PRISMA-S: An extension to the PRISMA statement for reporting literature searches in systematic reviews


Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: Literature searches underlie the foundations of systematic reviews and related review types. Yet, the literature searching component of systematic reviews and related review types is often poorly reported. Guidance for literature search reporting has been diverse and, in many cases, does not offer enough detail to authors who need more specific information about reporting search methods and information sources in a clear, reproducible way. This document presents the PRISMA-S (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses literature search extension) checklist, and explanation and elaboration. Methods: The checklist was developed using a three-stage Delphi survey process, followed by a consensus conference and public review process. Results: The final checklist includes sixteen reporting items, each of which is detailed with exemplar reporting and rationale. Conclusions: The intent of PRISMA-S is to complement the PRISMA Statement and its extensions by providing a checklist that could be used by interdisciplinary authors, editors, and peer reviewers to verify that each component of a search is completely reported and, therefore, reproducible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-200
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of the Medical Library Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Melissa L. Rethlefsen was funded in part by the University of Utah’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science under the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health Award Number UL1TR002538 in 2017–2018. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Funding Information:
David Moher is supported by a University Research Chair, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.

Funding Information:
Shona Kirtley was funded by Cancer Research UK (grant C49297/A27294). The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Cancer Research UK.

Funding Information:
Matthew J. Page is supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DE200101618).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Medical Library Association. All rights reserved.


  • Information retrieval
  • Literature search
  • Reporting guidelines
  • Reproducibility
  • Search strategies
  • Systematic reviews


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