Meta-ResearchWe aim to bring evidence to translational medicine and toxicology. We do so by performing research and providing education on the principles of research rigour and robustness. Our systematic review experts develop, apply and disseminate the methodology of systematic review across evidence streams, including animal studies and clinical trials.
Training and education
We offer a variety of trainings on systematic review, systematic searching, critical appraisal, meta-analysis and the principles of research rigor and robustness.
Trainings we offer (online or face-to-face)
- Workshops on systematic review of animal studies (1 day or 2 half days)
- Workshop on comprehensive searching (±2 days)
- Workshop on critical appraisal of primary studies (±1.5 days)
- Workshop on meta-analysis (±2 days)
- Summer School on the principles of research rigor and robustness in animal studies (±4 half days, online only)
Please contact us for more details or if you are interested in organizing a training.
Institutes in The Netherlands can apply for funding to organize a systematic review workshop
To increase awareness and boost the implementation of systematic reviews of animals studies, ZonMW offers funding for Dutch institutes to host our workshop Systematic review of animal studies (in-house or online). For more information, please refer to the ZonMW website (MKMD program) or contact us. The current deadline for submission is December 2021, for workshops to be organized in end of 2021 or in 2022.
Start your own systematic review of animal studies and get us on board
To further stimulate the implementation of systematic reviews of animals studies, researchers affiliated with Dutch research institutes can apply for funding to perform their own systematic review of animal studies, in collaboration with one of our experts. For more information, please refer to the ZonMW website (MKMD program) or contact us.
Our experts have developed a free, online e-learning module on systematic reviews of animal studies. Click here to sign up (use the registration code “syrcle”)
Support and coaching
Do you need help in conducting your systematic review? Our experts can provide coaching during various steps of the process, such as:
- Help with formulating a suitable and specific research question
- Advice on setting up a protocol for your review and how to preregister it
- Feedback on your comprehensive search strategy
- Help with translating search strategies between databases, e.g. from Pubmed to Embase
- Choosing and using the correct critical appraisal tool
- Advice on whether it is possible to perform a meta-analysis and, if so, which type of meta-analysis
Support can be provided in face-to-face meetings and/or online meetings. Researchers affiliated with Dutch research institutes can apply for funding to perform their systematic review of animal studies in collaboration with one of our experts. For more information, please refer to the ZonMW website (MKMD program) or contact us.
Our upcoming workshops
- October 11th: 1 day on site workshop “Systematic review of animal studies” at the BPRC, The Netherlands
- November 25th: 1 day on site workshop “Systematic review of animal studies” at the Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Find more information here, and register here.
- November 15th: 1 day on site workshop “Systematic review of animal studies” at the Utrecht University Medical Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands
- December 12th - 13th: 2 half-days online workshop “Systematic review of animal studies” for the University of Zurich, Switzerland.
Tools and guidelines
0. Starting guide
This tool provides practical guidance in how to design, plan and conduct your own systematic reviews (and meta-analysis) of animal studies. It is largely based on the experience we obtained at SYRCLE over the last 10 years in our own reseach and supervising systematic reviews of animal studies. Note: we recommend training and coaching by an expert when conducting your first SR of animal studies.
A protocol format for the preparation, registration and publication of systematic reviews of animal intervention studies. Here you can read a full text paper (Wiley library) and download a fillable protocol format.
SYRCLE had developed various search tools for finding all relevant primary animal studies.
- Step-by-step search guide
- A practical step-by-step guide to develop a systematic search to identify all relevant animal studies. Click here for the full publication (Leenaars et al. 2012)
- Search filters
3. Risk of Bias assessment
SYRCLE developed a first draft for a tool (Hooijmans et al, 2018) for rating the certainty in the evidence of preclinical animal studies in the context of therapeutic interventions (based on the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach, the most widely used framework to rate the certainty in the evidence and strength of health care recommendations).
SYRCLE developed a database of animal systematic review publications. This database compiles systematic reviews of animal studies (i.e., reviews that focused exclusively on non-human animal research, or reviews that included animal studies along with human studies). This database was developed using a rigorous, systematic approach and it covers a broad range of research fields: preclinical research, toxicology, environmental health, and veterinary medicine. The database can be found here, and the publication concerning this database here.
Up to 2020, protocols for systematic reviews could be registered here. Protocol registration is now closed, since several more tailored registries are available. We recommend the following registries for protocol registration:
Systematic review protocols registered with the Radboudumc between 2014 and 2020 are archived here.
- Gkrouzoudi et al. (2020) A systematic review on the implementation and reporting of refinements in mouse telemetry implantation surgery using electrocardiography (ECG) recording devices. SR Protocol and Search strategy
- Durst et al. (2020) Systematic review on surgical embryo transfer in laboratory mice. Protocol and Search strategy.
- Rathnadiwakra et al. (2020) Development of immunity in animals following Anti-rabies vaccination: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol
- Gabryela et al. (2020) Factors associated with Visceral Leishmaniasis in dogs in the American continent: an update of existing systematic reviews and meta-analysis – Protocol.
- Barabas and Gaskill (2020) A systematic review on intra-species olfactory signals and social behaviour in captive mammals. Protocol
- Terstappen et. al. (2018) L-Arginine during pregnancy – a preclinical meta-analysis on fetal growth and maternal blood pressure
- da Costa et. al. (2018) Molecular and serological surveys of canine distemper virus: a cohort study and meta-analysis (Original protocol) and (Updated protocol)
- Menon et al. (2017) Quantification of translational success: rates of concordance between the results of animal experiments and human trials – A systematized review
- Hollyer et al. (2017) The role of lactate in cerebral microvascular physiology: a systematic review
- Menon et al. (2017) Neurotransmitters and metabolites in brain microdialysates under sleep, circadian rhythms and sleep deprivation conditions – A systematic review
- Flávia Sordi et al. (2017) Effect of High Intensity Interval Training on the body composition of obese rodents: a systematic review with meta-analysis
- Abunar et al (2017) Stem cells therapy for chronic temporal lobe epilepsy: a systematic review and meta-analysis of animal studies
- Adil et al (2017) Effect of anti-diabetic drugs on bone: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis of animal studies
- Roemers et al. (2017) Cognitive deficits in targeted knock-in APOE4 mice: A systemic review
- Turner et al. (2017) The use of carbon dioxide as a method for euthanasia of laboratory mice and rats– a systematic review
- Ineichen et al. (2017) Remyelination promoting therapies in multiple sclerosis animal models: a systematic review and meta-analysis
- de Haan et al (2017) Animal models of adverse cardiac remodeling after transverse aortic constriction: the influence of species, strain and sex
- Jäkel et al (2017) Relevance of animal models to human cerebral amyloid angiopathy and microbleeds (preliminary title)
- See Hoe et al (2017) Animal models of heart transplantation from brain dead donors: A systematic review
- Smit et al (2017) Hyperoxic Vasconstriction (working title)Search strategy
- Al-Waeli et al (2017) Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs and bone healing in animal Models - Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
- Menting et al (2017) What are the post-natal effects of maternal (pre-)pregnancy obesity on the offspring? Evidence from animal studies
- Leenaars et al (2017) Amino acids in microdialysates
- Koster et al (2017) Animal models of retinal pigment epithelium transplantation: a systematic review
- Da Silva et al (2017) A meta-analysis of ethanol withdrawal effects on anxiety-like behaviour in zebrafish
- Flávia Sordi et al (2017) Effect of High Intensity Interval Training on the body composition of obese rodents: a systematic review with meta-analysis
- Draper et al (2017). The effect of analgesics and anaesthetics on the severity of CIPN in animal models
- Rando et al (2016) The effects of perinatal SSRI exposure on neurodevelopmental outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of mammalian animal studies Suppl file: search strategy
- Gadgil et al (2016) Chemotherapy induced (peripheral) polyneuropathy: A systematic review in animal studies
- Camargo et al (2016) Diabetes mellitus and bone regeneration: a systematic review and meta-analysis of animal studies
- Jape et al (2016) A systematic review of probiotics and experimental necrotizing enterocolitis
- Fliefel et al (2016) Gene Therapy For Bone Defects In Oral And Maxillofacial Surgery: A Systematic Review And Meta-Analysis
- Millar et al (2016) Animal models of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) supported by Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO): A systematic review
- Deckers et al (2016) The protective effect of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction on articular cartilage: a systematic review of animal studies
- Kruit et al (2016) Extracorporeal perfusion of free tissue flaps and limbs – a systematic review
- Paulino da Silva Filho et al (2016) The Most Suitable Form to Delivery Antisense Oligonucleotides for Heritable Neurodegenerative and Neuromuscular Diseases Treatment: a Systematic Review
- Prata de Oliveira et al (2016) Natural products for experimental orofacial pain and temporomandibular joint disorders: a systematic review [Provisional title] - Updated protocol
- Wever et al (2016) Stem cell therapy in renal ischemia-reperfusion injury
- Leenaars et al (2016) Experimental design in methotrexate efficacy studies for rheumatoid arthritis
- Sadati et al (2016) Medicinal plants and Natural Compounds in the treatment of experimental endometriosis: a systematic review
- van der Mierden et al (2016) Adenosine concentrations in microdialysates
- Jellestad et al (2016) Are we overestimating the utility of hair glucocorticoids? A systematic review exploring the empirical evidence supporting hair glucocorticoids as a measure of stress.
- Sridharan et al (2016) Herbal medicines and dietary supplements in the management of diabetes mellitus: A systematic review of animal studies
- Moreira de Britto et al (2016) Natural plants in the treatment of experimentalmyocardial injury: a systematic review [provisional title]
- Haugland et al (2016) Systemic factor effects on orthodontically induced inflammatory root resorption: A systematic literature review [provisional title].
- den Boogert et al (2015) Pre- and postconditioning methods in traumatic brain injury - A systematic review of animal studies.
- Leenaars et al (2015) Animal models for studying potential cystic fibrosis treatments ‐ A systematic review.
- Gomes Santana et al (2015) Natural plants in the treatment of experimental acute pancreatitis: a systematic review.
- Hooijmans et al (2015) A Systematic Review of the Modifying Effect of Anaesthetic Drugs on Metastasis in Animal Models for Cancer. Suppl file: Search Strategy
- Mihajlovic et al (2015) Safety of using immortalized cell lines as treatment cell therapy in animal models for kidney diseases
- Schneider et al (2015) Assessment of lower urinary tract function in rodents: a systematic review for consensus statement on terminology and normal values. Suppl file: Embase Search Strategy
- Wever et al (2015) Discomfort due to toe and ear clipping in rodents
- Bricca et al (2015) Impact of exercise on knee joint cartilage structure in animals - a systematic review
- Wassenaar et al (2015) The effects of early-life exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals on obesity development in rodents: a systematic review.
- Hesen et al (2015) Effects of metformin on ischemic myocardial injury
- Hooijmans et al (2015) Does analgesic treatment reduce the number or incidence of metastasis in experimental cancer?
- Khatib et al (2015) Effect of Ghrelin on food intake and body composition in experimental rat and mice models of cancer cachexia
- Jonker et al (2015) Ischemic postconditioning of the kidney – a systematic review of animal studies
- Li et al (2015) Anti-tumor effects of Metformin in Animal Models of Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
- Strik et al. (2014) The efficacy of anti-adhesive barriers in preventing adhesion formation and reformation in animals: a systematic review and meta-analysis
- Belgers et al (2014) The effects of ibogaine on drug use in the animal model of addiction, a systematic review and meta-analysis
- Rongen et al. (2014) The translational gap in research about meniscus allograft
- Yan et al (2014) Cell-based approaches in periodontal regeneration: A systematic review and meta-analysis of animal studies