Background: There are a growing number of overviews of reviews or umbrella reviews- articles aimed at summarising evidence from multiple systematic reviews on a similar topic. Current standards or reporting frameworks are ill-equipped in ensuring consistency of reporting of overviews of reviews including the sufficiently described quality of primary studies, the amount of overlap, internal validity and generalisability. Hence researchers need a unique set of guidelines in place when designing and reporting overviews of reviews. To the best of our knowledge no reporting guidelines exist which outline the key items to be considered when describing overviews of systematic reviews or umbrella reviews in healthcare.
Objectives: Our objective is to develop recommendations for reporting overviews of systematic reviews or umbrella reviews, based on the need to extend the 27-item PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) checklist.
Methods: While developing this research programme, we aim to adhere to the Guidance for Developers of Health Research Reporting Guidelines as outlined by Moher et al. 2010. The following stages are planned for the development process. First, we will conduct a systematic review of the literature to seek relevant evidence on the quality of reporting overviews of systematic reviews or umbrella reviews of healthcare. Secondly, a sample of 100 participants will be invited to take part in a Delphi exercise to reach a consensus on essential items to be included while reporting overviews of systematic reviews. Thirdly, the development, and piloting of the Standards for Reporting of Overviews of Systematic Reviews (STROVI) statement and publishing an explanatory document is predicted.
Results: We anticipate that the final result will be the creation of the STROVI statement and explanation and elaboration paper.
Conclusions: The developing of overview of reviews or umbrella reviews, have been impeded due to insufficient reporting and incompleteness. The standardised reporting of overviews of reviews is aimed at advancing the field; guiding future researchers; and publishers.