Blinded by PRISMA: are systematic reviewers focusing on PRISMA and ignoring other guidelines?

Fleming, Padhraig S; Koletsi, Despina; Pandis, Nikolaos (2014). Blinded by PRISMA: are systematic reviewers focusing on PRISMA and ignoring other guidelines? PLoS ONE, 9(5), e96407. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0096407

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BACKGROUND PRISMA guidelines have been developed to improve the reporting of systematic reviews (SRs). Other reporting guidelines and techniques to assess methodological quality of SRs have been developed. We aimed to assess the frequency of the use of reporting and other guidelines in SRs to assess whether PRISMA is being used inappropriately as a substitute for other relevant guidelines. METHODS Web of Knowledge was searched to identify articles citing the PRISMA guidelines over a 12-month period. The use of reporting guidelines (including PRISMA and MOOSE) and tools for assessing methodological quality (including QUADAS) was assessed. Factors associated with appropriate use of guidelines including review type, field of publication and involvement of a methodologist were investigated. RESULTS Over the 12-month period, 701 SRs were identified. MOOSE guidelines were cited in just 17% of epidemiologic reviews; QUADAS or QUADAS-2 was referred to in just 40% of diagnostic SRs. In the multivariable analysis, medical field of publication and methodologist involvement (OR = 1.97, 95% CI: 1.37, 2.83) were significant predictors of appropriate use of guidelines. Inclusion of a meta-analysis resulted in 73% higher odds of appropriate usage of systematic review guidelines (OR = 1.73, 95% CI: 1.22, 2.35). CONCLUSIONS Usage of SR reporting guidelines and tools for assessment of methodological quality other than PRISMA may be under-utilized with negative implications both for the reporting and methodological quality of systematic reviews.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > School of Dental Medicine > Department of Orthodontics

UniBE Contributor:

Pandis, Nikolaos


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Public Library of Science




Eveline Carmen Schuler

Date Deposited:

26 Nov 2014 16:59

Last Modified:

25 Jan 2017 12:15

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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