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Living systematic review: 1. Introduction – the why, what, when, and how

Systematic reviews are difficult to keep up to date, but failure to do can lead to a decay in review currency, accuracy, and utility. In this article, members of the Living Systematic Review Network introduced a novel approach to systematic review updating termed ‘‘Living systematic review’’ (LSR): systematic reviews that are continually updated, incorporating relevant new evidence as it becomes available. LSRs may be particularly important for biomedical research where research evidence is emerging rapidly, current evidence is uncertain, and new research may change policy or practice decisions. The authors hypothesized that a continual approach to updating will achieve greater currency and validity, and increase the benefits to end users, with feasible resource requirements over time.

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