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Thirty Hours of Screening

Summary #2 on
3 minute read

Zhelnov P. Thirty hours of screening. Zheln. 2020 Sep 27;39(2):s2e3. URI:


  • Three records were processed in 30 hours instead of 1,140 planned
  • Nevertheless, I argue it’s normal as technology & methods are not production-ready
  • The next week’s focus will be preserving quality while smoothly increasing quantity
  • Bonus: Everyone can engage in Zheln appraisals from now on!

So What’s New?

  • In the previous summary, I came to the conclusion all is ready for record screening and envisaged to process 570 records per day.
  • It is easy to calculate I should’ve processed 1,140 records in these two days that passed since the previous summary.
  • So how many records have I screened in these 30 hours?
  • Well, just three records, actually (one, two, three).

Why So Few?

  • Personally, it feels quite natural.
  • First of all, when I set off appraising records, it quickly became evident the editable versions were deficient: I needed to change the record footers manually.
  • Also, manual selection of the record appraisal status turned out to be duplicate.
  • So I needed to fix the record-maker script first.
  • After I’ve fixed the script, the next thing I noticed was that the specialty tagging methodology didn’t feel transparent enough; so I needed to elaborate on these methods first.
  • Indeed, it goes without saying that all the above-mentioned changes necessitated corresponding website modifications, … and so on.
  • Overall, it feels like the principal reason why, in almost a month of the Zheln’s uptime, just five records entered appraisal and none finished it is as follows:

    Zheln’s methods and technology are still not production-ready after a month of development, which is perfectly normal for a systematic review such as this one, especially given that it’s massive, conducted by a single researcher, and crowdfunded only.

  • ‘Smaller in number are we, but larger in mind.’
  • Forcing production now would amount to suicide.

What’s Next?

  • Anyway, speeding up is also critical for Zheln.
  • Honestly, with 500 records added to the queue daily, anything less than a conveyor belt will fail.
  • So the target of 570 appraisals per day remains, whereas the next week’s focus will be preserving quality while also smoothly increasing quantity.
  • As the record debt starts to go down, I will adjust this target accordingly to account for the records missed during the current high-intensity but low-volume period.
  • As to the other directions of Zheln development, namely increasing appraisal completion and preparing an academic manuscript, they will happily wait until proper record processing is settled.


  • As one of the most recent updates, I started sharing editable versions of Zheln records.
  • Why is it so exciting? 😊
  • Using these files, other people could engage in record appraisal on Zheln! That means commenting on, replicating, or editing the appraisals.
  • To do any of that, you’d need to create a GitHub account first. Immediately afterwards, you’ll be able to fork a copy of the Zheln Methods repository into your own account.
  • There, choose an editable record you’d like to contribute to among those you forked and edit it.
  • Finally, create a pull request with your proposed changes. Just after you’ve done it, publicly discussing your pull request in the comments will be possible.
  • On GitHub, many really exciting things to do with the records are available (like comparing various versions character-by-character, and many more).
  • This is not the simplest solution to collaboration, I admit it. But whatever it is, it works. I hope more collaboration is coming to us in the future of Zheln.

See You Around, Peer

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