose touch with the investigator, or to be left unclear about the status of the project, what to do with the products of his/her work, or how to plan for future involvement in the project.

Who is eligible to use the BUL Systematic Review Program?  
Faculty, staff and students at Brown University, including Brown University/Alpert Medical School Residents and Fellows, and AMS clinical faculty. Any student must be working with a faculty mentor, and the mentor must attend the initial planning meeting. 

Timeframe for Literature Searches 
The Cochrane Collaboration has reported that comprehensive literature searches for systematic reviews may require 3 to 8 months for completion. For this reason, Brown librarians collaborate on a limited number of reviews at any one time and may not be able to immediately begin work on your literature searches. In the event a librarian is not immediately available to work with you, your request will be placed on a waiting list and we will contact you about an estimated start date. 

Librarian Authorship 
A librarian who has completed comprehensive literature searches for a review project has made a major scholarly contribution to that project. As such, the librarian should be included as a coauthor on any abstracts or manuscripts that arises from the project and will draft the literature search sections required for these documents. The librarian will be included in discussions about where to submit abstracts or manuscripts, and will be given the opportunity to review, and give final approval of, all abstracts or manuscripts prior to their submission for publication.