The continued growth of rapid reviews

A title search for rapid review in PubMed is interesting:

  • 2018 – 64 records
  • 2019 – 60 records
  • 2020 – 248 records
  • 2021 – 93 records, but we’re only three months in to the year, so that suggests around 370 records

I suspect Covid-19 is a big driver and if you search for rapid review[Title] AND covid-19 you get:

  • 2020 – 155 records (62.5%)
  • 2021 – 53 records (57%)

There’s nothing like a crisis to shake things up!

Interestingly, I’ve seen no comments highlighting the problems with rapid reviews that were so prevalent a few years back. It’s nice to see pragmatism being employed.

When Covid-19 is under control I have little doubt that the genie is out of the bottle and that RRs will be here to stay. Arguably the writing has been on the wall for years as many of the main players (SR producers) are rushing in to the RR world (spotting the trend and rushing in to maintain/protect their dominions). It wouldn’t surprise me if RRs became the dominant synthesis method while SRs are left for the more expensive/uncertain situations. Although technology might well throw all predictions out of the water!


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