Living systematic review: 1. Introduction-the why, what, when, and how

Julian H. Elliott*, Anneliese Synnot, Tari Turner, Mark Simmonds, Elie A. Akl, Steve McDonald, Georgia Salanti, Joerg Meerpohl, Harriet MacLehose, John Hilton, David Tovey, Ian Shemilt, James Thomas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Systematic reviews are difficult to keep up to date, but failure to do so leads to a decay in review currency, accuracy, and utility. We are developing a novel approach to systematic review updating termed "Living systematic review" (LSR): systematic reviews that are continually updated, incorporating relevant new evidence as it becomes available. LSRs may be particularly important in fields where research evidence is emerging rapidly, current evidence is uncertain, and new research may change policy or practice decisions. We hypothesize that a continual approach to updating will achieve greater currency and validity, and increase the benefits to end users, with feasible resource requirements over time.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Early online date11 Sept 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Sept 2017


  • Evidence synthesis
  • Guidelines
  • Living guidelines
  • Living systematic review
  • Systematic review

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