Associate Librarian University at Buffalo Buffalo, New York
Objectives: This study will determine the scope of experience, roles, and challenges librarians face in dental and oral health systematic and scoping reviews. The study aims to establish the current level of librarian involvement with reviews in this environment. The data obtained will inform outreach efforts to subject researchers as well as identify areas for librarians’ professional development.
Methods: The authors developed a 23-item survey based on the findings of two recently published articles about health science librarian roles and challenges in systematic and scoping reviews. The survey was distributed via electronic mailing list to librarians who were likely to have participated in conducting these reviews. After being open for two weeks, the survey was closed and descriptive analysis was performed on the results.
Results: While respondents had worked on a wide range of reviews, working with systematic reviews was more common than working with scoping reviews. Work with dental and oral health reviews were less common than non-dental reviews. Librarian roles in these reviews tended to follow traditional librarian roles: every respondent had worked in planning and information retrieval portions of reviews, while fewer respondents had worked in screening and assessing results. The most frequently reported challenges were with the lead researcher or the research team, rather than the librarian themselves, and challenges with time and methodology were common.
Conclusions: Systematic and scoping reviews are growing rapidly in popularity, and librarians are not often involved in them. However, further librarian involvement in dental and oral health reviews, either as methodologists or as information experts in more reviews, may improve the overall quality of these reviews.