Create publication quality risk-of-bias assessment figures

Quick start

Setting up your own data

To ensure that this app works as expected, the uploaded risk-of-bias assessment summary table must follow a certain format. For clarity, your data should be laid out as follows:

  • The first column contains details about the study such as author and year of publication.
  • The second and subsequent columns contain the judgements in each domain of the assessment tool. The number of columns containing domain-level assessments will vary by tool used.
  • The second last column contains the “Overall” risk-of-bias judgement.
  • The final column (“Weight”) contains some measure of the result’s precision (e.g. the weight assigned to that result in a meta-analysis, or the sample size of the analysis that produced the result). If a measure of precision is not available, or to reproduce ‘equally’ weighted bar charts, these weights may all be specified to be 1.

Excel example datasets/templates

The quickest and easiest way to correctly set up your risk-of-bias assessment summary table is to replace the example data contained in the Excel templates below with your own data, and then upload the file to the app. Alternatively, you can enter the data directly into the app by hand. Templates for the three major risk-of-bias tools supported by the app are available, in addition to a “Generic” template for use with any domain-bases assessment tool (including ROB1).

Review your data


Additional information

Additional information

About the tool

robvis was developed during the Evidence Synthesis Hackathon. This web app is built on the robvis R package, which can be accessed here. robvis forms part of the metaverse, a suite of tools for performing evidence synthesis in R.

If you have questions about the tool or would like to provide feedback, please click here to send me an email.

About me

Luke McGuinness is a National Insitute of Health Research Doctoral Research Fellow in Evidence Synthesis at Bristol Medical School, where he is examining the relationship between blood lipid levels and dementia risk. When procrastinating from real work, he is an R (pronounced “oar”) and open science enthusiast.

Luke is part of the Bristol Appraisal and Review of Research (BARR) Group at the University of Bristol, led by Prof. Julian Higgins, which brings together researhers interested in the methodology, and application of research synthesis methods such as systematic reviews, meta-analysis and critical assessment of research evidence.

Citing the tool

If you use robvis to create risk-of-bias plots for your publication, please cite the tool using:

  • McGuinness, LA, Higgins, JPT. Risk-of-bias VISualization (robvis): An R package and Shiny web app for visualizing risk-of-bias assessments. Res Syn Meth. 2020; 1- 7.
Download .bib citation Download .ris citation

Funding statement

Funding Statement

The ongoing development of this tool is funded by an National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Doctoral Research Fellowship (DRF-2018-11-ST2-048). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.



This project would not have been possible without:

  • Prof. Julian Higgins, who as my main supervisor has been extremely supportive of this project;
  • Dr. Emily Kothe, who provided help on ggplot coding issues;
  • Eliza Grames, who create the amazing robvis hex sticker;
  • The Baby Driver soundtrack which kept me sane while fixing coding bugs.

Additionally, the following people contributed valuable feedback that contributed to the development of this tool:

  • Matthew Page, Alexandra Bannach-Brown, Kyle Hamilton, Charles Gray, Vincent Cheng, Wouter van Amsterdamn, Neal Haddaway and Martin Westgate.