Author Archives: chris

Systematic Review Toolbox in 2017

2017 was an exciting year for the toolbox! Let’s begin with the tools that were added to the database throughout the year…

24 tools were added to the toolbox in 2017.  Of these, 18 were some form of software tool and 6 were a type of checklist, guideline or reporting standard.


Below is a monthly breakdown of what was added throughout the year.













There were also some updates to existing tools in the toolbox:

This year, we ran our third workshop on software tools and packages to support systematic reviews at the University of York.  We had a packed agenda with plenty of hands-on with various freely and commercially available systematic review tools.  We’ll be running the workshop again this year.  If anyone is interested, please visit the YHEC training page for more information.


In October, I packed up the toolbox and went along to the 3rd annual International Collaboration for the Automation of Systematic Reviews.  It was a really interesting meeting and it was great to see so many people in one room enthusiastic about review tool development and evaluation.  The future of systematic review automation is very bright!

In November, the toolbox made it’s second appearance at ISPOR to show off it’s new search strategy!  Thanks to Anthea Sutton, we now have a dedicated search strategy to identify new tools to add to the toolbox, which we plan to run once a month.  This month (January), there have already been a handful of new tools identified by the search and added to the toolbox, which is great!  Check out the abstract here.


A big thank you to all those who submitted tools (and updates to tools) in 2017 and to those who attended the workshop!  There are some exciting plans for the toolbox in 2018 so watch this space!



Tool round-up: January – April 2017

Here is a round-up of the tools added to the toolbox for 2017 so far (January – April):

DECiMAL – Data extraction guide for complex meta-analysis, primarily aimed at systematic reviewers preparing data for meta-analysis: – tool to extract data from web pages. In the context of systematic review it has been used to download citations from websites to increase transparency and reproducibility of grey literature searching: 

VOSviewer – software tool for constructing and visualising bibliometric networks. These networks may for instance include journals, researchers, or individual publications, and they can be constructed based on co-citation, bibliographic coupling, or co-authorship relations. VOSviewer also offers text mining functionality that can be used to construct and visualise co-occurrence networks of important terms extracted from a body of scientific literature: 

Gephi – Open source visualization and exploration software for all kinds of graphs and networks: 

RIS Export – Tool that converts search results files into RIS files for ease of importing into reference management software:

CADIMA – supports the conduct of systematic reviews and evidence/systematic maps by the provision of a freely available online tool that: 1. guides review authors through the evidence synthesis process, 2. facilitates the coordination of cooperating team members, 3. eases steps with considerable workload and 4. guarantees for its thorough documentation. The evidence synthesis tool was established and is further developed in a close collaboration between the Julius Kühn-Institut and the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence is free and supports the conduct of systematic reviews and evidence/systematic maps:

3D Covariate Visualiser – 3-D evidence network plot system: a new software tool to aid the exploration of covariate imbalances and effects in network meta-analysis. Users are required to register to use the system. This is an innovative tool which was developed by DRG Abacus in collaboration with Leicester University: 

Health Assessment Workspace Collaborative (HAWC) – HAWC is a modular, content management system designed to store, display, and synthesize multiple data sources for the purpose of producing human health assessments of chemicals. This online application documents the overall workflow of developing an assessment, from literature search and systematic review, to data extraction (human epidemiology, animal bioassay, and in vitro assay), dose-response analysis, and finally evidence synthesis and visualization: 

JSTOR Text Analyser – JSTOR Text Analyser allows you to upload a document and will analyse the text to find the key topics and terms used. JSTOR Text Analyser then priortises these terms and uses the ones it deems most important to find similar content (articles, book chapters etc) in JSTOR. You can refine the search results, by adding, removing or adjusting the priority of terms:

COMPASS – The tool aims to give an outline of the key elements with respect to quality of clinical evidence of orphan medicinal products (OMPs). The tool can be applied to assess the quality of evidence of an OMP based on information in the registration dossier, for example by local reimbursement agencies, pharmacists or clinicians –

Thanks to all those who submitted tools.


Tools of the Year 2016

Let’s kick-off the new ‘News’ section with a look back over the tools that were added to the Toolbox in 2016.

This year, 38 tools were submitted and added to the Systematic Review Toolbox. This included 23 software tools and 15 other (i.e. checklists, guidelines and reporting standards etc.) tools.


Below is a month-by-month recap (with links to the tool pages in the toolbox!)…














A big thanks to everyone who submitted tools to the Toolbox throughout the year!