Information for authors

Writing a Cochrane review with PaPaS

Writing a Cochrane review requires commitment and dedication. At PaPaS, our editorial process and deadlines ensure we generate secure future funding for our projects and reviews. Please see our Protocol and Review Flowcharts of the editorial process for our expected timelines.

For all our reviews, we require a team of at least two authors, at least one of whom has experience of preparing Cochrane reviews. An author team must meet the standards required by Cochrane, as well as the expectations of users of Cochrane reviews. Authors must read and accept the terms in the Cochrane Commercial Sponsorship Policy: see here for more information.

We aim to produce only high priority, high impact reviews. In order for a new title to be accepted, we expect it to be supported by a strong case for registration, for example an urgent healthcare need or priority topic identified by policy-makers or guideline developers.

We also ask that authors limit their contact to one CRG at a time, i.e. please only send your title proposal to one CRG and do not send the same proposal to multiple CRGs at the same time. We ask that you do not contact another CRG with the same proposal until we have responded with a decision. If we decline your title proposal then please inform the other CRG that your title was submitted to us and declined.

To find out how to propose a new review title to PaPaS, please see our editorial process page: here.

PaPaS expectations of review authors

We expect a full review author team to have the following skills and experience:

  • Content knowledge relating to the topic of the review, preferably direct clinical experience;
  • Knowledge of systematic review methodology (including formulating the review question and eligibility criteria, searching and assessing the risk of bias of relevant studies) and at least one author with experience in developing Cochrane reviews;
  • Statistical knowledge in order to extract appropriate data, conduct meta-analyses where appropriate, and interpret and discuss the results;
  • The ability to write a scientific report to a publishable standard in English; 
  • English as a first language or a high standard of English;
  • Not to be part of an academic project such as a PhD thesis or dissertation;
  • Project management and leadership ability within the team (usually the named Contact Person).

Please read the Policy Manual section 'Managing expectations' for full details.

The named Contact Person should:

  • Submit a fully completed PaPaS Review Proposal Form (for an intervention review) or an Overview Proposal Form (for an overview) on behalf of the author team, with realistic and achievable timelines for completion of the Protocol and full Review;
  • Submit a current CV or provide evidence of previous experience in conducting systematic reviews;
  • Keep in touch with their Cochrane review group (CRG) about their progress;
  • Respond to correspondence from their CRG in a timely manner;
  • Be committed to keeping the review up to date every two years or as long as agreed with the CRG.

All members of author teams should:

  • Approach the review with scientific rigour, be as objective as possible and avoid conflicts of interest;
  • Be comprehensive, systematic and methodical in their approach to all aspects of the review;
  • Follow the advice and guidance in the Cochrane Handbook of systematic reviews of interventions, taking into account any specific instructions or preferences a CRG may have (for example PaPaS Author and Referee guide);
  • Able to commit to and dedicate at least two years to writing a Cochrane review (this includes the time from title registration stage to completing the full review as well as commitment to updating the review).
  • Be committed to meeting the expected deadlines of PaPaS (see our flowcharts of the editorial process for Protocols and Reviews).

Note that if the first draft of the protocol is not submitted within six months of registration, the title will be automatically de-registered unless there are extenuating circumstances.