Reliable synthesis of the various rapidly expanding bodies of evidence is vital for the process of evidence-informed decision-making in environmental policy, practice and research. Criteria for assessing the quality of reporting have been developed, along with the rise of evidence-base medicine and increasing numbers of published systematic reviews, notably QUORUM and PRISMA. The authors highlight 12 key problems with applying PRISMA to this field. These include an overemphasis on meta-analysis and no consideration of other synthesis methods.

The paper introduces ROSES, and describes how it solves the problems with PRISMA, and outline the key benefits of our approach to designing ROSES, in particular the level of detail and inclusion of rich guidance statements. The authors propose that ROSES can facilitate rapid review and appraisal of the conduct of a systematic review or map, potentially speeding up the peer-review process. They also present the results of road testing of ROSES with systematic review experts, and propose a plan for its future development.