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
- March 6th 2024: 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.
- September 2nd and 3rd: two half days online workshop “Systematic review of animal studies” for the Swiss Network for Education in Laboratory Animal Science, please contact us if you would like to join.
Workshops conducted for the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA):
- March 12th, 13th, 19th and 20th (4 mornings online): EFSA SR trainings course 1 “Information Retrieval Techniques and Search Strategy Design for scientific assessments”.
- June 24th, 25th, July 1st and 2nd (4 mornings online): EFSA SR trainings course 2 “Critical appraisal of evidence”.
- September 30th to October 2nd (2 days on site): EFSA SR trainings course 3: “Article Selection, Data Extraction, Synthesis and Interpretation”
Please contact us if you would like to join one of these workshops.
Is your preferred option not on this list? We offer a variety of in-house and online trainings which can be organised at your institute, check them out here.
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:
We are the Dutch National Coordinating Center of CAMARADES, the Collaborative Approach to Meta-Analysis and Review of Animal Data from Experimental Studies. CAMARADES is global network of 7 NCCs, providing support to researchers to systematically review data from experimental animal studies. This includes best practice methodological assistance and access to collaborative tools, such as our online review facility SyRF and the Preclinical SR WiKi.