Cochrane policies

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.

Cochrane Peer Reviewer Policy 2018:

  • Currently being implemented across all Cochrane groups.  It will be implemented fully by all Cochrane groups by January 2019: see here.

Policies introduced in August 2017:

  • Cochrane rejection policy (for de-registering, rejecting and withdrawing titles): see here;
  • Cochrane appeals policy (following notification of intent to de-register, reject or withdraw): see here.

PaPaS policies and procedures

  • Standard Operating Procedure: title proposal and registration download
  • Standard Operating Procedure: protocol development [large file; contact PaPaS to obtain a copy]
  • Standard Operating Procedure: external peer review download
  • Peer reviewing updates: download
  • Assessing reviews for updating according to the Cochrane Updates Classification System: download
  • Social Media policy: download
  • Addressing and publishing feedback received via the Cochrane Library: download

Rejecting, de-registering and withdrawing reviews

From August 2017, our policies on de-registration, rejection and withdrawal will align with the new Cochrane policies as mentioned above.

  • 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 HandbookStyle 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

Updating overview reviews

In 2017, the 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.