Whaley P, Blaauboer BJ, Brozek J, Cohen Hubal EA, Hair K, Kacew S, Knudsen TB, Kwiatkowski CF, Mellor DT, Olshan AF, Page MJ, Rooney AA, Radke E, Shamseer L, Tsaioun K, Tugwell P, Wikoff D, Woodruff TJ. 2021. Improving the quality of toxicology and environmental health systematic reviews: What journal editors can do. ALTEX [Internet].
Systematic reviews are fast increasing in prevalence in the toxicology and environmental health literature. However, how well these complex research projects are being conducted and reported is unclear. Since editors have an essential role in ensuring the scientific quality of manuscripts being published in their journals, a workshop was convened where editors, systematic review practitioners, and research quality control experts could discuss what editors can do to ensure the systematic reviews they publish are of sufficient scientific quality. Interventions were explored along four themes: setting standards; reviewing protocols; optimising editorial workflows; and measuring the effectiveness of editorial interventions. In total, 58 editorial interventions were proposed. Of these, 26 were shortlisted for being potentially effective, and 5 were prioritized as short-term actions that editors could relatively easily take to improve the quality of published systematic reviews. Recent progress in improving systematic reviews is summarized, and outstanding challenges to further progress are highlighted.