The risk of conclusion change in systematic review updates can be estimated by learning from a database of published examples

Rabia Bashir*, Didi Surian, Adam G. Dunn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: To determine which systematic review characteristics are needed to estimate the risk of conclusion change in systematic review updates. Study Design and Setting: We applied classification trees (a machine learning method) to model the risk of conclusion change in systematic review updates, using pairs of systematic reviews and their updates as samples. The classifiers were constructed using a set of features extracted from systematic reviews and the relevant trials added in published updates. Model performance was measured by recall, precision, and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC). Results: We identified 63 pairs of systematic reviews and updates, of which 20 (32%) exhibited a change in conclusion in their updates. A classifier using information about new trials exhibited the highest performance (AUC: 0.71; recall: 0.75; precision: 0.43) compared to a classifier that used fewer features (AUC: 0.65; recall: 0.75; precision: 0.39). Conclusion: When estimating the risk of conclusion change in systematic review updates, information about the sizes of trials that will be added in an update are most useful. Future tools aimed at signaling conclusion change risks would benefit from complementary tools that automate screening of relevant trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-49
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Volume110
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

Keywords

  • Automation of systematic reviews
  • Classification trees
  • Clinical trial registries
  • Machine learning
  • Systematic reviews as topic
  • Updating systematic reviews

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