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Systematic Reviews: Create a Protocol

Step 2: Create a Protocol

A systematic review protocol states your rationale, hypothesis, and planned methodology. Members of the team then use the protocol as a guide for conducting the research. It is recommended that you register your protocol before conducting your review. Registering your protocol will improve transparency as well as alerting other researchers of your intentions so efforts are not duplicated.

Start Writing Your Protocol with this Template

UK Libraries has developed a protocol development tool that is freely available to UK faculty, staff, and students. You will find a template with detailed guidance and examples. You will also find links back to various sections of this guide. Please do not use DMPTool to register your protocol, you will need to download the PDF and register it. You can read more about registering further down on this page.

The first step in using the protocol template is to login to DMPTool. Use this link and your uky.edu email to login:
After logging in to DMPTool click the link below for the template to be automatically created:

Why Write a Protocol

A systematic review protocol states your rationale, hypothesis, and planned methodology.  Members of the team then use the protocol as a guide for conducting the research.  It is recommended that you register your protocol before conducting your review.  Registering your protocol will improve transparency as well as alerting other researchers of your intentions so efforts are not duplicated.

Systematic Review

PROSPERO

Alexander Flannery, Chad Venn. Healthcare Exposures Preceding Hospitalization with Sepsis: A Systematic Review. PROSPERO 2020 CRD42020216759 Available from: https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/display_record.php?ID=CRD42020216759

Scoping Review

OSF Registration and Publication

Lauren E. Robinson, Hannah Yeager, Carina M. Zelaya, Nancy Schoenberg. A scoping review on Internet-based interventions for vulnerable rural populations: A protocol. https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/QBT3N

What's the Difference between Registering & Publishing

A systematic review protocol can either be registered or published.  There are only a few journals that publish systematic review protocols.  Registering your protocol in an publicly accessible database is encouraged so that other authors will not complete a review on your topic.  It is a best practice to search for publicly registered reviews on your topic before starting the review process.  Registering your protocol helps to avoid unintended duplication of reviews and increases transparency.

Systematic Review

BMJ Open Publication

Lawrence, K. A., Pachner, T. M., Long, M. M., Henderson, S., Schuman, D. L., & Plassman, B. L. (2020). Risk and protective factors of dementia among adults with post-traumatic stress disorder: a systematic review protocol. BMJ Open, 10(6), e035517. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-035517

Scoping Review

OSF Registration and Publication

Skaggs, Peyton; F. Douglas Scutchfield; Robinson, Lauren E.; Bell, Sarah Beth.  A Scoping Review Examining Providers’ Stigmas and the Effects on Patients with Opioid Use Disorder: A Protocol. https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/UMJA

Where to Register a Protocol

Where to Publish a Protocol

Standards & Guidelines