Case study


International prospective register of systematic reviews

Increasing the value and reducing the waste of finite resources in biomedical research


PROSPERO is the only prospective register of systematic reviews with health-related outcomes that is completely free to use and open to all researchers planning to conduct a systematic review.

PROSPERO opened for registration in February 2011 and supports transparency, avoiding duplication of research effort, sharing data and information. Registered reviews are now being undertaken across 62 different countries and PROSPERO holds nearly 20,000 records with growth set to continue. 

The PROSPERO register increases the value of and reduces the waste of finite resources in biomedical research by advocating high standards of systematic reviewing and preventing the duplication of costly reviews.

Overall objectives of PROSPERO

The overall objectives of PROSPERO are to provide the best evidence base upon which health and social care decisions are made and to avoid costly duplication of reviews. 

A good example of how PROSPERO is being used to maximise resources is enabling health commissioning organisations, like NICE, to check online and in one place for supporting evidence before it produces health guidelines. This avoids the commissioning of duplicate reviews which typically cost in excess of £100,000 each. 

The role of Metaxis

To develop an international web-based data repository of prospectively registered systematic reviews in health, social care, welfare, public health, education, crime, justice and international development where there is a health-related outcome. Users create and update their own records (the content is the responsibility of the review lead), records are not peer reviewed but CRD administrators check each record for accuracy and readability, and a public audit trail of amendments is maintained as a permanent record. 

It is easy to use and has already enabled health commissioning organisations to search and collate evidence to support potential health guidelines, or check to see if any review is planned or in progress. In addition, where there is no evidence or planned review, these organisations can commission one safe in the knowledge that this vital but expensive process is not being duplicated.

By working closely with our client, and developing an easy to use data repository, Metaxis was able to deliver this global online facility relatively quickly. The remit also included integration with the Cochrane Library ensuring PROSPERO records are automatically updated with Cochrane protocols.

Key features:

  • Integrated front-end web interface and back-end management system
  • Interactive and easy to use including extensive online help
  • Sophisticated search interface
  • Comprehensive management interface streamlining group working, communications with all users and maintenance of comprehensive audit trail of all changes to records

Key benefits:

  • Compliance with PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews) including a unique registration number enabling tracking of subsequent use of the review and impact monitoring
  • Avoidance of costly duplications due to easy identification of ongoing or unpublished reviews searchable via topic of interest for commissioners and funders
  • Improved comparison studies for peer reviewers between manuscript findings and review protocols
  • Streamlined peer review process enabling journal editors to safeguard against reporting biases and utilize key protocol features more easily
  • Enhanced planning and timing for guideline development via better accessibility to forthcoming review information

About Metaxis Ltd

Metaxis is a software development company based in the UK specialising in content management solutions and workflow control software. Our solutions support digital collaborative working environments where multiple users, regardless of their global location, can access and interact with high quality, relevant data and information in a meaningful and productive way.

Metaxis provides bespoke solutions rooted in best practice Agile methodology. Its software design principles – rapid behaviour-driven development, high performance, close client collaboration and ease of use – underpin the company’s business ethos.  Metaxis makes short work of Big Data.

Metaxis Ltd, Elmbank Court, Main Road, Curbridge, Witney OX29 7NT, UK  Tel: +44 (0)1993 771740