©2017 ROSES

About ROSES

Why is ROSES important?

Reliable summaries of the evidence are vital in order to facilitate evidence-informed decision making in conservation and environmental management. The gold standard in evidence synthesis is widely accepted as systematic reviews and related systematic maps. As more systematic reviews and maps are published it is clear that there is a variability in how well these reviews are conducted and reported. 

We introduce ROSES (RepOrting standards for Systematic Evidence Syntheses) forms and flow diagram, designed specifically for systematic reviews and maps in the field of conservation and environmental management. 

ROSES forms can be used during the preparation of systematic review and map protocols and final reports. They make it easier to write these documents by prompting the user to ensure they have included the right information with the correct level of detail.

The ROSES forms are a checklist of details that should be reported in review documentation. They ensure that all necessary content required by the CEE Guidelines for Systematic Reviews in Environmental Management is present and described in detail. ROSES can prevent time- and resource- consuming bounces of manuscripts before being sent out for peer-review.

ROSES forms facilitate rapid identification of key conduct-related review information by journal editors, peer-reviewers and readers. This can speed up the time needed for a manuscript to be considered by a journal and make life easier for peer-reviewers and editors.

Finally, the ROSES forms can help to drive up the quality of systematic reviews and maps by ensuring that review authors need to report methods for major steps in the review process. This transparency makes it hard to hide substandard methods.

To find out more about ROSES, watch our recent

seminar for the Global Evidence Synthesis Initiative

in May 2018.

Who created ROSES?

ROSES was created by a team of researchers and editors with a background in evidence synthesis in the field of conservation and environmental management. The Collaboration for Environmental Evidence identified a need for standards to ensure that systematic reviews and maps (and their protocols) reported the right information with the correct level of detail. 


The team realised that this could also help reviewers to write protocols and reports more easily, by summarising and linking to guidance on systematic reviews.

They knew of reporting standards that existed for other fields (like PRISMA), but realised that environmental syntheses were often quite different. By combining state-of-the-art guidance for systematic reviews and maps in the field of environment with existing reporting standards, they developed the first version of ROSES. A team of experienced experts in systematic reviews and maps then helped to refine and improve ROSES.

And so ROSES was born!

How does ROSES compare with other standards?

  • ROSES has been developed specifically for environmental syntheses, and the forms have been designed for systematic maps and common types of environmental evidence.

  • ROSES has much more fine detail in its reporting requirements, linking to specific guidance from the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence. 

  • ROSES requires a higher standard of conduct for evidence synthesis than other reporting standards.

  • ROSES reduces the emphasis on quantitative synthesis, recognising the value of other methods.

  • ROSES allows for many other types of synthesis, e.g. reviews containing a narrative synthesis only.

  • ROSES uses consistent, accurate and up-to-date terminology.

  • ROSES focuses on both internal validity (study quality) and external validity (generalisability) during the reporting of critical appraisal.

  • ROSES provides basic methodological guidance and links directly to the CEE Guidelines for Systematic Reviews in Environmental Management.

  • ROSES includes reporting of key meta-data (descriptive information) relating to how the review was conducted. This facilitates peer-review and critical appraisal of the review itself.

How can the ROSES forms and flow diagram be used with external organisations?

ROSES was developed in a collaboration with experts from the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence, Stockholm Environment Institute, and the journal Environment International. Formally, all reviewer authors must now complete a ROSES form when they submit their protocol, review or map to the CEE journal Environmental Evidence.

We hope that ROSES will be seen as valuable reporting standards across a wide variety of other organisations in the future.

How is ROSES updated and extended?

Over time, ROSES will need to be updated as standards improve and we receive feedback. ROSES can be readily updated via this website, with a peer-reviewed article necessary for any major changes to the pro forma.

ROSES can be extended through the development of specific tools for aspects of reporting, such as for qualitative synthesis or quantitative synthesis. These extensions would be related to ROSES but would be independent tools for particular steps in a review.

Collaborative partners

How to cite ROSES

You can cite the ROSES forms and flow diagrams according to the citations in the README worsheet of each form and as follows:

  • Haddaway NR, Macura B, Whaley P, and Pullin AS. 2017. ROSES for Systematic Review Protocols. Version 1.0 doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.5897269.v4

  • Haddaway NR, Macura B, Whaley P, and Pullin AS. 2017. ROSES for Systematic Review Reports. Version 1.0 doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.5897272.v4

  • Haddaway NR, Macura B, Whaley P, and Pullin AS. 2017. ROSES for Systematic Map Protocols Version 1.0 doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.5897284.v4

  • Haddaway NR, Macura B, Whaley P, and Pullin AS. 2017. ROSES for Systematic Map Reports. Version 1.0 doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.5897299.v3

  • Haddaway NR, Macura B, Whaley P, Pullin AS. 2017. ROSES Flow diagram for Systematic Reviews. Version 1.0 doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.5897389.v3

  • Haddaway NR, Macura B, Whaley P, Pullin AS. 2017. ROSES Flow diagram for Systematic Maps. Version 1.0 doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.6085940.v2

You can cite ROSES publications according to the academic citation. See publications for more details.