Systematic Review Tool feedback

JabRef 5.3--2021-07-05--50c96a2
Windows 10 10.0 amd64 
Java 16.0.1 
JavaFX 16+8

Hi All,

Knew about Jabref for a long time (through Docear).
Just installed the new 5.3 version, did not know it was so recent but also discovered the Systematic Review tool for it.

Several piece of feedback i’d like to share, here is a preamble.

  • The tool is very attractive. I have to do a few (collaborative) systematic reviews for the upcoming 12 months, thus seeing this tool directly in the ref manager was an instant “neat” feature

  • I had already set up my project, research syntax, and got the results for several databases (Embase, WebofScience, Medline, Cochrane, G Scholar) with the actual number of hits and a .bib and .enlx files to import to jabref.

  • I decided to reproduce the same results through Jabref and therefore kicked in the tool.

Actual Feedback

  1. It wasn’t very clear that it was necessary to click the “+” sign for every entry to be added. Not a major flaw, just points at the necessity for a “intro session”
  2. Not all databases seems accessible via the tool. E.g. Embase/Sciencedirect are not in the list, nor webofscience, cochrane (these are medical science oriented)
  3. It is unclear whether the search syntax should be rewritten specifically for Jabref or if a copy/paste from actual databases queries can be used. I used the databases specific queries.
  4. Given that each database has a different syntax to process the query, I added 5 different queries (but for the same topic), as provided by my librarians and for which I am sure results are outputted.
  5. I get an “illegal character error” and the search does not happen at all. The illegal character seems to be “*” for wildcard. Given that 4 out of 5 of my queries have that character, it’s a problem.
  6. It does not seem possible to change the SR project through a GUI. I can open the .yml and modify the complete SR myself, that’s not handy for everyone. That’s also a shame especially if typo happens.
  7. I can only relaunch the query, not modify it (see .6)
  8. I looked into the jabref manual/documentation but couldn’t find any entry on how to use the SR tool as of today (09th July)

Here are my two cents, Let me know if you need more information.
I did not submit a bugreport for the illegal character error on the github, waiting to get an answer whether it’s a bug or an expected behaviour based on how the querry should be written.

Again, I think it’s a great tool so quite excited to see it move forward!

1 Like

Thanks for the feedback.
first of all we unified the search Syntax to be consistent across all fetchers.

For the other points @koppor and @DominikVoigt can probably provide some more information on it

The initial documentation is there: Add documentation for SLR by DominikVoigt · Pull Request #333 · JabRef/user-documentation · GitHub

We changed the implementation at Feature add git workflow for slr search by DominikVoigt · Pull Request #7625 · JabRef/jabref · GitHub, thus the documentation needs to be updated.

We would be happy if someone could take over documentation maintenance. I can be available after 22:00 for questions on demand.

Functionality could be improved towards the end of the year as the main contributor is currently focussing on his master studies and I my pay job and my family need nearly all my energy :sweat_smile:.

I opened Fix SLR issues · Issue #509 · koppor/jabref · GitHub to be able to track the issues. Needs a refinement first. I thought better some appearance in our issue tracker than getting lost in our mass of open tasks