Here you can find and download a variety of information and support materials about developing your updated review. If you are an author of a currently published Cochrane review with our group and you have a query about updating your review please contact Leanne Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org).
When do I need to update my currently published review?
Review authors are expected to update their reviews within two years of first publication (or the last update). However, we recommend that you revise your reviews annually if possible.
How do I go about updating my review?
(a) We will remind you about your update at 12 months and agree a date with you for the submission of your update.
Lynn Hampson, our Information Specialist (email@example.com), will run an updated search of our PCG Trials Register for you and put the search results (references) into your RevMan file and let you know when the file is ready for you to check out of Archie and prepare your review update.
In the meantime, we will release the search results in an amendment to your published review so that users of the Cochrane Library have access to information about the updated search while you are updating your review.
(b) You can prepare your review update at any time following the publication of your review by contacting Lynn Hampson (firstname.lastname@example.org) to request an updated search of our PCG Trials Register. Lynn will put the search results (references) into your RevMan file and let you know when the file is ready for you to check out of Archie to prepare your update.
How do I access my RevMan5 file to work on my updated review?
All review updates must be developed using RevMan5 and accessed through checking your RevMan file out of/into ‘Archie’, the Cochrane Collaboration’s central server for managing and storing documents and contact details. You should check out the file from within RevMan5. See the IMS web page for Cochrane authors for more information about using Archie and RevMan.
Cochrane Handbook and the Cochrane Style Guide
It is important that you read the IMS web page for Cochrane authors where you can keep up to date with author information. You will also find a link to the latest Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions which is the official document that describes in details the process of preparing and maintaining Cochrane systematic reviews. Cochrane reviews should also follow the style described in the Cochrane Style Guide. The 'Related Resources' sidebar on this page explains how you can find examples of our reviews in The Cochrane Library.
Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews (MECIR)
The Cochrane Collaboration’s Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews (MECIR) project has developed two sets of standards for the conduct and reporting of Cochrane reviews of interventions. When developing your new review please refer to these standards. For more information, see http://www.editorial-unit.cochrane.org/mecir.
GRADE and Summary of findings table
In your updated review you will need to use the GRADE approach (using GRADEpro GDT software) to assess the quality of the evidence and prepare a Summary of findings (SoF) table to import into your review. We have produced our own 'quick guide' to using GRADE and preparing a SoF table and below you can find three other documents that you will find useful.
- Further guidance on assessing quality according to the five GRADE criteria for RCTs (as mentioned in our 'quick guide to using GRADE').
- Incorporating GRADE in Cochrane reivews (feedback from the CEU review quality screening programme which gives useful examples of how to report GRADE findings in your Abstract, PLS, Results/effects of interventions and Discussion/quality of the evidence sections).
- Information about how to re-express SMD (information relating to reporting continuous data).
Miranda Cumpston (Head of Learning and Support, Cochrane Central Executive) has also suggested the following useful links.
- The McMaster GRADE YouTube channel - (there is also a link to this when you first log into GDT) has lots of videos - we suggest you watch the 'SoF table generation' video, as it follows the format we use for Cochrane reviews. Note that this doesn't demonstrate importing data from RevMan, although it shows you the button to click in order to do that.
- An interactive walkthrough is available in GDT from the 'Help' button (small question mark in a circle, top right).
- More detailed information on what the tables are for and what needs to go into them can be found in the Cochrane Handbook (see chapters 11 and 12) and in the GRADE handbook (also available from the GRADEpro GDT help menu).
Plain Language Expectations for Authors of Cochrane Summaries (PLEACS)
The Cochrane Collaboration has developed Plain Language Expectations for Authors of Cochrane Summaries (PLEACS) standards. These standards refer to the key information that should be included in your Plain Language Summary, in plain English. Please refer to these standards when preparing your Plain Language Summary. For more information, see http://www.cochrane.org/editorial-and-publishing-policy-resource/pleacs.
A Cochrane proposal, protocol and review should be an original piece of work produced by the team of review authors. Where review authors report other sources, this should include an appropriate citation and be paraphrased in the review authors’ own words rather than copied word-for-word from the original source. Where more than a few words of the original text is used this should be placed within quotation marks and a citation provided to demonstrate where the text has been taken from. Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth now use formal plagiarism software to detect plagiarism at all stages of a Cochrane review. The Cochrane Collaboration has a policy relating to plagiarism, how to avoid it, and what happens when plagiarism is suspected – for more information, click here.
Where do I find out about training workshops and other sources of support?
Cochrane training workshops are available to help you develop your updated review. If you are a registered Cochrane author you can also access the online learning resources for undertaking a systematic review.
Data extraction sheets
Data extraction sheets are an essential part of the quality control of Cochrane reviews (as well as essential information for authors who take over the updating of reviews). We now request that the Contact person for full reviews email their final and agreed data extraction sheets to either the person at the editorial office responsible for the editorial processing of their review (Frances or Leanne) or Denise after checking their review in to Archie for editorial approval. We will then upload the data extraction sheet to the Review Files folder for the review in Archie – click here to download a screenshot showing you how to access the Review Files folder for your review in Archie. Please note that both the authors and the editors for the review will have access to the Data Extraction Sheets folder in Archie.
Please note that although we would prefer the full data extraction sheet for updated reviews, we realise that in many cases this may not be possible and you may only be able to send us the data extraction sheet for the newly incorporated trials.
Additional material relating to trial reports
It is important that if authors obtain additional material relating to trial reports through, for example, contact with trialists, please email the additional material to our Information Specialist, Lynn Hampson (email@example.com) so we can keep the additional information with the record for the trial.
Other important resources to download
- Author’s checklist for submission– this details the items that you should check before you electronically submit your review for editorial and peer review through Archie.
- Methods – the standards methods text for our reviews.
- An example of a data extraction template for you to adapt as required.
Eligibility criteria - please remember that if a study meets your inclusion criteria for your review, but does not report on the outcomes of interest, the trial must be included (although it will not contribute any data to your review). Trial eligibility criteria are prespecified in your protocol in the sections on 'participants', 'interventions' and 'comparisions'. See section 5.1.2 of the Cochrane Handbook for more information.