The REPRISE project: protocol for an evaluation of REProducibility and Replicability In Syntheses of Evidence
Page MJ., Moher D., Fidler FM., Higgins JPT., Brennan SE., Haddaway NR., Hamilton DG., Kanukula R., Karunananthan S., Maxwell LJ., McDonald S., Nakagawa S., Nunan D., Tugwell P., Welch VA., McKenzie JE.
Background: Investigations of transparency, reproducibility and replicability in science have been directed largely at individual studies. It is just as critical to explore these issues in syntheses of studies, such as systematic reviews, given their influence on decision-making and future research. We aim to explore various aspects relating to the transparency, reproducibility and replicability of several components of systematic reviews with meta-analysis of the effects of health, social, behavioural and educational interventions. Methods: The REPRISE (REProducibility and Replicability In Syntheses of Evidence) project consists of four studies. We will evaluate the completeness of reporting and sharing of review data, analytic code and other materials in a random sample of 300 systematic reviews of interventions published in 2020 (Study 1). We will survey authors of systematic reviews to explore their views on sharing review data, analytic code and other materials and their understanding of and opinions about replication of systematic reviews (Study 2). We will then evaluate the extent of variation in results when we (a) independently reproduce meta-analyses using the same computational steps and analytic code (if available) as used in the original review (Study 3), and (b) crowdsource teams of systematic reviewers to independently replicate a subset of methods (searches for studies, selection of studies for inclusion, collection of outcome data, and synthesis of results) in a sample of the original reviews; 30 reviews will be replicated by 1 team each and 2 reviews will be replicated by 15 teams (Study 4). Discussion: The REPRISE project takes a systematic approach to determine how reliable systematic reviews of interventions are. We anticipate that results of the REPRISE project will inform strategies to improve the conduct and reporting of future systematic reviews.