Author resources for PROTOCOLS

Here you can access a variety of information and materials to help you develop your protocol. 

What happens when my title has been approved?

You will receive an email from us confirming approval of your proposal for a Cochrane review.  We will prepare a RevMan template protocol file for you and let you know when it is ready for you to use.  The file will contain our standard methods text for you to adapt as appropriate.  To access this file and develop your protocol you will need to install RevMan 5 software. 

How do I access my RevMan5 file?

You and your co-authors will need to access ‘Archie’, the Cochrane Collaboration’s central server for managing and storing documents and contact details. You should check out the file from within RevMan.   Click here for our  Top tips for using Archie and RevMan guide.   It is important that you visit the Cochrane Informatics and Knowledge Management Department (IKMD's) author support pages for RevMan and Archie support.

Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions and the Cochrane Style Guide

Please refer to the Cochrane Handbook which is the official document that describes in details the process of preparing and maintaining Cochrane systematic reviews. Cochrane protocols and 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 published protocols and reviews in the Cochrane Library.  If you do not have access to the Cochrane Library please contact

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 protocol (and subsequent review) please refer to these standards.  For more information, see

GRADE and Summary of findings table

In your full 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 here you can find a pre-GRADE exercise that is referred to in the quick guide.

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).
  • On the Cochrane IKMD website there are some FAQs and one of the questions is 'what do I have to do to create a SoF table using GRADEpro?' and the answer gives brief step-by-step instructions for importing your RevMan file, setting up the data and answering GRADE questions, and then exporting the SoF back into RevMan.
  • 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). 


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?

Please register for the appropriate Cochrane training workshops as soon as possible to help you develop your protocol and 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 develop your protocol and review.  Cochrane authors can also access a suite of online learning resources for undertaking a systematic review

When does my protocol need to be finished?

When your proposal is approved we will agree a deadline with you for submission of your draft protocol.  This will be within six months of the proposal being approved.  It is important that you keep in touch with us about the progress you are making on your protocol. Review titles will automatically be de-registered after six months if you do not submit a draft protocol for editorial processing.  When you submit your protocol for editorial processing, we would also like you to submit a separate document in which you set out your detailed plan for data and analysis.  This document should be emailed to after you submit your protocol for editorial processing.

Other important resources

Additional information
PCG-INFO – our authors are automatically subscribed to Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth’s email list so they can keep up to date with the latest events in our Group.  For details of how to manage the list, or if you feel you would like to be removed from the list please contact Denise Atherton (
Cochrane  - general information about Cochrane.
Searching for studies - for further information about searching and search methods please contact our Information Specialist, Lynn Hampson (  Click here for more information about our PCG Trials Register. Chapter 6 of the Cochrane Handbook also give more information on about searching for studies.