CABI Blog

This week, CABI launched searchRxiv (pronounced ‘search archive’), our new open-access platform. We created the website to help researchers report, store and share their searches consistently. This helps with the review and re-use of existing searches, making research quicker and easier.

searchRxiv is open to everyone. It’s free for researchers to post, comment, download and sign up for an account. Our goal is to encourage as many researchers as possible to join the searchRxiv community. We’ll support the community in the building of this search string database, which anyone can use.

searchRxiv supports evidence synthesis, described by the Royal Society as “the process of bringing together information from a range of sources and disciplines to inform debates and decisions on specific issues.” When researchers post search strings for evidence synthesis, they help build the body of research for bigger goals.

Researchers can use search strings across many databases and resources to assess the records. This allows them to dig deep into the research, for example, to support evidence-based policymaking and practice decisions. As a researcher, you can evaluate existing research over a variety of databases, such as on CAB Direct and any other database or publisher’s platform.

Lady at desk with laptop
searchRxiv supports evidence-based research

How was searchRxiv developed?

searchRxiv has been developed in response to feedback gathered over many months from researchers and librarians.  We have collaborated closely with The Working Group on Search Strategy Repository & Data Structure, whose members represent the many communities of practice involved with evidence synthesis and information retrieval, led by Neal R. Haddaway, Stockholm Environment Institute and Melissa Rethlefsen, HSLIC, University of New Mexico.

  • Amy Riegelman, University of Minnesota
  • Bethany McGowan, IUPUI
  • Igor Brbre, Royal Sussex County Hospital Library and Knowledge Service
  • Julie Glanville, University of York
  • Justin Clark, Bond University
  • Kate Ghezzi-Kopel, Cornell University
  • Kate Nyhan, Yale University
  • Lina Gulhane, UK Royal College of Physicians
  • Margaret Foster, Texas A&M
  • Melinda Davies, ‎Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research
  • Paul Fehrmann, Kent State
  • Sarah Young, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Tracy Shields, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth

The Group’s advice and recommendations  have played a key role in coalescing the initial thinking behind the development of this website.

This site will continue to evolve and develop through community driven collaboration with information retrieval and evidence synthesis experts across many disciplines.

How does searchRxiv help researchers?

searchRxiv helps researchers to use similar search strings to expand research. It also helps with the creation or modification of search strings based on community feedback in the comments section. Researchers can use these search strings to combine objective evidence synthesis so that they know what’s happening across the board within their subject area.

searchRxiv also helps with career development. One of the benefits of posting a search string is receiving a digital object identifier (DOI). This can be linked to an ORCID ID or to Plum Analytics to see how many citations and downloads a search string has had. Researchers can then showcase their work in a particular field, and the searchRxiv community can comment on the strings.

searchRxiv helps researchers to:

  • Post their searches, ensuring credit for all those involved
  • Obtain a DOI for their search, enabling it to be cited
  • Share their searches in a consistent format, allowing others to re-use
  • Comment on searches, allowing them to be improved
  • Link searches to published articles as relevant
  • Find it easier to follow best practices for structuring their search strategy
  • Easily find relevant searches in their subject area by searching across search strings as well as metadata describing those search strings

How does searchRxiv help the research community?

A well-constructed search strategy is the foundation of evidence-based research in any discipline. It helps researchers find all of the eligible studies for their area of study. They can then assess them for relevance and make sure that no existing research has been missed.

Evidence-based study is a complex process. It usually involves teams of people identifying a question and formulating the procedures and searches that find the evidence for the study. The searches can be long and complex to handle. Consistency in how searches are reported, shared and stored for re-use by other users is important. It ensures quality.

At a community level, searchRxiv helps to build search or string standards by reviewing other search strings already in use. This helps to improve the search strings. It makes them more niche and tailored. When researchers can evaluate data effectively, the academic community can better identify gaps in research or where research has already been conducted and where to move forward.

Understanding gaps in research can help to strengthen the case for new research including funding proposals. It helps the donor understand where the new field of enquiry lies.

Going forward, our goal is to build an open access community that helps to build the body of search strings and strategies. Through this, we hope to support research in all subject areas. We invite researchers to submit their search strings to help build evidence synthesis.

Sign up to searchRxiv now to report, store and share your searches.

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