A great comment appeared today on the site of Nature:
Decision makers need constantly updated evidence synthesis
“Science does not stand still;
neither should its synthesis
and translation into action.”
Startin with a focus on COVID-19, it clearly states the wider importance:
Evidence synthesis .. helps to tackle questions in education, economics, environment, criminal justice, global development and more.
Evidence synthesis can be applied to the most pressing global challenges: climate change, energy transitions, biodiversity loss, antimicrobial resistance, poverty eradication and so on.
And has a sharp conclusion:
Decisions relevant to global challenges must be informed by the best available evidence. It should no longer be acceptable for evidence to be out of date, biased or selective. Without trustworthy and up-to-date summaries, the world risks making ill-informed decisions and wasting investment.
Living evidence as a practice has been around for barely five years, and there is much to learn.
Our experience so far is counter to common initial concerns. Rather than being confused by changing guidelines, clinicians value a resource they know is up to date. Interest from living-evidence practitioners can be sustained and team membership can gradually shift without interrupting updates. The cost of continuously updating guidelines seems about the same as gearing up for big revisions every few years.
The advances made in evidence systems during the COVID-19 pandemic should extend beyond health. We call on researchers in all scientific fields, and their funders, to test the living-evidence model across diverse domains.
Trialling the approach with different types of evidence, for a wide range of decision makers, will contribute to the advancement and scale-up of the model. Science does not stand still; neither should its synthesis and translation into action.