Living Systematic Reviews

Mark Simmonds*, Julian H. Elliott, Anneliese Synnot, Tari Turner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Systematic reviews are difficult to keep up to date, but failure to do so leads to poor review currency and accuracy. “Living systematic review” (LSR) is an approach that aims to continually update a review, 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. This chapter describes the concept and processes of living systematic reviews. It describes the general principles of LSRs, when they might be of particular value, and how their procedures differ from conventional systematic reviews. The chapter focuses particularly on two methods of sequential meta-analysis that may be particularly useful for LSRs: Trial Sequential Analysis and Sequential Meta-Analysis, which both control for Type I error, Type II error (failing to detect a genuine effect) and take account of heterogeneity.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-0716-1566-9
ISBN (Print)978-1-0716-1565-2
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Sept 2021

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6029

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Living systematic review
  • Sequential meta-analysis
  • Systematic review
  • Trial sequential analysis

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