Monday, September 22, 2014

Journal Club: Engaging Medical Librarians to Improve the Quality of Review Articles

Edit: Transcript available at 

#medlibs Journal Club Chat
Thursday, September 25, 2014
9:00 pm Eastern / 6:00 pm Pacific
Led by Tony Nguyen & Ryan Madanick, MD

We're having a special Journal Club discussion this Thursday! #medlibs and #meded are having a joint discussion on the following article:

Rethlefsen ML, Murad MH, Livingston EH. Engaging medical librarians to improve the quality of review articles. JAMA. 2014 Sep 10; 312(10):999-1000. doi: 10.1001/jama.2014.9263. PMID: 25203078. Accessed September 22, 2014. Available at:

TOPIC 1: How can librarians & academic physicians best collaborate in performing and drafting systematic reviews?

TOPIC 2: How can journals require syst reviews to have such strict standards w despite lmted resources ($, demand for #medlibs, etc)? Medical librarians are already experts at literature searching, while physicians rarely are.

TOPIC 3: To what degree should medical & other healthcare students/trainees learn such skills vs collaborate w librarians?

TOPIC 4: How can interprofessional education at various levels of training include librarians to foster better engagement?

Co-author Melissa Rethlefsen's thoughts:

  • The article was written to be a JAMA standard for authors writing systematic and other types of review article. Should the standards be so high for non-systematic reviews?
  • What are the best ways for librarians to collaborate with physicians and other review authors?
  • Do medical libraries have the capacity to handle the potential demand for our services?
  • Do all medical librarians need to brush off their expert searching skills, or can we continue to be specialized?
  • Searching services might be costly at some institutions or not available. How will the inequity in services affect review authors?
  • The article strongly encourages librarians to be co-authors. What is the most effective way to become an author versus acknowledged?
  • Many review article authors use librarian to do searches, but don't credit them, even with an acknowledgment. How can we change that culture?
  • Librarians have already begun peer-reviewing systematic review journal submissions. It may become more common. How should that impact the training researchers receive?
  • JAMA included medical librarians as part of the clinical research team; can inter-professional education including librarians help foster better engagement?
  • The article was not focused on systematic reviews, but many of the techniques included are based on systematic review methodology. Are expert reviews dead?
  • Training health care professional students to become expert searches on the level needed for a systematic review is not desirable. When, if ever, should we teach those skills?
  • How can we encourage other journals to adopt similarly rigorous standards that require medical librarian engagement? 

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