PRISMA for Abstracts

Abstracts of systematic reviews are very important, as some readers cannot access the full paper, such that abstracts may be the only option for gleaning research results. This can be because of a pay wall, low Internet download capacity, or if the full article is only available in a language not understood by the reader. Readers in countries where English is not the primary language may have access to an abstract translated to their own language, but not to a translated full text.

The PRISMA Statement gives some guidance for abstracts, closely linked to commonly used headings in structured abstracts. After observing that the quality of abstracts of systematic reviews is still poor, we decided to develop an extension to the PRISMA Statement to provide additional guidance on writing abstracts for systematic reviews. We also wanted to provide a checklist enabling the items suggested to fit into any set of headings mandated by a journal or conference submission.

The checklist and details on its development are here: http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1001419