Novel citation-based search method for scientific literature: application to meta-analyses.

TitleNovel citation-based search method for scientific literature: application to meta-analyses.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsJanssens CA, Gwinn M
JournalBMC medical research methodology
Date Published2015 Oct 13
KeywordsData Collection; Databases, Bibliographic; Humans; Meta-Analysis as Topic; Publications
AbstractBACKGROUND: Finding eligible studies for meta-analysis and systematic reviews relies on keyword-based searching as the gold standard, despite its inefficiency. Searching based on direct citations is not sufficiently comprehensive. We propose a novel strategy that ranks articles on their degree of co-citation with one or more "known" articles before reviewing their eligibility. METHOD: In two independent studies, we aimed to reproduce the results of literature searches for sets of published meta-analyses (n = 10 and n = 42). For each meta-analysis, we extracted co-citations for the randomly selected 'known' articles from the Web of Science database, counted their frequencies and screened all articles with a score above a selection threshold. In the second study, we extended the method by retrieving direct citations for all selected articles. RESULTS: In the first study, we retrieved 82% of the studies included in the meta-analyses while screening only 11% as many articles as were screened for the original publications. Articles that we missed were published in non-English languages, published before 1975, published very recently, or available only as conference abstracts. In the second study, we retrieved 79% of included studies while screening half the original number of articles. CONCLUSIONS: Citation searching appears to be an efficient and reasonably accurate method for finding articles similar to one or more articles of interest for meta-analysis and reviews.
Alternate JournalBMC Med Res Methodol