Introduction This protocol covers the first part of a two-part project funded by the Health Libraries Group and the University Health and Medical Librarians Group. It details the proposed methodology for a systematic map of the literature relating to UK bibliographic databases in the fields of health and social care. The aim of this mapping exercise is to consider ways in which UK bibliographic databases are described, considered and discussed in the published and unpublished literature. In doing so, we hope to gain a clearer sense of the ways in which UK bibliographic databases are used and viewed by the research community. It also enables the identification of any gaps in the literature for further research and discussion. This topic is important because UK databases are generally underused by researchers in the UK context and some databases are at risk of closure. A lack of access to UK databases means that researchers may miss relevant UK evidence when identifying an evidence base.
Method Systematic Map.
Analysis The authors will present a narrative description of the literature relating to UK bibliographic databases in the fields of health and social care. They will use tables to present descriptive information about the literature (eg, frequency tables) and use cross-tabulations to demonstrate intersecting themes. Separately, guidance on how to use the resources (eg, areas of unique content, updating frequencies, unique truncation symbols) will be sought from stakeholders and reported alongside the report narrative as a guide to usage.
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Dissemination: The review's findings will be disseminated through the publication of a final report and a conference paper.
To cite: Cooper C, O'Mara-Eves A, Rogers M, et al. The best of the UK? A report on the value and future of UK databases in the health and social care fields: a systematic map protocol. BMJ Open 2012;2:e001411. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001411
Contributors CC wrote the initial bid and the protocol document. AO'M-E co-wrote the protocol and provided input into the design of the project. MR commented on the initial bid and the protocol. AB, LC, JL and AG provided comments and feedback on the protocol.
Funding Health Libraries Group and the University Health and Medical Librarians Group, through the ‘Research In the Workplace Award’.
Competing interests CC has previously received funding from Social Policy and Practice to cover transport costs in attendance of a meeting. AG is an unpaid specialist adviser to the Social Policy and Practice consortium.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.