Background: In search strategies focusing on studies conducted within local health care systems highly sensitive geographic filters (GFs) may be a reasonable means to reduce research resources. At present, only few validated GFs are available and to our knowledge no GF for Austrian studies has been published.
Objectives: To develop and validate a GF to retrieve studies with Austria as a reference point for use in the PubMed database, if feasible.
Methods: At first, we will estimate roughly the prevalence of Austrian publications among all PubMed entries in the last five years searching for the term 'Austria' in the affiliation [ad], title and abstract [tiab] fields as well as in the geographic locations category of the medical subject headings [MeSH]. We will consider further steps to be appropriate, if at least 10 relevant publications in a validation reference set of 2000 abstracts can be expected. We will limit the reference set to a workable number of 2000 abstracts as the abstracts have to be categorized manually by relevance on the basis of the information available from the database.
The GF to identify studies performed in Austria will be created using English and German terms derived from the names of the country, its provincial states, and districts. These terms will be searched for in additional fields like transliterated title [tt] or other term [ot] besides the aforementioned fields.
A random sample of 2000 references will be drawn from articles published in PubMed within the last five years. Two reviewers will independently identify relevant articles for the reference set. We then will assess the performance of the Austrian GF in terms of its specificity and sensitivity.
Results: We will present results on whether developing a geographic filter for a small country like Austria is feasible with an acceptable amount of effort and discuss possible caveats. Furthermore, filter details and performance data will be published.