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I have recently submitted a systematic review (SR) to a journal. One of the reviewers pointed out, that my SR was not registered in Prospero, an international prospective register of systematic reviews. While I agree it would have been of good practice to register my SR, my current understanding is that registration of SR is not yet mandatory¹.

How can I address this reviewer’s remark?


¹Booth A, Clarke M, Dooley G, et al. The nuts and bolts of PROSPERO: an international prospective register of systematic reviews. Systematic Reviews. 2012;1:2

  • If you don't think it's mandatory, and you don't want to do it, just say it's intentionnal ? – Gautier C Jun 22 '16 at 11:48
  • Thanks for your reply Gautier C. The thing is, even if I wanted to register now, it probably makes less sense as I should have done it before starting my SR... Well, lesson learned... – P. Coleman Jun 22 '16 at 11:53
  • Hum I see. But if the reviewer is saying it, that means he thinks you may want to register in it ? – Gautier C Jun 22 '16 at 11:56
  • Thanks Gautier C. From my understanding, this database is used when you plan to undertake a SR, in order to avoid having duplicate SR and to reduce reporting bias. I am not sure if registration in this database makes sense once the SR is finished and submitted for publication. But I am going to double check this. Thanks Gautier C for your valuable input! – P. Coleman Jun 22 '16 at 12:09
  • I will create an answer based of what you said, hoping maybe people will add some infos to my answer ;) – Gautier C Jun 22 '16 at 12:20
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First of all, If you don't think it's mandatory, and you don't want to do it, just say it's intentionnal.

Since, as you said in comments, this database is apparently used when you plan to undertake a SR, it would have no value for you to register in it, since you are already in SR.

But you may ask the reviewer why he got the urge for saying that , and if he thinks it would be interesting for you to register on it anyway.

  • I do not work in a discipline that can use PROSPERO, but personally I do not find appropriate to ask the reviewer why "he got the urge for saying that". The fact that this research was not pre-registered automatically makes it less trustworthy than a pre-registered one, so to me it looks like a meaningful remark to make in a review. It's not something the author can address now, but it is a perfectly normal part of a thorough evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the paper. – Federico Poloni Aug 21 '16 at 14:02

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