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Critical appraisal, reviewing and synthetizing the injury prevention and control literature: time to revisit peer-reviewing and systematic reviews?
  1. Louis-Rachid Salmi
  1. Bordeaux School of Public health (ISPED), Université de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France
  1. Correspondence to Professor Louis-Rachid Salmi, ISPED Case 11, Université de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, F-33076, France; louis-rachid.salmi{at}

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To contribute to the global objectives of the WHO’ Injuries and Violence Programme1 of ‘developing and disseminating guidance for countries on evidence-based policy’ and ‘documenting and disseminating successful injury prevention approaches, policies and programmes’, Injury Prevention ‘publishes original research, opinion, debate and special features on the prevention’ (and control) ‘of unintentional and intentional (violence-related) injuries from a public health perspective’.2 Among submissions considered by the journal are systematic reviews, ‘syntheses of the state of knowledge in a field, from which future research priorities can be identified’; (these syntheses) ‘generate’ […] ‘knowledge for different users of reviews (such as patients, healthcare providers, researchers and policy-makers)’.3 Systematic reviews are also the basis for developing clinical guidelines or policy recommendations.4

The process leading from the emergence of new research ideas to the implementation of injury prevention and control interventions is characterised by the key role of critical appraisal. Researchers submit their research proposals to a critical appraisal to obtain funding and authorisations. Once the research is completed, resulting papers are peer-reviewed by scientific journals. Finally, evidence-based clinical guidelines and public health recommendations must be based on a systematic review of the existing scientific literature, including methods to assess the risk of bias in the included studies.3 At all steps of this process, critical appraisal/peer review covers three dimensions: (1) …

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  • Contributors RS conceived and wrote this editorial.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Author note L. Rachid Salmi, senior Editor of Injury Prevention, trained as a physician and epidemiologist and is Emeritus Professor of Public health in Bordeaux (France). His work is carried with a strong emphasis on epidemiologic and evaluative methods, applied to diverse injury topics, such as road safety, child abuse, and drowning. One of his main interests is on how evidence, acquired through sound critical appraisal and synthesis, can be used to support decision making. This is also the topic of his teaching and books, in French and Spanish, on critical appraisal and scientific communication.