Potential shortcut #5: Skip some reporting standards

A standard systematic review is incredibly transparent about its results as well as its methods. Systematic reviews register their protocols in advance (e.g., on PROSPERO), follow set reporting guidelines (e.g., PRISMA), and aim to publish both the protocol and final report in peer-reviewed journals. In addition to making elements of your protocol publicly available on PROSPERO, the Open Science Framework (OSF) is an alternative option to publishing your protocol in a peer-reviewed journal.

Your rapid review could save time by:

  • Report your findings using a format that includes a brief summary of your methods and shortcuts instead of writing a comprehensive academic paper.
  • Brief protocol and report templates are available and can be used to guide the process of reporting, efficiently.

Consequences of this shortcut

Transparent reporting of the review protocol and final report are hallmarks of the systematic review process. This process holds reviewers accountable and allows users of the review to have a full understanding of the robustness of the research.

While shortcuts to the reporting may not directly bias the rapid review results, they may give the perception of a biased product, and reviewers should be aware of this and work to communicate with stakeholders to alleviate any concerns. Decision-makers are less likely to use a rapid review if they have doubts about its methods and the credibility of the results.