As with all well-conducted systematic reviews, an a priori protocol must be developed before undertaking the scoping review. A scoping review protocol is important, as it pre-defines the objectives, methods, and reporting of the review and allows for transparency of the process. The protocol should detail the criteria that the reviewers intend to use to include and exclude sources of evidence and to identify what data is relevant, and how the data will be extracted and presented. The protocol provides the plan for the scoping review and is important in limiting the occurrence of reporting bias. Any deviations of the scoping review from the protocol should be clearly highlighted and explained in the scoping review.
Prospective scoping reviewers should be aware that an extension of the PRISMA statement called the PRISMA-ScR is now available (Tricco et al. 2018). Appendix 11.2 to this chapter contains a fillable checklist for authors to check whether their scoping review conforms to this reporting standard. The JBI approach to conducting and reporting scoping reviews described here is congruent with the PRISMA-ScR checklist. Reviewers should also be aware that PROSPERO (the international prospective register of systematic reviews administered by the University of York’s Centre for Reviews and Dissemination) states that scoping reviews (and literature reviews) are currently ineligible for registration in the database (Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, n.d. ‘inclusion criteria’, para. 5). Although this may change in the future, scoping reviews can be registered with the Open Science Framework (https://osf.io/) or Figshare (https://figshare.com/) in the meantime, or their protocols published in some journals, such as the JBI Evidence Synthesis.