The Cochrane Editorial and Publishing Policy Resource (EPPR) brings together Cochrane’s editorial and publishing policies, as well as general information about the editorial and publishing processes, and the published products, including the Cochrane Library. Access the EPPR here.
We follow all Cochrane policy as outlined in the EPPR. Highlighted below are some policies of particular importance.
Rejecting, de-registering and withdrawing reviews
Rejection of Cochrane Reviews policy: see here.
Appeals policy: see here.
- Review proposals should meet the following expectations: a priority topic based on an urgent healthcare need and/or relevance to policy or guidelines; at least one experienced Cochrane author; expertise including clinical, methodological and statistical; a good standard of English; preferably no other on-going Cochrane reviews; not dependent on external deadlines (e.g. PhD, grants); no overlap with existing Cochrane titles. For more information about proposing a review title, please see here.
- We expect first draft protocols to be submitted within six months of registration. The title will automatically be de-registered after this time if it has not been submitted, unless there are extenuating circumstances. We expect protocols to be published within 12 months of registering the title.
- We expect first draft reviews to be submitted within nine months, and no later than 12 months, from publication of the protocol. We reserve the right to withdraw the protocol from the Cochrane Library, or pass the title to another team, if we do not receive a first draft within this time. We expect the review to be published no more than two years after publication of the protocol.
- We expect first draft updates to be submitted within three to six months of running the updated search results. We reserve the right to withdraw the review from the Cochrane Library, or pass the title to another team, if we do not receive a first draft within this time. We expect the update to be published within 12 months of running the first searches.
- We reserve the right to stop work or withdraw a protocol, review or update if the quality is consistently below the expected minimum standards and/or the author team is delayed beyond reasonable timelines.
All protocols, reviews and updates are assessed against Cochrane standards, namely the Cochrane Handbook, Style Manual, and Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews (MECIR standards). We also routinely perform plagiarism checks using iThenticate.
We routinely provide ongoing editorial support to all author teams throughout the development process, but should it become clear that an unreasonable amount of work is required to meet the expected standards, we will consider stopping work after consultation with the editors and authors. Deadlines are clearly set in advance, and timely reminders sent to authors. Guidance is sent directly to all authors via Archie 'ticket' emails. Authors are encouraged to keep in contact with the editorial office throughout the development process in order to manage timelines and meet the expected standards. Authors are encouraged to attend training courses at Cochrane UK, or their nearest Cochrane Centre, and utilise the resources available on the PaPaS website and via Cochrane Training.
Our reviews are updated based on need, usually following an assessment of the current evidence base by the review authors and editors. We usually reassess reviews for updating every two years, unless an alternative timeframe has been agreed. See the Cochrane policy here, and more information about how we approach updates in PaPaS here.
In 2017, the PaPaS editorial team made the decision to routinely assess all overview reviews for updating after five years, rather than two, due to the length of time it is likely to take to update the included systematic reviews.
Commercial sponsorship policy
Cochrane has adopted the uniform requirements for declaration of conflicts of interests framework produced by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, Cochrane and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR), but it differs from many journals in two ways: (1) certain types of sponsorship are forbidden; and (2) we ask for disclosure of conflicts of interests at the beginning of a review process. Read the full policy here.
See the Cochrane 'Comments on Cochrane Reviews' policy (also known as 'Feedback') here.
Cochrane's mission is to promote evidence-informed health decision-making by producing high-quality, relevant, accessible systematic reviews and other synthesized research evidence. In pursuit of this, there may be circumstances where in order to achieve the widest possible dissemination and impact of review findings it is desirable to pursue ‘co-publication’ in other and appropriate journals. See the policy here.
Peer review policy
The Cochrane peer review policy was implemented in January 2019. See the policy here.
Authorship and contributorship
This policy aims to include information on 'Criteria for authorship', 'Authorship of Cochrane Review updates', 'More than one first author', 'Minimum number of authors', and 'Contributors listed in acknowledgements' (see here). This policy is currently being updated (2019).
For authors who are thinking about preparing a Cochrane Review, there needs to be clear information about what is expected of them in terms of skills and competencies, and in return what they can expect from CRGs and Centres by way of training and support. See the full policy here.