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This forum is kept largely for historic reasons and for our latest changes announcements. (It was focused around our, older, EPPI Reviewer version 4.)

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20/05/2021 12:39

Version is a "regular" update, with incremental changes and bugfixes, but does include quite a few changes.
First and foremost, it makes the new "EPPI-Visualisation" feature available to all EPPI-Reviewer users. "EPPI-Visualisations" are used to publish review data if, when and how review authors wish. EPPI-Visualiser is a separate application, which can be configured entirely from within EPPI-Reviewer Web. With the current release, the "Setup Visualisations" page is now available to all users.
The other significant improvements published with this release are in the "manage duplicates" page of EPPI-Reviewer Web. This release includes a complete implementation of all important features present in version 4 (add group members manually, create new groups and "finding" groups).There also is a new "auto-advance" feature (active by default). Finally, we noticed that in big reviews, containing 15000 duplicate groups or more, the user interface was slowing down; to resolve this, the list of groups is now "paged", which ensures that the client App responds quickly even when dealing with very large numbers of duplicate groups. This release also contains the full implementation of "linked items" for EPPI-Reviewer Web, as well as other small improvements and bugfixes.

EPPI-Reviewer Web: setup Visualisations

The rising popularity of Evidence (Gap) Maps testifies the richness of the data produced while conducting systematic reviews, as well as the importance of making this data visible and "explorable". Transparency and accountability are also important aspects of systematic reviewing work. The evidence maps that can already be produced via EPPI-Reviewer, while feature rich and extremely powerful, but also have intrinsic limitations. All these factors point to the need for new ways to visualise and explore review data, which is why we have written EPPI-Visualiser. An example of how EPPI-Visualiser can be used can be found here and is described here.
This release does not include significant changes to EPPI-Visualiser (compared to V4.12.0.0), changes are mostly in the "setup" page, which is part of EPPI-Reviewer Web. Until now, the setup area was only accessible to EPPISupport staff. With this release, we've made improvements to the setup page, so to make it "ready" for regular users.
In the "Review home" tab, close to the "new review" button, a new "Setup Visualisations..." link is now present, which allows anyone with the "Administrator" role (for the current review) to setup or edit visualisations. Please refer to the "online" help for a how-to guide, a how-to video will also be available shortly.

EPPI-Reviewer Web: managing duplicates

After renewing (entirely) the "matching" logic that drives deduplication in EPPI-Reviewer (both versions), we reached the stage were we could identify what features are necessary to support all deduplication needs, taking into account the strengths and weaknesses of the new system. As a result, EPPI-Reviewer Web has now what we consider a "complete" implementation of duplicate management, meaning that it should not be necessary to use version 4 to handle any deduplication need, from now on. This release also includes some improvements, which, while not strictly necessary, should make deduplication activities faster and easier to perform.

  • New feature: Items list. In the "More..." sub-menu there now is a "Show items..." button, which will show the current list of items. This list can be used to select items and then find "related groups", or add selected items to any pre-existing group, or to create a new group.
  • New feature: "Find related groups" based on the "selected items" from the items list. This feature is also in the "More..." sub-menu.
  • New feature: still in the "More..." sub-menu, there is a new "Add to group" button, which allows to add the "selected items" to the current group. They would then be marked as duplicates and appear as "manually added items".
  • New feature: the "Create new Group" button allows to create a new group starting from some selected items. Clicking it will open a new panel, where the result of various checks is shown. Within this panel, it's then possible to click on "Get related groups" (will fetch the list of all groups that contain any one of the selected items) and/or choose the master for the new group.
  • New feature: paging in the groups list. To ensure the user interface remains responsive, the list of duplicate groups is now paged. It is possible to change the page size by clicking on "Tools..." on top of the groups list.
  • New feature: auto advance. When, as a consequence of clicking "A Duplicate" or "Not a Duplicate", the current group becomes "Checked/done", the "Auto Advance" feature will automatically locate the next "not done" group, select it and bring it into view. This speeds up manual deduplication. This feature is turned on by default, and can be turned off via the "Tools..." button on top of the groups list.
  • New feature: "1st to do" button. This is equivalent to "auto advance" in its effect, but is "triggered" by clicking on the button, allowing to quickly locate the next "not done" group at any time. This button is also in the "Tools..." area, available on top of the groups list.
  • Enhancement: the group detail have a new "scrolling" mechanism, which ensures the "master item" remains visible, making "only" the "group members" scroll. This ensures one always sees the master details, along with the current group member, aiding manual checking.

New Feature: Linked items in EPPI-Reviewer Web.

"Linked items" support the creation of "groups" of items which all refer to the same "study" (a process that is sometimes called "studification"). Although not very sophisticated (yet), this feature is still quite important in a number of scenarios, and, until now, was fully supported only in version 4. It is now implemented also in the Web version; it appears in the "Links Arms Timepoints" tab of the "Item Details" page; the same tab was previously called "Arms and Timepoints".

New Feature: EPPI-Reviewer Web, "print" coding tools.

In the codes column of the main page of EPPI-Reviewer Web, a new "print" button is now present, which allows to "print" the structure of any coding tool (individually). When used, this will automatically "download" the resulting "Coding tool printout.html" file.

Enhancement: order of Timepoints (both versions).

Timepoints used to appear in the order in which they were created, but in fact it makes more intuitive sense to order them by the "length" of the time-interval they represent. Thus, in most situations, both versions now "list" timepoints ordered from the shortest to longest time-period.

Enhancement: Coding Progress stats in EPPI-Reviewer Web.

As usage in EPPI-Reviewer is increasing quite rapidly, and with it, the average "size" of reviews, we are starting to record more and more performance issues. While we don't have identified a "catch all" solution, we are presently intensifying our efforts to improve performance at all levels. Most of these improvements happen behind the scenes and are seldom mentioned in here. However, collecting the "Coding progress" figures is known to be a computationally costly operation, which normally happens automatically, whenever a review is opened, as well after performing a few other operations. We believe that collecting these numbers relatively often has a measurable impact on the overall performance, and therefore, we have added a new "self-limiting" mechanism. This checks the "size" of the current review, and will avoid automatically refreshing the "coding progress" numbers, if the review is deemed to be "large". When this happens, manually fetching/refreshing these figures will still work and a warning will always be shown to highlight the need.

Bugfix: editing items that have more than 256 authors.

When editing any such item (clicking "save" after changing the value of any field), was truncating the authors list, silently deleting all the authors after the 256th. The problem affected both versions. To resolve this, since it's hard to argue that it is very important to retain such lists of authors in their entirety, we opted for adding a trailing "Et al.", and thus signal that the list has been truncated.

Bugfix: date formatting in EPPI-Reviewer Web.

In version we introduced a small new detail, which allowed to format dates as "DD mmm YYYY" (for example: "01 Jan 2021"), we thought this would be useful to avoid ambiguity (where one can't immediately be sure if two digits represent the month or the day). Unfortunately, this exposed the fact the the production environment was representing dates with the US convention (month first), which broke the formatting, making most "formatted" dates shown in EPPI-Reviewer Web either wrong or empty. This problem is now resolved.

Bugfix: timepoints in EPPI-Reviewer Web.

Before this version, it was possible to edit the "length" of a timepoint, but not to change its "unit of measure". Moreover, trying to delete a timepoint that had been assigned to an outcome measure would show the relevant warning, but it was then impossible to dismiss the warning and delete the timepoint. Both problems are now resolved.

Bugfix: changing the master in duplicate groups.

Until version, changing the master of a group of duplicates was a slow operation, which could, sometimes, time out. When this happened, it was possible to leave the data in an inconsistent state, possibly marking unwanted items as duplicates. The problem was mitigated by the fact that the data would "self correct" at any subsequent operation performed on the same group (which is usually the case, when changing master). This problem is now resolved.

Bugfix: "Look up specific Microsoft Academic ID" in item details (Web version).

In version, this "feature" was sending the user to the MAG browser, which was an implementation error, as this feature exists to allow manually matching a given item to it's (manually identified) MAG record. The problem is now resolved.

Future plans

We expect that the next release will include full support for creating and editing configurable reports in EPPI-Reviewer Web. We also expect to significantly expand the capabilities of EPPI-Visualiser and we are going to continue tackling the performance issues that are starting to affect users, on occasion.

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