meta-package: meta: Brief overview of methods and general hints

Description Details Author(s) References


R package meta is a user-friendly general package providing standard methods for meta-analysis and supporting Schwarzer et al. (2015),


R package meta (Schwarzer, 2007) provides the following meta-analysis methods:

  • Fixed effect and random effects meta-analysis (functions metabin, metacont, metacor, metagen, metainc, metaprop, and metarate)

  • Several plots (forest, funnel, Galbraith / radial, labbe, baujat, bubble)

  • Statistical tests (metabias) and trim-and-fill method (trimfill) to evaluate bias in meta-analysis

  • Import data from 'RevMan 5' (read.rm5; see also metacr)

  • Prediction interval, Hartung-Knapp and Paule-Mandel method for random effects model (arguments in meta-analysis functions)

  • Cumulative meta-analysis (metacum) and leave-one-out meta-analysis (metainf)

  • Meta-regression (metareg; if R package metafor is installed)

  • Generalised linear mixed models (metabin, metainc, metaprop, and metarate; if R packages metafor, lme4, numDeriv, and BiasedUrn are installed)

The following more advanced statistical methods are provided by add-on R packages:

  • Frequentist methods for network meta-analysis (R package netmeta)

  • Advanced methods to model and adjust for bias in meta-analysis (R package metasens)

See settings.meta to learn how to print and specify default meta-analysis methods used during your R session. For example, the function can be used to specify general settings:

  • settings.meta("revman5")

  • settings.meta("jama")

The first command can be used to reproduce meta-analyses from Cochrane reviews conducted with Review Manager 5 (RevMan 5, and specifies to use a RevMan 5 layout in forest plots. The second command can be used to generate forest plots following instructions for authors of the Journal of the American Medical Association (

In addition, settings.meta can be used to change individual settings. For example, the following R command specifies the use of the Hartung-Knapp and Paule-Mandel methods, and the printing of prediction intervals in the current R session for any meta-analysis generated after execution of this command:

  • settings.meta(hakn=TRUE, method.tau="PM", prediction=TRUE)

Type help(package = "meta") for a listing of R functions available in meta.

Schwarzer (2007) is the preferred citation in publications for meta. Type citation("meta") for a BibTeX entry of this publication.

To report problems and bugs

  • type = "meta") if you do not use RStudio,

  • send an email to Guido Schwarzer if you use RStudio.

The development version of meta is available on GitHub


Guido Schwarzer


Schwarzer G (2007), meta: An R package for meta-analysis. R News, 7(3), 40–5.

Schwarzer G, Carpenter JR and Rücker G (2015), Meta-Analysis with R (Use-R!). Springer International Publishing, Switzerland.

Search within the meta package
Search all R packages, documentation and source code

Questions? Problems? Suggestions? or email at

Please suggest features or report bugs with the GitHub issue tracker.

All documentation is copyright its authors; we didn't write any of that.