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Writing a narrative biomedical review: considerations for authors, peer reviewers, and editors


Review articles comprehensively covering a specific topic are crucial for successful research and academic projects. Most editors consider review articles for special and regular issues of journals. Writing a review requires deep knowledge and understanding of a field. The aim of this review is to analyze the main steps in writing a narrative biomedical review and to consider points that may increase the chances of success. We performed a comprehensive search through MEDLINE, EMBASE, Scopus, and Web of Science using the following keywords: review of the literature, narrative review, title, abstract, authorship, ethics, peer review, research methods, medical writing, scientific writing, and writing standards. Opinions expressed in the review are also based on personal experience as authors, peer reviewers, and editors.

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The authors thank Dr. Dimitri P. Mikhailidis, academic head of the Department of Clinical Biochemistry (Vascular Prevention Clinic), Royal Free Hospital, University College London Medical School, University College London (UCL), London, United Kingdom, and Dr. Jayashree Shanker, head of Functional Genomics Department, Thrombosis Research Institute, Bangalore, India, for critical comments and editing of the final version of the review. AYG and GDK thank the Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, UK (A Teaching Trust of University of Birmingham, UK), for support.

Conflict of interest

AYG is a sponsored member of the European Association of Science Editors and member of the World Association of Medical Editors. He also serves as an editorial advisory board member and reviewer of more than 20 rheumatological, cardiological and general medical journals.

LA declares no conflict of interest.

HB is a member of the University of Cambridge British Heart Foundation 4-year PhD programme in Cardiovascular Research.

GDK is editorial board member of 5 international journals and reviewer for more than 30 international journals and research funding bodies.

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Correspondence to Armen Yuri Gasparyan.

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Gasparyan, A.Y., Ayvazyan, L., Blackmore, H. et al. Writing a narrative biomedical review: considerations for authors, peer reviewers, and editors. Rheumatol Int 31, 1409 (2011).

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  • Narrative review
  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Authorship
  • Ethics
  • Peer-review
  • Research methods
  • Medical writing