Language Consideration and Methodological Transparency in “Systematic” Reviews of Animal Toxicity Studies

Kristine M. Alpi, Tram A. Vo, David C. Dorman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This study evaluated the use of non-English literature (NEL) in systematic reviews (SRs) or meta-analyses (MAs) of animal-based toxicity or communicable disease (CD) studies. A secondary goal was to assess how grant funding, country of primary authorship, or study quality reporting influenced the use of NEL in these reviews. Inclusion criteria and data extraction forms were based on a pilot evaluation of a 10% random sample of reviews that were identified from a PubMed search (2006 to May 2017). This search yielded 111 animal toxicity and 69 CD reviews. Reviews (33 animal toxicity and 32 CD studies) were included when the authors identified their work as an SR or MA, described a literature search strategy, and provided defined inclusion criteria. Extracted data included PubMed indexing of publication type, author affiliations, and grant funding. Language use was mentioned in the methods in 55% of the toxicity SRs and 69% of CD SRs, of which 44% (n = 8) and 41% (n = 9) were limited to English, respectively. Neither the study type, grant funding, nor first author country of affiliation was associated with an increased consideration of NEL. Study quality reporting was more common in SRs that considered multiple languages. Despite guidelines that encourage the use of NEL in SRs and translation tools, SR/MA authors often fail to report language inclusion or focus on English publications. Librarian involvement in SR can promote awareness of relevant NEL and collaborative and technological strategies to improve their incorporation into the SR process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-145
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Toxicology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • authorship
  • foreign languages
  • publications
  • systematic review methodology
  • toxicology
  • translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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