Systematic reviews are a crucial component of evidence-based medicine. They are products of the synthesis and appraisal of all high-quality research evidence relevant to focused questions and express both current knowledge and uncertainty. Over time, systematic reviews have increasingly informed recommendations of clinical guidelines, point-of-care tools, and other summaries on medical practice.
The Cochrane Collaboration is one of the most prominent organizations producing systematic reviews, and it does so on a nonprofit, independent basis. More than 5000 systematic reviews have been produced by the Collaboration, and these are available in full text at no cost to all health professionals in BC through the licensing efforts of the library consortium Electronic Health Library of BC (EHLBC). The College of Physicians and Surgeons is a member of EHLBC and thus makes the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews available to all registrants (see the College’s website at www.cpsbc.ca/library/search-medline-etc).
Another significant source of systematic reviews also available to College registrants is Clinical Evidence from the BMJ Publishing Group (see the web link above). The challenges of the rapid growth of clinical trial literature and the requirement for time, expertise, and resources has resulted in only a minority of research trials being systematically reviewed. Even so, 11 Cochrane reviews on hypertension were published in the last year ranging from the blood pressure–lowering effects of chocolate to the relative effectiveness of evening versus morning dosing of antihypertensive agents.
In addition to downloading these reviews from the College website, any registrant who requires a copy of a Cochrane or Clinical Evidence review or, in fact, any article may request a copy from the College Library at 604 733-6671 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is the opinion of the Library of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC and has not been peer reviewed by the BCMJ Editorial Board.
Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee
of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally
accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
About the ICMJE and citation styles
The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.
An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.
BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:
- Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
- There is no period after the journal name.
- Page numbers are not abbreviated.
For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org