Background: According to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education residents "should participate in scholarly activity." The development of a sustainable, successful resident scholarship program is a difficult task faced by graduate medical education leadership. Methods: A medical librarian conducted a systematic literature search for English language articles published on scholarly activities initiatives in Graduate Medical Education (GME) between January 2003 and March 31 2017. Inclusion criteria included implementing a graduate medical education research curriculum or initiative designed to enhance intern, resident, or fellow scholarly activities using a control or comparison group. We defined major outcomes as increases in publications or presentations. Random effects meta-analysis was used to compare the rate of publications before and after implementation of curriculum or initiative. Results: We identified 32 relevant articles. Twenty-nine (91%) reported on resident publications, with 35% (10/29) reporting statistically significant increases. Fifteen articles (47%) reported on regional, national, or international presentations, with only 13% (2/15) reporting a statistically significant increase in productivity. Nineteen studies were eligible for inclusion in the meta-analysis; for these studies, the post-initiative publication rate was estimated to be 2.6 times the pre-intervention rate (95% CI: 1.6 to 4.3; p < 0.001). Conclusions: Our systematic review identified 32 articles describing curricula and initiatives used by GME programs to increase scholarly activity. The three most frequently reported initiatives were mentors (88%), curriculum (59%), and protected time (59%). Although no specific strategy was identified as paramount to improved productivity, meta-analysis revealed that the publication rate was significantly higher following the implementation of an initiative. Thus, we conclude that a culture of emphasis on resident scholarship is the most important step. We call for well-designed research studies with control or comparison groups and a power analysis focused on identifying best practices for future scholarly activities curricula and initiatives.