Review Service Guidelines

This information is provided for investigators seeking support for evidence synthesis projects such as systematic or scoping reviews. If you are seeking help with a narrative review, capstone, or other type of literature review, or would like to discuss a more formal project before submitting a request, please use our Ask Countway form. To request help with an evidence synthesis project, please read the following information and follow the link at the end of the page.

Demand for this service is high. We provide support for literature-based projects as our limited time and resources allow. Project requests are reviewed as they are received and are assigned to a member of the research and instruction team based on availability. While we will respond to your request relatively quickly, it may be several weeks before we can meet with you and begin working on your project.

Wait time is currently approximately 8 weeks.

Who can request librarian collaboration through the review service?

  • Help with evidence review projects can be requested by any full-time Harvard faculty member. Faculty can place requests on behalf of Harvard trainees or students but will be expected to participate in meetings where substantive aspects of the project are discussed
  • Requesters must provide a * email address (,, etc.)

What types of projects will we support?

  • Research projects for publications funded through Harvard (including NIH grants)
  • Grant applications
  • Projects partnering with for-profit companies will be reviewed on a case by case basis
  • We will not be able to work on multiple projects sponsored by the same PI concurrently
  • We can not support the production of practice guidelines because of the heavy time commitment required
  • Please contact us before you accept a commission or contract from an organization outside of Harvard such as the WHO or a Lancet Commission. We may not be able to meet deadlines associated with such projects or have sufficient staff resources to take on the work.

What to expect in your initial consultation

  • Discuss the scope of your research question or mediated search
  • Align the type of review with research question
  • Discuss the research protocol
  • Create a timeline for creating search iterations, translating across databases, and completion of the project
  • Plan the delivery of citations
  • Acknowledgement of co-authorship

What we provide to investigators

  • Assistance framing your research question
  • Guidance in completing a PRISMA-P compliant protocol and registration
  • Drafting a preliminary search
  • Completing searches in appropriate databases
  • Delivery of search results into a screening platform
  • Complete documentation for the search
  • Guidance in searching grey literature
  • Guidance in collecting full-text documents (We do not retrieve full-text documents on behalf of investigators)
  • Authoring search-related portions of the manuscript
  • Review of final manuscript before submission
  • Updates to searches, as necessary

What we expect from investigators

  • Librarian authorship on reports produced from the searches we provide
  • A completed protocol before beginning any final searching (You can use this protocol template from the Countway R&I team)
  • Active involvement of the Harvard faculty member supervising the work

If you are prepared to make your request, please complete our Review Service mediated search form. If you are not performing a formal search and just need help from a research librarian, please use the Ask Countway form to place your request.