What is a 2weekSR?

A 2 week systematic review (2weekSR) is a full systematic review (SR) done to a high methodological standard following all the normal systematic review processes, completed in a vastly shortened time frame. The 2weekSRs combine the following elements: a team with complementary SR skills, previous SR experience, systematic review automation (SRA) tools, and agile development processes. These factors allow for the completion of an accelerated SR in extremely shortened time frames – generally in 2 weeks.

Advancing systematic reviews to the point where they can be completed in two weeks has long been a dream of Paul Glasziou, Director of the Institute for Evidence-Based Healthcare (IEBH). When he mentioned that goal again in late 2018, several members of the IEBH team felt that IEBH’s automation and methodological development programmes were sufficiently advanced to attempt to complete a full systematic review in 2 weeks (2weekSR).

Therefore, a team of four experienced systematic reviewers with complementary skills attempted to complete a 2weekSR in January 2019: an epidemiologist (Anna Mae Scott), an information specialist (Justin Clark) and two clinician-researchers (Chris Del Mar and Paul Glasziou).

A topic was chosen, the team was set loose, and the clock started ticking at 9:30am on 21 January 2019.

The final product was a full systematic review using standard methodology, completed at 12:10pm on Friday, 1 February - 9 working days (11 calendar days) later. After taking a well-earned long weekend off, the team submitted the systematic review for publication on 5 February - 14 calendar days after starting the systematic review.

The results of this methodological race against the clock were written up and published in the British Journal of General Practice (the systematic review itself), and the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology (the processes and methods paper).

A Full Systematic Review Was Completed in 2 Weeks Using Automation Tools: A Case Study


Abstract Our aim was to describe the process, facilitators, and barriers to completing the first 2-week full SR. We systematically reviewed evidence of the impact of increased fluid intake, on urinary tract infection (UTI) recurrence, in individuals at risk for UTIs. The review was conducted by experienced systematic reviewers with complementary skills (two researcher clinicians, an information specialist, and an epidemiologist), using Systematic Review Automation tools, and blocked off time for the duration of the project. The SR was completed in 61 person-hours (9 workdays; 12 calendar days); accepted version of the manuscript required 71 person-hours. In conclusion, a small and experienced team, using Systematic Review Automation tools, who have protected time to focus solely on the SR can complete a moderately sized SR in 2 weeks.

Download colour coded PDF

SR task no.


SR Domain

Skill needed



Lead in time


Supervisor support

Time spent completing other work to allow SR authors to focus on the 2 week SR


SR design meetings


SR methodology

Time spent refining the idea, determining feasibility, assembling the team, planning timelines, deciding on roles (who's responsible for oversight, coordination and documentation) and provide information on SRA tools


Daily administrative meetings


SR methodology

Short daily meetings to review progress, discuss issues and document decisions


Formulate SR question


Content expertise & SR methodology

Final decision on the research question (PICO)


Find and review existing or upcoming SRs

Data collection

Information specialist & content expertise

Search for and review existing SRs that answers the same or a similar question.


Write the SR protocol


Content expertise & SR methodology

Provide an objective, reproducible, sound methodology for the SR, then register the protocol


Design data extraction form

Data analysis

Content expertise & SR methodology

Design forms for extracting study characteristics and test their usefulness/applicability


Obtain set of relevant studies

Data collection

Content expertise & information specialist

Identify a small sample of studies relevant to the review, to aid with designing the search and data extraction form.


Design systematic search strategy

Data collection

Information specialist & Content expertise

Design search strategy to find all relevant information(choose databases; develop search string)


Run systematic search strings

Data collection

Information specialist

Run search strings in databases, trial registries, collate results in reference management system (e.g. EndNote)


Deduplicate results

Data collection

Information specialist

Remove duplicate citations


Screen abstracts

Data selection

Content expertise & SR methodology

Screen titles and abstracts, exclude irrelevant citations, resolve disputes


Obtain full text

Data collection

Information specialist

Download full text studies, request copies from authors, interlibrary loan


Screen full text

Data selection

Content expertise & SR methodology

Screen full text of articles, exclude irrelevant citations, resolve disputes


Screen trial registries

Data selection

Content expertise & SR methodology

Based on title and text in the trial registry entry: exclude irrelevant citations, resolve disputes


Citation analysis

Data collection

Content expertise & SR methodology

Follow citations, cited and citing, from included studies to find additional relevant studies


Screen citation analysis

Data selection

Content expertise & SR methodology

Screen titles and abstracts, and full texts exclude irrelevant citations, resolve disputes


Extract data

Data analysis

Content expertise & SR methodology

Extract study characteristics and relevant outcomes plan data presentation? - how will things be presented in the paper? Loai and I spent a while discussing and trying to work that out


Risk of Bias assessment

Data analysis

SR methodology

Assess the potential biases in included studies


Synthesise data

Data analysis

SR methodology & statistics

Convert extracted outcome data to common representation (usually mean and SD)



Data analysis

SR methodology & statistics

Statistically combine the results using meta-analysis or other statistical synthesis


GRADE evidence

Data analysis

SR methodology & statistics

Optional: rate the certainty of evidence for a treatment efficacy from high to very low


Summary of findings

Data analysis

Content expertise & SR methodology

Optional: summarise the main findngs of the SR in a table


Update systematic search strategy

Data collection

Information specialist

Optional: repeat the search to find new studies published since the initial search, especially if search more than a year old


Write introduction


Content expertise

Revise the introduction section from the SR protocol


Write methods


SR methodology

Revise the methods section from the SR protocol


Write results


Content expertise & SR methodology

Write the results section of the SR


Write discussion


Content expertise

Write the discussion and conclusion sections of the SR


Submit manuscript


Authorship experience

Format manuscript to meet journal requirements, complete online forms and submit manuscript


Reformat and resubmit manuscript


Authorship experience

If rejected, reformat manuscript to meet new journal requirements and standards, and submit (if accepted skip this task)


Manuscript revisions


Authorship experience

Revise manuscript due to comments from peer reviewers, and resubmit it


Manuscript accepted


Authorship experience

Review manuscript, and copy edit any errors or issues


Manuscript published


Authorship experience

Send the details around to everyone you know, and enjoy the kudos

Follow us on @2weekSR for live-tweets of our 2weekSRs!

Core team

The 2weekSR author team you need

  • An experienced systematic reviewer: to be in charge of the majority of SR tasks (e.g. screening, extracting)
  • A second systematic reviewer: to work with the first reviewer on  the majority of SR tasks (e.g. screening, extracting)
  • Information specialist: to ensure a high precision search is designed and run in a fast time
  • Systematic review methodologist: to provide advice on what is needed to perform the SR to a high quality
  • Content expert: to ensure the SR is done in a way of interest to its potential user base, also to provide content specific information to the protocol and manuscript
  • Epidemiologist/Statistician: to make sure your stats are done properly


#1 (2019): Increased fluid intake to prevent UTIs

SR itself:
Scott, A.M., Clark, J., Del Mar, C. and Glasziou, P., 2020. Increased fluid intake to prevent urinary tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of General Practice,  70(692), pp.e200-e207.

Processes paper:
Clark, J., Glasziou, P., Del Mar, C., Bannach-Brown, A., Stehlik, P. and Scott, A.M., 2020. A full systematic review was completed in 2 weeks using automation tools: a case study. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 121, pp.81-90.

Clark, J., Scott, A.M. and Glasziou, P., 2020. Not All Systematic Reviews Can Be Completed in 2 Weeks-But Many Can Be (And Should Be). Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, pp.S0895-4356.

#2 (2019): Self-management of lower urinary tract symptoms

Albarqouni, L., Sanders, S., Clark, J., Tikkinen, K.A. and Glasziou, P., 2021. Self-management for men with lower urinary tract symptoms: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Annals of Family Medicine, 19(2), pp.157-167.

#3 (2020): Impact of copper-treated surfaces on healthcare-acquired infections

Albarqouni, L., Byambasuren, O., Clark, J., Scott, A.M., Looke, D. and Glasziou, P., 2020. Does Copper treating of commonly touched surfaces reduce healthcare acquired infections? A Systematic Review and meta-analysis. Journal of Hospital Infection

#4 (2020): Asymptomatic people and COVID

Byambasuren, O., Cardona, M., Bell, K., Clark, J., McLaws, M., and Glasziou, P. 2020. Estimating the extent of true asymptomatic COVID-19 and its potential for community transmission: systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMMI

#5 (2020): Estimating the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infections: a systematic review

Byambasuren, O., Dobler, C.C., Bell, K., Rojas, D.P., Clark, J., McLaws, M.L. and Glasziou, P., 2021. Comparison of seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infections with cumulative and imputed COVID-19 cases: systematic review. Plos one16(4), p.e0248946.

#6 (2020): Harms and adverse events associated with wearing face masks

Bakhit, M., Krzyzaniak, N., Scott, A.M, Clark, J., Glasziou, P., Del Mar, C. 2021. Downsides of face masks and possible mitigation strategies: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open. 11:e044364.

#7 (2020): Head of bed positioning for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Albarqouni, L., Moynihan, R., Clark, J., Scott, A.M., Duggan, A. and Del Mar, C., 2021. Head of bed elevation to relieve gastroesophageal reflux symptoms: a systematic review. BMC family practice, 22(1), pp.1-9.

#8 (2020): Does methenamine hippurate decrease urinary tract symptoms in community adult women: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Bakhit, M., Krzyzaniak, N., Hilder, J., Clark, J., Scott, A. and Del Mar, C., 2020. Does methenamine hippurate decrease urinary tract symptoms in community adult women: a systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of General Practice.

#9 (2020): Healthcare utilisation changes during the COVID pandemic: a systematic review

Moynihan, R., Sanders, S., Michaleff, Z.A., Scott, A.M., Clark, J., To E.J., Jones M., Kitchener, E., Fox, M., Johannson, M., Lang, E., Duggan, A., Scott, I. and Albarqouni, L., 2021. Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on utilisation of healthcare services: a systematic review. BMJ Open. 2021 Mar 16;11(3):e045343

#10 (2021): Antibiotic prescribing in synchronous telehealth consultations: a systematic review and meta-analysis

In progress - Mina Bakhit, Emma Baillie, Natalia Krzyzaniak, Mieke van Driel, Justin Clark, Paul Glasziou, and Chris Del Mar


Please click on the link below to download the template:

2 week systematic review task list

Want more information?

If you are interested in conducting a 2 week systematic review or want further information, please contact us!

Contact us