The robvis package provides functions to convert a risk-of-bias assessment summary table into a summary plot or a traffic-light plot, formatted based on the specific risk-of-bias assessment tool used.

robvis currently contains templates for the following tools:

Users can find the exact assessment tool name expected by the tool argument of the rob_summary() and rob_traffic_light() functions by running:

#> [1] "ROB2"
#> [1] "ROBINS-I"
#> [1] "QUADAS-2"
#> [1] "ROB1"

Loading your data

robvis expects certain facts about the data you provide it.

  1. The first column contains the study identifier
  2. The second-to-last column will contain the overall risk-of-bias judgments
  3. The last column will contain the weights, which can all be set to 1 if the relevant weights are not available.
  4. The first row of the data does not contain column headings. This can be achieved using the header = TRUE option (which indicates that the first line contains column headings) when reading in your summary table:
data <- read.csv("path/to/summary_table.csv", header = TRUE)

All other columns are expected to contain the results of the risk-of bias assessments for a specific domain. To elaborate, consider as an example the ROB2.0 tool which has 5 domains. The resulting data set that robvis would expect for this tool would have 8 columns:

  • Column 1: Study identifier
  • Column 2-6: One RoB2 domain per column
  • Column 7: Overall risk-of-bias judgments
  • Column 8: Weights

The only exception to this is the "ROB1" template, which is discussed below.

Example data sets

To help users explore robvis, we have included an example data set for each tool template that exists in the package. For example, the data_rob2 data set, which contains example risk-of-bias assessments performed using the RoB2.0 tool for randomized controlled trials, is presented below:

Study D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 Overall Weight
Study 1 Low Low Low Low Low Low 33.3333333
Study 2 Some concerns Low Low Low Low Low 33.3333333
Study 3 Some concerns Low Some concerns Low Low Some concerns 0.1428571
Study 4 Low Low High Low Some concerns High 9.0909091
Study 5 High High Low Low Some concerns Low 12.5000000
Study 6 Low High Some concerns Low Low Some concerns 25.0000000
Study 7 Low Some concerns Some concerns High Low Some concerns 200.0000000
Study 8 Low Some concerns Low Low Low Low 11.1111111
Study 9 Low Low High Low Low High 1.1111111

Summary plots (rob_summary())

This function returns a ggplot object displaying a weighted bar-chart of the distribution of risk-of-bias judgments across the domains of the specified tool.


RoB2.0 tool for randomized controlled trials

rob_summary(data_rob2, tool = "ROB2")

ROBINS-I tool for non-randomized studies of interventions

rob_summary(data_robins, tool = "ROBINS-I")

QUADAS-2 tool for diagnostic test accuracy studies

rob_summary(data_quadas, tool = "QUADAS-2")

rob_summary() options

Overall risk-of-bias judgments (overall)

By default, a bar representing the overall risk-of-bias judgments is not included in the plot. If you would like to include this, set overall = TRUE. For example:

rob_summary(data_rob2, tool = "ROB2", overall = TRUE)

Weighted or un-weighted bar plots (weighted)

By default, the barplot is weighted by some measure of study precision (see Example data sets). You can turn off this option by setting weighted = FALSE. For example, compare this plot with that produced by the based rob_summary() function using the data_rob2 data set.

rob_summary(data_rob2, tool = "ROB2", weighted = FALSE)

Colour scheme (colour)

NB: Please note the non-US English spelling of colour

The colour argument of both plotting functions allows users to select from two predefined colour schemes, “cochrane” (default) or “colourblind”, or to define their own palette by providing a vector of hex codes.

For example, to use the predefined “colourblind” palette:

rob_summary(data = data_rob2, tool = "ROB2", colour = "colourblind")

And to define your own colour scheme:

rob_summary(data = data_rob2, tool = "ROB2", colour = c("#f442c8","#bef441","#000000"))

When defining your own colour scheme, you must ensure that the number of discrete judgments (e.g. “Low”/“Moderate”/“High”/“Critical”) and the number of colours specified are the same. Additionally, colours must be specified in order of ascending risk-of-bias (e.g. “Low” -> “Critical”), with the first hex corresponding to “Low” risk of bias.

Traffic light plots (rob_traffic_light())

This function returns a ggplot object displaying the risk-of-bias judgment in each domain for each study, as well as the overall risk-of-bias judgement for that study.


RoB2.0 tool for randomized controlled trials

rob_traffic_light(data_rob2, tool = "ROB2")

ROBINS-I tool for non-randomized studies of interventions

rob_traffic_light(data_robins, tool = "ROBINS-I")

QUADAS-2 tool for diagnostic test accuracy studies

rob_traffic_light(data_quadas, tool = "QUADAS-2")

rob_traffic_light() options

Point size (psize)

By default, the size of each point is set to 20. However, if you have a large number of studies, it is useful to be able to reduce the point size so that the resulting graphic is not too large.

# Generate larger dataset
data <- rbind(data_rob2, data_rob2)
data$Study <- paste("Study",seq(1,18))

# Plot with reduced point size
rob_traffic_light(data, tool = "ROB2", psize = 10)