Literature reviews are in great demand in most scientific fields. Their need stems from the ever-increasing output of scientific publications. For example, compared to 1991, in 2008 three, eight, and forty times more papers were indexed in Web of Science on malaria, obesity, and biodiversity, respectively. Given such mountains of papers, scientists cannot be expected to examine in detail every single new paper relevant to their interests. Thus, it is both advantageous and necessary to rely on regular summaries of the recent literature. Although recognition for scientists mainly comes from primary research, timely literature reviews can lead to new synthetic insights and are often widely read. For such summaries to be useful, however, they need to be compiled in a professional way.


10 Simple Rules:

Rule 1: Define a Topic and Audience
Rule 2: Search and Re-search the Literature
Rule 3: Take Notes While Reading
Rule 4: Choose the Type of Review You Wish to Write
Rule 5: Keep the Review Focused, but Make It of Broad Interest
Rule 6: Be Critical and Consistent
Rule 7: Find a Logical Structure
Rule 8: Make Use of Feedback
Rule 9: Include Your Own Relevant Research, but Be Objective
Rule 10: Be Up-to-Date, but Do Not Forget Older Studies

-Marco Pautasso PLOS

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