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Universitätsbibliothek Mainz

Systematic Reviews for Medicine and Related Subjects

Are you planning to carry out a systematic review? Do you need help with your literature search? Do you want to make sure that you’ve found all relevant articles? Would you like to connect with others? Then contact the University Library’s Systematic Reviews Advisory Service.

Four reasons to work with a medical librarian:

  1. Save time.
  2. The involvement of an independent information specialist could encourage a more objective literature search.
  3. A newly published paper concludes that systematic reviews involving medical librarians or information specialist co-authors are “correlated with higher quality reported search strategies.”
  4. Other well-known organizations such as the Institute of Medicine, Cochrane, and the Association of Scientific Medical Societies are also doing this.

What Do We Have to Offer for You?

Practical Workshop on Systematic Reviews

Next workshop [in German]:

March 01 and March 08, 2024, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Sign up

The focus is on literature search and documentation, but other relevant topics are also covered. Short presentations are followed by tips, exercises, and group work tasks on the following topics:

  • Assembling a team
  • Developing a research question (formulating a research question—PICO framework)
  • Review protocol (PROSPERO)
  • Literature search and documentation
    • Preparing your search—terms and topic blocks
    • Selecting a database—PubMed and Co
    • Searching a database
    • Final search documentation
    • Literature management and duplicate check
  • Selecting relevant studies
  • Assessing the quality of studies
  • Extracting data from studies
  • Analysis and synthesis of studies

​​​​​​​Practical Guide to Systematic Literature Research

Together with the Institute for Medical Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics (IMBEI), we have written this practical guide with useful tips and step-by-step examples. Tip: IMBEI also offers statistical consulting.

This practical guide has been awarded the title of “Flagship Project (Leuchtturmprojekt) 2020” by the German Medical Library Association.

Tools to support screening

For a larger number of search hits, we recommend the use of software to support and document the screening process and for managing your citations. There are a number of options to make working together with multiple people on a project possible and easier.

Systematic Reviews Club (SeaRCh)

We organize workshops on topics related to systematic reviews.

This workshop with practical exercises is aimed at young scientists in medicine and related subjects who would like to learn more about the publishing process:

  • Journal selection: How do you find suitable journals for your topic in Web of Science?
  • JCR—Impact Factor: How should the impact factor be assessed, especially with regard to your field of expertise?

Next workshop [in German]:

April 29, 2024 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Online (MS Teams): Sign up

If you would like to be notified when the next “Publishing in Medicine Workshop” is taking place, please get in touch at

This workshop with practical exercises is aimed at young scientists in medicine and related subjects who would like to learn more about the publishing process:

  • Open Access publication—What are the fees? What funding opportunities are there?
  • How to identify fake journals (predatory journals)?

Next workshop [in German]:

April 29, 2024 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Online (MS Teams): Sign up

In this Journal Club, we want to critically evaluate randomized controlled clinical trials (RCT), systematic reviews, meta-analyses, qualitative studies, cohort studies, case controls, etc. We are guided by the CASP checklists.

After a brief presentation of the method, the paper is read in small groups and evaluated using a checklist. We then compare and discuss the results together.

Course duration: approx. 90 minutes

If you would like to be notified when the next “Medicine Journal Club” takes place, please get in touch at, or sign up for the mailing list at

This workshop with exercises aims to provide you with a supplementary, easy, and straightforward research method to find more articles on your topic or research.

This supplementary research method is the citation search.

With this form of citation search, studies are identified using direct citation links:

  • these can be found in the bibliography of an original study (backward citation searching)
  • or they are studies citing the original study (forward citation searching).

An extended form of citation search is the tracking of indirect citation connections. Here we look for:

  • co-citating (citing studies of the cited studies from an original study) and
  • co-cited (cited studies of the cited studies of an original study) studies

We’ll be using databases such as Web of Science and Google Scholar, as well as other tools to help you automate this process.

Next workshop [in German]:

April 23, 2024 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.: Online via MS Teams: Sign up

Advisory Service

In this consultation, we analyze your research strategy and provide tips for improvement. For more information, feel free to get in touch by email at

For advice on a specific project, please fill out the following form to prepare for the consultation (e.g. type of reviews, PICO scheme, inclusion/exclusion criteria) and we will get back to you as soon as possible to arrange a personal consultation appointment with you.

When you conduct a systematic review:

If you are not conducting a systematic review but need assistance with literature research or perhaps have the idea to initiate a systematic review project—book an individual appointment as well.

To participate in the consulting services and workshops, we require basic knowledge of PubMed and EndNote (this is more effective for everyone involved).

If you have little experience with PubMed, EndNote, or Word, we invite you to our (online) courses.


We would appreciate a mention in your publication. We believe that co-authorship is appropriate for extensive consultations.


Schwab, R., Schiestl, L. J., Cascant Ortolano, L., Klecker, P. H., Schmidt, M. W., Almstedt, K., Heimes, A. S., Brenner, W., Stewen, K., Schmidt, M., & Hasenburg, A. (2024). Efficacy of pembrolizumab in advanced cancer of the vulva: a systematic review and single-arm meta-analysis. Frontiers in oncology, 14, 1352975.

Stingl, J. V., Cascant Ortolano, L., Azuara-Blanco, A., & Hoffmann, E. M. (2024). Systematic review of instruments for the assessment of patient reported outcomes and quality of life in childhood glaucoma patients. Ophthalmology. Glaucoma, S2589-4196(24)00036-X. Advance online publication.


Hansa J, Merzenich H, Cascant Ortolano L, Klug SJ, Blettner M, Gianicolo E. Health risks of titanium dioxide (TiO2) dust exposure in occupational settings – A scoping review. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. 2023;252:114212.

Rohde, A. (Koord.) (2023). S2k Leitlinie: Katastrophenmedizinische präklinische Behandlungsleitlinien. AWMF-Leitlinien-Registernummer 001-043


DGI, DGZMK. (2022). S3-Leitlinie: Zahnimplantatversorgungen bei multiplen Zahnnichtanlagen und Syndromen. AWMF-Registernummer: 083-024. Date: October 2022. Valid until: Oktober 2023. Available at:

Ernst, M., Niederer, D., Werner, A. M., Czaja, S. J., Mikton, C., Ong, A. D., Rosen, T., Brähler, E., & Beutel, M. E. (2022). Loneliness before and during the COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic review with meta-analysis. American Psychologist, 77(5), 660–677.

Galata, C.; Cascant Ortolano, L.; Shafiei, S.; Hetjens, S.; Müller, L.; Stauber, R.H.; Stamenovic, D.; Roessner, E.D.; Karampinis, I. Are Routine Chest X-rays Necessary following Thoracic Surgery? A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-Analysis. Cancers 2022, 14, 4361.

Hartmann, A.; Schmohl, J.; Cascant Ortolano, L.; Bayer, O.; Schweizer, S.; Welte-Jzyk, C.; Al-Nawas, B.; Daubländer, M. Therapy of Neurophysiological Changes after Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery—A Systematic Review. Appl. Sci. 2022, 12, 1507.

Schmidt, M.W.; Battista, M.J.; Schmidt, M.; Garcia, M.; Siepmann, T.; Hasenburg, A.; Anic, K. Efficacy and Safety of Immunotherapy for Cervical Cancer—A Systematic Review of Clinical Trials. Cancers 2022, 14, 441.


Hartmann, A., Kämmerer, P., Cascant Ortolano, L., Sagheb, K., Seiler, M. (in press) Customized products for orbital wall reconstruction—a systematic review. British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Oct 2021. Available at


Schiegnitz, E. (Coord.) (2020). S3 Leitlinie: Keramikimplantate. AWMF-Leitlinien-Registernummer 083-039. Available at

Dietz, P., Reichel, J. L., Edelmann, D., Werner, A. M., Tibubos, A. N., Schäfer, M., Simon, P., Letzel, S., Pfirrmann, D. (2020). A Systematic Umbrella Review on the Epidemiology of Modifiable Health Influencing Factors and on Health Promoting Interventions Among University Students. Frontiers in public health, 8, 137–137. DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2020.00137

Riccetti, N., Werner, A. M., Ernst, M., Hempler, I., & Singer, S. (2020). Informations- und Unterstützungsbedürfnisse krebskranker Migrant*innen und ethnischer Minderheiten – ein Umbrella-Review. Der Onkologe. DOI: 10.1007/s00761-020-00827-1

Stay Up to Date

If you are interested in the topic and would like to receive information about systematic reviews (tips for improving your search, new databases, tools for more efficient work, events, etc.), you can subscribe to our SeaRCH News.

About Us

Our team works in accordance with current evidence-based practice, follows international guidelines, and keeps up to date with developments in literature research methodology. The team has attended international courses at the University of Oxford and in Germany, at the Medical Faculty Mannheim, and at the Association of the Scientific Medical Societies. We are active members of the AG Evidenzbasierte Medizin (Evidence-Based Medicine Working Group) of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für medizinisches Bibliothekswesen (German Medical Library Association, AGMB e.V.). At European level, we are members of the European Association for Health Information and Libraries (EAHIL), where Lorena Cascant Ortolano was elected as German representative to the EHAIL Council.

  • Schweizer S, Vogel C, Weiner O. Können wir künstliche Intelligenzen wie ChatGPT produktiv für die medizinbibliothekarische Arbeit nutzen? GMS Med Bibl Inf. 2023;23(1):Doc04. DOI: 10.3205/mbi000554, URN: urn:nbn:de:0183-mbi0005546
  • Cascant Ortolano L, Buroh S, von Gernler M, Krause E, Härkönen S, Ewald H. Forschungsnahe Dienstleistungen in den Bibliotheken der Mitglieder der Arbeitsgemeinschaft Evidenzbasierte Medizin (AG-EBM) der AGMB. GMS Med Bibl Inf. 2023;23(1):Doc12. DOI: 10.3205/mbi000562, URN: urn:nbn:de:0183-mbi0005624
  • Buroh, S., Cascant Ortolano, L., & von Gernler, M. (2023). “Clubbing” with the EBMs. A brief report by the German Medical Library Association’s working group on EBM. Journal of EAHIL, 19(2), 14-16.
  • Hoffmann D., Cascant Ortolano L., Schweizer S., Bayer O.: Systematische Reviews aus epidemiologischer Sicht – Interview mit Dorle Hoffmann und Oliver Bayer. GMS Med Bibl Inf. 2020;20(1–2):Doc10. DOI: 10.3205/mbi000467, URN: urn:nbn:de:0183-mbi0004671
  • Cascant Ortolano L., Schweizer S.: SWOT-Analyse zu den Dienstleistungen für Systematische Reviews medizinischer Bibliotheken in D-A-CH-Ländern. GMS Med Bibl Inf. 2020;20(1–2):Doc06.DOI: 10.3205/mbi000463, URN: urn:nbn:de:0183-mbi0004633
  • Buroh S., Schweizer S.: Gründung der Arbeitsgruppe Evidenzbasierte Medizin der AGMB. GMS Med Bibl Inf.2020;20(1–2):Doc09. DOI: 10.3205/mbi000466, URN: urn:nbn:de:0183-mbi0004660
  • Buroh S., Cascant Ortolano L., Schweizer S.: Evidenzbasierte Medizin – Chance für Medizinbibliotheken. GMS Med Bibl Inf.2020;20(1–2):Doc01. DOI: 10.3205/mbi000458, URN: urn:nbn:de:0183-mbi0004589
  • Bayer O., Cascant Ortolano L., Filbert A. L., Hoffmann D., Schweizer S.: Praxisleitfaden Systematische Reviews [internet]. 2nd ed. Mainz, 2022. DOI: URL:
  • Eckert K., Schweizer S.: Open Access an der Universität(smedizin) Mainz. GMS Med Bibl Inf. 2019;19(1–2):Doc15. DOI: 10.3205/mbi000440, URN: urn:nbn:de:0183-mbi0004406


Any questions? We are happy to advise you!

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Lorena Cascant Ortolano
Lorena Cascant Ortolano
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Dr. Stefanus Schweizer
Dr. Stefanus Schweizer