Year End Message — Systematic Review Consultants LTD

4 min readDec 24, 2023

You and us have not been perfect, but we did our best to make the world a slightly better place.

Ethics vs Money

In a world that pushes people towards selfishness and unethical ambitions and decisions, we all try to comply with our ethical values even though it means financial losses.

  • We had to reject 73% of the requests we received because of ethical concerns, such as paying for ghost authorship and guest/gifted authorship. Some students were happy to pay to get the second chapter of their thesis (systematic review) done without informing their institutes or supervisors of using our services. Strangely, we were also offered to get paid for adding two extra affiliations when publishing papers. We know services who won’t refuse such offers.
  • We referred two projects to our colleagues at other systematic review companies to avoid conflict of interest.
  • There are hundreds of unethical and predatory journals, publishers, conferences, and systematic review services waiting to hunt down students and researchers. We had to inform our clients of unethical practices by creating a YouTube playlist.
  • ChatGPT and other AI/ML-based tools made some of the jobs redundant. We continue to test its capabilities, but we did not replace any of our consultants with machines just because the machines are cheaper or free. Our assessments show that such tools could assist us but will not replace us in the near future. The ethical and legal frameworks are not yet in place for such a transition. Semi-automation of systematic reviews has long been in place and continues to evolve, and we adopt such technologies to increase our efficiency.

Good News

From the small profit we made during this year, we invested on three free initiatives:

1. GAJET List: GAJET stands for Good Academic Journal in Ethical Terms. We listed the journals that are free for authors to publish with, free for readers to read, and indexed in MEDLINE. Most of these journals are called Diamond Open Access, but we also included journals that are free for everyone, even though not every free means open access. If you are thinking about Impact Factor (IF), well, some of these journals have IF, but having IF is not a quality or ethics indicator.

2. University of X app: this app is finished but not released yet, and we are working on our first course to be delivered for free. When it is released, we can create your free course on it.

3. There is a third initiative. It’s a surprise.

Such initiatives would have been impossible without your support, and we promise to do more free work if you support us. Thank you for working with us, visiting our website, following us on social media, or writing Google reviews about us.

We will continue

  • Issuing discounted rates for PhD candidates (upon agreement with their supervisor) and charities.
  • Donating to Wikipedia and the Open Science Framework.
  • Investing profits in more free and open initiatives.
  • Providing pre-service free consultation sessions.
  • Improving and being the change we want to see in the world.

We request you to

  • Be kind to yourself, your families and friends, your students, your employees, and your colleagues, especially if you are in a position of power. Let’s not make life harder than it is for emotionally, mentally, physically, or socioeconomically vulnerable.
  • Spend more time with other human beings and know people around you on a personal level.
  • Be more understanding that we know nothing about what others have been through and that we have no right to judge them.
  • See the humanity in people when we look at them, talk to them, or think about them, not their ethnicity/race, nationality, sex, gender, socio-economic class, disability, religion/belief, or living style.
  • Do what we can for the innocent and unfortunate ones in any corner of the world.

Our family

We acknowledge you as part of our big family — the family we chose. We have 74 consultants from five continents, without whom we have nothing to offer. In 2023, we worked with over 42 clients from five continents whose impactful work has changed the policy and practice locally, nationally, or globally; we learned and shared what we knew. With each project, we grow older, better, and wiser, and we use what we have learned in our careers and lives.

May the season bring you joy and health, and the holiday be a good time to reflect on the past, present, and future. Happy 2024, and see you next year.

Thank you

Farhad, on behalf of Systematic Review Consultants LTD

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