Tools for Those Who Summarize the Evidence Base
I am co-authoring a systematic review article with some authors who have produced tables spilling over many pages of MS Word (both horizontally and vertically). In my opinion, these tables, as such, are a non-starter in terms of attracting the reviewers' attention. I do have some sympathy, however, since the tables (which separately document responses to review criteria and characteristics for studies for different articles) are difficult to condense into manageable sizes. Do any members have suggestions as to what has worked better for them in the past? The original Excel format seemed much better for reading on-screen but I am not so clear that this format would be acceptable for a peer-reviewed clinical journal. The idea of sub-dividing the tables into categories is sub-optimal, as this would lead to the generation of rather a lot of tables, although I am keeping this idea on the back burner for now!
I wonder if the supplemental archives that journals now more or less routinely offer would permit you to post the Excel spreadsheet itself. I am not sure I have seen such a thing (has any reader? Please post a reply!), but it certainly would facilitate transparency.
I believe in our own meta-analyses we have routinely divided such information across summary/descriptive tables and figures. It is not ideal, perhaps but it reduces information overload (if at the expense of not having related information all in one place).