The review team is composed of the individuals who will manage and conduct the review. The objective of organizing the review team is to pull together a group of researchers as well as key users and stakeholders who have the necessary skills and clinical content knowledge to produce a high-quality SR. Many tasks in the SR process should be performed by multiple individuals with a range of expertise (e.g., searching for studies, understanding primary study methods and SR methods, synthesizing findings, performing meta-analysis). Perceptions of the review team’s trustworthiness and knowledge of real-world decision making are also important for the final product to be used confidently by patients and clinicians in healthcare decisions. The challenge is in identifying all of the required areas of expertise and selecting individuals with these skills who are neither conflicted nor biased and who are perceived as trustworthy by the public.
This section of the chapter presents the committee’s recommended standards for organizing the review team. It begins with background on issues that are most salient to setting standards for establishing the review team: the importance of a multidisciplinary review team, the role of the team leader, and bias and COI. The rationale for the recommended standards follows. Subsequent sections address standards for involving various users and stakeholders in the SR process, formulating the topic of the SR, and developing the SR protocol. The evidence base for these initial steps in the SR process is sparse. The committee developed the standards by reviewing existing expert guidance and weighing the alternatives according to the committee’s agreed-on criteria, especially the importance of improving the acceptability and patient-centeredness of publicly funded SRs (see Chapter 1 for a full discussion of the criteria).
The review team should be capable of defining the clinical question and performing the technical aspects of the review. It should be multidisciplinary, with experts in SR methodology, including risk of bias, study design, and data analysis; librarians or information specialists trained in searching bibliographic databases for SRs; and clinical content experts. Other relevant users and stakeholders should be included as feasible (CRD, 2009; Higgins and Green, 2008; Slutsky et al., 2010). A single member of the review team can have multiple areas of expertise (e.g., SR methodology and quantitative analysis). The size of the team will depend on the number and com-