Information and resources for registered authors
Starting a Cochrane Review
There are many resources freely available to help authors prepare a Cochrane Review. The following resources from The Cochrane Collaboration will be needed by each co-author.
Archie: Once your title has been registered, the Review Group Co-ordinator will give each co-author a user account for Archie, The Cochrane Collaboration’s Information Management System. Further information about Archie is available.
Review Manager: To work on the review, each co-author will need to download Review Manager, the software used to prepare Cochrane Reviews. Review Manager connects to Archie over the internet allowing co-authors to store and share the protocol and review online.
Cochrane Handbook: The Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions ('the Cochrane Handbook') everything from describing the different sections of Cochrane Reviews and their required content to chapters on statistics for meta-analyses to how to assess adverse events. See the Cochrane Handbook website to browse the book online (no cost) or purchase it as a hardback book.
Overview of editorial process
There are several steps to preparing a Cochrane Review, some for the authors and some for the editorial team.
Authors submit the protocol/review online using Archie, The Cochrane Collaboration’s Information Management System. Between receipt and publication (if approved), authors can expect the following steps, each of which can take several weeks depending on the complexity of the review (eg number of trials, complexity of study designs), availability of peer referees and the Editor, level of technical edit required, and availability of authors to respond to peer review and editorial comments.
- An Editor will read the protocol/review and may request amendments before peer review.
- Each protocol/review will be refereed by at least three people, including a statistician, in an open peer referee process (ie names of authors and peer referees not concealed).
- Authors make revisions in response to the Editor’s and peer referee’s feedback.
- The protocol/review has a technical edit (authors may need to respond to queries that arise).
- Preparation of proofs and approval for publication by the Co-ordinating Editor.
- Authors sign the license for publication form.
Cochrane Reviews are published monthly (link to dates), and the Managing Editor will inform authors of the intended CDSR publication issue upon submission of a protocol/review to the editorial base; this can be brought forward or delayed depending on an individual protocol's or review's circumstances.
Checklists: The checklists are designed to help authors ensure that their protocols, reviews, or review updates are completed to an acceptable standard for editorial and peer review. Authors are requested to use these checklists before completing the protocol or review.
The completed checklist must accompany the submitted protocol/review.
Search strategy: this guide (PDF) explains the methods used to prepare the search strategy for your Cochrane Review.
References can be imported into Review Manager from EndNote libraries. Instructions for this are given in the following PDF.
The following information may also be of use to you if your review contains studies which are still ongoing or, although completed, have not yet been in a journal.
CIDG data collection and analysis content checklist: The Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group (CIDG) has devised this checklist to help review authors prepare the ‘Data collection and analysis’ section. This checklist should be used alongside the CIDG pre-submission checklists for the protocol and review; however, it is not mandatory to submit the completed version of this methods content checklist. This checklist and guide does not take the place of the Cochrane Handbook, which provides a comprehensive guide to analysis.
The April 2005 version of the methods guide is no longer recommended for use (an archive version is available).
'Summary of Findings' guidance
In the future, Cochrane reviews will be expected to include 'Summary of Findings' tables. These are designed to summarize the key results of a specific question within a Cochrane review, and allow guidance to be issued on the basis of this. To assist with this process, special software has been developed, known as GRADEpro. As an author, you may need some help and guidance about using this approach and CIDG have devised an introductory guide to help you get started. Note: This guide is meant as an overview of the process. Detailed information regarding Summary of Findings tables and GRADE can be accessed through the GRADE Working Group (http://www.gradeworkinggroup.org/index.htm).
Plain language summary guidance
All Cochrane reviews must now have a plain language summary.The plain language summary aims to summarize the review in a style that can be understood by non-specialists.
Plain language summaries are made freely available on the internet at www.cochrane.org/, The Cochrane Library web site from Wiley and on other websites affiliated with Cochrane, so they will often be read as stand-alone documents. As an author, you may need some help and guidance about writing a plain language summary and CIDG have devised an introductory guide to help you get started. You can download it here. Writing a PLS
How to submit a protocol or review for editorial review
Authors submit (“check in”) the protocol/review online using Archie and /or RevMan. Authors also need to email the completed protocol or review checklist to the Managing Editor to complete this process. The Managing Editor will email all authors to confirm receipt of protocol/review and the checklist.
The Cochrane Collaboration uses e-mail discussion lists as its main means of communication. There are several email lists, which may be of interest to authors, including the following:
CCInfo: CCInfo is the primary mailing list for The Cochrane Collaboration, and is used to distribute a bi-weekly newsletter. CCInfo offers an excellent means of keeping members of the Collaboration well informed about its activities and policies. The goal is that every Cochrane participant with access to email will subscribe to this list.
Review production resources from The Cochrane Collaboration
- Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions - the official guide to producing Cochrane reviews
- RevMan web page - documentation and support for software for preparing and maintaining Cochrane reviews
- GRADEpro - (GRADEprofiler) is the software used to create Summary of Findings (SoF) tables in Cochrane systematic reviews
- Cochrane Style Resource - compare your Cochrane Review against the official style guide
- Re-publishing of reviews - explanation of procedures and permission form if you wish to re-publish your review in another scientific journal
- Reporting Guidelines
CONSORT - reporting of RCTs
PRISMA (formerly QUOROM) [PDF document] - preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses
STROBE - reporting of observational studies in epidemiology
EQUATOR Network - collection of reporting guidelines
- Cochrane Diagnostic Test Accuracy Group
- Submission deadlines - includes information on deadlines for Copy Edit Support and module/CENTRAL submissions, as well as publication dates for The Cochrane Library
Training - face-to-face
Training - online
- Open Learning Materials - learn the steps in convenient online modules which supplement the Cochrane Reviewers' Handbook in helping you gain skills and complete your review.