Registering your protocol
It is highly recommended that you register your protocol before starting the review. This will align your work with the principles of open research and scholarship. Registering a protocol can:
- Avoid researchers repeating a review already in progress
- Increase the transparency and reproducibility of your work
- Reduce the risk of bias
- Increase the visibility of your work
- Allow you to link to the protocol in any subsequent publications.
Also see: Stewart L, Moher D, Shekelle P (2012). Why prospective registration of systematic reviews makes sense. Systematic Reviews 1(7) https://doi.org/10.1186/2046-4053-1-7.
Where can you register your review protocol?
Some journals will publish review protocols, but the most common places to register your protocol is PROSPERO, an international database of prospectively registered systematic reviews in health and social care.
Check their guidance notes to ensure your review is suitable for registration in PROSPERO and what should be included in your protocol.
Your review may not meet the criteria for registration in PROSPERO if it is a scoping review or a non-health related review, for example. In that case, you could consider these alternatives:
JBI Evidence Synthesis
If you are conducting a scoping review according to the JBI Scoping Review Methodology, and plan on publishing it through JBI Evidence Synthesis, then please follow their guidelines.
Open Science Framework (OSF)
Leicester Research Archive (Figshare)
The Leicester Research Archive (LRA) is the University of Leicester's open access institutional repository. University of Leicester researchers (including PGRs) can publish their protocol directly to the LRA, which will make it open and accessible. It will be given a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) and automatically indexed in search engines such as Google Scholar. You can also upload other items, such as your final search strategies and data sets, to the LRA.
If you would like further help with how to publish your protocol, and other items, in the LRA then please contact email@example.com.
Research Data Management
As with any research project your systematic review may generate data. If so, we recommend that you write a data management plan alongside your protocol.