Aim: This paper explores the processes of collaboration between a librarian and two academic physiotherapists working on a systematic review jointly funded by the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol, and the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD), Bath, UK. The aim of this paper is to describe and evaluate some of the processes of collaboration between the three authors in their work in progress on a funded systematic literature review on the topic of hydrotherapy and pain.

Methods: The vehicle for describing and analysing these processes is a joint (National Health Service Trust and University) funded systematic literature review currently in progress on the topic of hydrotherapy and pain.

Results: Systematic review methodology is becoming increasingly complex and is rapidly developing its own research base. Librarian input is a key element in a successful systematic review.

Conclusions: Systematic reviews play a critical role in informing healthcare delivery and research in the UK. The individual nature and inherent complexity of each review demands close collaboration between librarians, academics and clinicians. In addition to enhancing the reviews themselves, there are many other personal and institutional benefits of collaborative working. Consideration may need to be given to library staff structures and roles if these benefits are to be maximized and sustained.