What is rapid Evidence Mapping (rEM)?

Evidence Mapping facilitates evidence-based decision making, highlights knowledge gaps, and identifies future research needs.

A rapid Evidence Map (rEM) is a resource-efficient knowledge synthesis in which the systematic review process is accelerated via use of machine learning. The rEM utilizes a systematic literature search and provides a visual representation of scientific evidence in a timely manner. It utilizes rigorous, transparent and explicit methodological approaches and can be applied to a wide range of topics in clinical, environmental health, and related scientific disciplines.

Our rEM approach enables: (1) identification of areas where the most research has been conducted; (2) identification of potential evidence gaps where more research is needed; and (3) data-driven decision making for future research efforts or to target areas where sufficient information may exist for pursuing a systematic review.

Our Rapid Evidence Mapping approach combines machine learning tools with expertise of a review team to rapidly synthesize evidence maps. Our published benchmarking shows rEM can save ~90% of time while producing results similar to a traditional EM.

A Rapid Evidence Map typically includes:

  • Protocol outlining transparent approach defined a priori
  • Comprehensive, transparent, and reproducible search strategy
  • PECO (Participants, Exposures, Comparator, Outcomes) statement
  • Pre-defined inclusion/exclusion criteria
  • Title & abstract screening, aided by semi-automated machine learning tools
  • List of included studies from title & abstract screening
  • Semi-automated tagging and categorization of relevant studies
  • Detailed rEM report with visual and narrative summary of results, methods, and discussion

Our Unique Approach for rapid Evidence Mapping

We work with our clients at all stages of the rEM process – problem formulation, protocol development, literature screening, and data analyses using off-the-shelf and custom designed methodologies, interpretation of results and manuscript preparation. Our consulting team includes PhD-level Systematic Review, Information Specialist, Public Health, and Data Science professionals with experience in government contracting, academic research, and industry.

Project Development

  • Problem formulation
  • Protocol Development
  • Establish PECO Statement

Title and Abstract Screening

  • Develop screening criteria
  • Screen titles and abstracts
  • Identify relevant studies

Literature Search Strategy

  • Develop study questions
  • Identify relevant databases
  • Develop literature search strategies
  • Implement search and provide results

Create Evidence Map and Final Report

  • Tag and categorize included studies
  • Generate visual outputs (heat maps, bubble plots, frequency tables etc.)
  • Generate final report

Sciome’s rapid Evidence Map on COVID-19 Risk and Protective Factors Coming Soon

COVID-19 is a novel virus that has contributed to a worldwide pandemic unlike any other that most of us have seen in this lifetime. The rapid spread of the disease has shuttered the world’s economy and productivity, but in turn has also sparked a great deal of interest in the scientific community and is the topic of a rapidly growing body of literature. Sciome has recently completed a rapid Evidence Map (rEM) of risk and protective factors in the COVID-19 literature published in early 2020, utilizing a structured framework to summarize this compilation of scientific information, in particular highlighting where there is a wealth of evidence and also where gaps in the literature exist. To our knowledge, this is the first evidence map that explores the available scientific literature related to risk and protective factors for COVID-19.

We have identified promising research areas (e.g., age, gender and comorbidity association with COVID-19) where there exists sufficient literature to potentially inform a follow-up review, such as a systematic review, and other areas (e.g., risk factors in susceptible sub-groups, risk factors in children, protective factors in general) where evidence is lacking where further research may be necessary. The resulting rEM, which was completed within one calendar month, represents a useful tool for quickly synthesizing the COVID-19 literature and identifying resource-rich/resource-poor areas that may benefit from future research as the pandemic evolves over time.

As the COVID-19 literature base is progressing very rapidly, reported risk and protective factors may change as new studies are published (e.g., over 15,000 articles have been added to the CORD-19 dataset since we downloaded references on April 3, 2020). It is our intent to regularly update this evidence map for at least the next six months and to publish further updates of this work, and to host a dashboard on our website where we will post the latest data and project files. This type of “living” review will be an informative tool for researchers to stay up-to-date with the latest scientific knowledge on this important topic and potentially allow for the tracking of trends in this field over time.