The protocol for the Open-Meta demonstration project, Effect of daily vitamin D3 supplementation on human health and performance; protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis, has been published on PROSPERO – the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews. I thought registration was immediate, but I submitted the information on March 23 and I received notice that the registration had been accepted yesterday, April 2.
According to PROSPERO’s about page, PROSPERO is an international database of prospectively registered systematic reviews in health and social care, welfare, public health, education, crime, justice, and international development, where there is a health related outcome.
Open-Meta itself could accept any type of systematic review and meta-analysis, not just those with health outcomes. In the Open-Meta process, protocol registration should be the opening step.
Protocols of systematic reviews and meta-analyses allow for planning and documentation of review methods, act as a guard against arbitrary decision making during review conduct, enable readers to assess for the presence of selective reporting against completed reviews, and, when made publicly available, reduce duplication of efforts and potentially prompt collaboration (Shamseer et al., 2015, p. 1).
Here’s some additional information on this topic from the Open-Meta Proposal:
A systematic review is a special type of literature review. Systematic reviews, which can be done with or without meta-analysis, are designed to control researcher bias (Chalmers, Hedges, & Cooper, 2002). Instead of allowing a reviewer to cherry-pick literature that the reviewer agrees with, a systematic review requires the reviewer to explicitly state the strategy that will be used to discover studies (with the goal of including all relevant studies in the analysis). The reviewer must also explicitly state the criteria that will be used for including and excluding discovered studies from the review. Ideally, before the actual review process begins, the reviewer must detail this strategy and these criteria, along with additional information about the proposed review process, in an online registry. If any changes are made to the proposed process, they must be explained as part of the review itself. Again, the purpose of this process is to control reviewer bias.