Here you can find and download a variety of information and support materials to help you develop your new Cochrane review.
How do I go about starting my new review?
Once your protocol has been accepted for pulication, Lynn Hampson, our Information Specialist (firstname.lastname@example.org), will run a search of our PCG Trials Register and put the search results (references) into your RevMan file and let you know she has done so. You will need to assess all of these trial reports (as included, excluded, or an ongoing studies, or as additional reports of a study). If your protocol stated that you will carry out searching in addition to our search of the PCG Trials Register you will need to run the additional searches yourself and document the full search strategy in your review.
When does my new review need to be completed by?
Once you receive your search results it is important that you start to prepare your review as soon as possible because we need to avoid the search becoming out of date (ideally, we would like the search date to be within six months at the point of publication). We will agree a deadline with you for submission of your draft review, usually within six months of the protocol being published. If we do not receive your review within one year of the protocol first being published we will withdraw your protocol from publication in the Cochrane Library and de-register the title. It is important to keep in touch with us about the progress you are making on your review.
How do I access my RevMan5 file to work on my review?
All review updates must be developed using Review Manager (RevMan) - Information about both RevMan 5 and RevMan Web can be found here.
Cochrane Handbook and the Cochrane Style Guide
The 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 Manual. 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 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. Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth have also developed a set of sub-headings for use in our Plain Language Summaries, these are:
- What is the issue?
- Why is this important?
- What evidence did we find?
- What does this mean?
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.
Pre-publication quality assurance screening of all new Cochrane reviews
We now carry out pre-publication quality screening for all new Cochrane reviews so please ensure that your review complies with MECIR guidance.
I don't have access to the Cochrane Library, what should I do?
Please contact Frances Kellie (email@example.com).
Where do I find out about training workshops and other sources of support?
Please register for the appropriate Cochrane training workshops as soon as possible to help you develop your new or updated review. It is also important that you make contact with the Cochrane Reference Centre in your region to enquire about the support they can offer you as a Cochrane author and to register on training workshops to help you prepare your review. If you are a registered Cochrane author you can also access the online learning resources for undertaking a systematic review. If you are a new Cochrane review author then at least one member of your review team will have hands-on experience in preparing a Cochrane review with our group - you should also ask them for their help and support during the process of preparing your 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 into 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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can keep the additional information with the record for the trial.
Other important resources
- Author’s checklist for submission of new reviews – this contains the items that you should check before you electronically submit your review for editorial and peer review through Archie.
- Statistical checklist - this is the list of points against which our statistician will assess your draft review when you submit it for editorial approval.
- Methods – the standards methods text for our reviews.
- An example of a data extraction template for you to adapt as required.
- PCG Methodological Guidelines – must be read in conjunction with the Cochrane Handbook.
- Cochrane's policy on peer review
- Cochrane's rejection policy
Cochrane - for general information about the Cochrane Collaboration.
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.