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Delays in publishing systematic review registrations in PROSPERO are hindering transparency and may lead to research waste
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  • Published on:
    Response to Letter: Delays in publishing systematic review registrations in PROSPERO
    • Ruth Walker, Research Fellow in Evidence Synthesis Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York
    • Other Contributors:
      • Connor Evans, Research Project Support

    Thank you for your Letter and concerns raised about delays to registration and failure to identify similar systematic review protocols in PROSPERO. PROSPERO, which provides registration free of charge, now receives over 47,000 submissions annually including both new submissions and resubmissions (from authors whose original submission required revision owing to low quality or incomplete information). With only 1.7 FTE administrative staff funded to manage PROSPERO, demand for registration outstrips capacity of staff to process requests.

    Previous appeals to PROSPERO users to improve the quality of submission and thus reduce the need for query, feedback and resubmission and consequently demand on the register were unsuccessful. With the intention of reducing further delays, in 2020, a decision was made to automatically publish records waiting for more than 30 days from submission, providing they pass a series of automatic checks (assessing whether a record is submitted in English language and includes information about review methodology). This allowed us to focus efforts on supporting the research endeavour surrounding the global COVID-19 pandemic. We aim to publish reviews related to covid by the end of the next working day. As this has reduced the time to registration and been met with approval by the review community, we have decided to continue automatic publishing system. Future development plans involve exploring how a more detailed automatic checking process...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    Both Walker RAE and Evans C are members of staff at the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD), University of York, and spend a proportion of their time contributing to PROSPERO.

    Funding: CRD receives funding from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) to produce PROSPERO. The views expressed in this response are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.