Protocol registration issues of systematic review and meta-analysis studies: a survey of global researchers
Gehad Mohamed Tawfik, Hoang Thi Nam Giang, Sherief Ghozy, Ahmed M. Altibi, Hend Kandil, Huu-Hoai Le, Peter Samuel Eid, Ibrahim Radwan, Omar Mohamed Makram, Tong Thi Thu Hien, Mahmoud Sherif, As-Saba Hossain
Background: Although protocol registration of systematic reviews/meta-analysis (SR/MA) is still not mandatory, authors are strongly suggested to publish their SR/MA protocols prior to submitting their manuscripts for publication as recommended by the Cochrane guidelines for conducting SR/MAs. We aimed to assess awareness, obstacles, and opinions of SR/MA authors about the protocol registration process. Methods: A cross-sectional survey study included all authors who published SR/MAs during the
... eriod from 2010 to 2016 were contacted for participation in our survey study. They were identified through the literature search of SR/MAs in Scopus database. Upon receiving their approval to join our study, an online questionnaire was sent via e-mail to each participant. We received 275 responses from 6650 successfully sent emails. Results: A total of 270 authors' responses were complete and were included in the final analysis. Our results showed that PROSPERO was the most commonly used database for protocol registration (71.3%). The registration-to-acceptance interval in PROSPERO was less than one month (99.1%). Almost half of the authors (44.2%) did not register their protocols prior to publishing their SR/MAs and their opinion that lack of knowledge of its importance and mandance to be registered was the most commonly reported reason (44.9%). A significant proportion of respondents (37.4%) believed that people would steal their ideas from protocol databases, while only 5.3% reported that their SR/MA had been stolen. However, the majority (72.9%) of participants agreed that protocol registries have a role in preventing unnecessary duplication of reviews. Finally, 37.4% of participants agreed that SR/MA protocol registration should be mandatory. Conclusion: About half of the participants seemed that the primary reason for not registering such protocols, that was not knowing that protocols must or should be mandatory. Therefore, tools should be available to mandate protocol registration of any SRs beforehand and increasing awareness about the benefits of protocol registration among researchers.