Improving the Quality of Toxicology and Environmental Health Systematic Reviews: What Journal Editors Can Do

Paul Whaley, Bas J. Blaauboer, Jan Brozek, Elaine A. Cohen Hubal, Kaitlyn Hair, Sam Kacew, Thomas B. Knudsen, Carol F. Kwiatkowski, David T. Mellor, Andrew F. Olshan, Matthew J. Page, Andrew A. Rooney, Elizabeth G. Radke, Larissa Shamseer, Katya Tsaioun, Peter Tugwell, Daniele Wikoff, Tracey J. Woodruff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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; optimizing 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-522
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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