Before moving forward with any systematic review, we recommend filling out a Systematic Review Protocol in PROSPERO or Open Science Framework. Systematic reviews are a time commitment, taking an average of 67.5 weeks or 15 months (see our Systematic Review Timeline page for an in-depth breakdown of the timeline/phases of a systematic review). Successfully filling out a protocol gives an insight into the amount of work that goes into a systematic review and may help increase chances of completing a systematic review. A registered systematic review protocol can also count as a citation.
A systematic review protocol describes the rationale, hypothesis, and planned methods of the review. It should be prepared before a review is started and used as a guide to carry out the review.
A systematic review protocol is important for several reasons:
Shamseer, L., Moher, D., Clarke, M., Ghersi, D., Liberati, A., Petticrew, M., Shekelle, P., & Stewart, L. A. (2015). Preferred reporting items for systematic review and meta-analysis protocols (PRISMA-P) 2015: Elaboration and explanation. BMJ, 349, g7647. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g7647