Resources For Review Authors

Review Authors

Conducting a Cochrane review of a complex public health topic is a considerable undertaking. The following tips and resources will help you plan and successfully complete your review. 

Proposing a review

A new Cochrane review should be registered with the relevant Cochrane Review Group at the start of the process - the Cochrane community website has more information about proposing and registering a new review. A competent authorship team that includes people with content and systematic review methodology expertise and a thorough understanding of the primary research in the chosen topic area is crucial. At this early planning stage, you may also consider recruiting a consumer to the team, to ensure the review is relevant and meaningful to the public - see here for more information. 

If you are thinking of starting a review, familiarise yourself with the scope of Cochrane Public Health (CPH) review on the About Us and Our Reviews pages. Please read the information Managing expectations: what does Cochrane expect of auhors, and what can authors expect of Cochrane? before contacting CPH. When you're ready to propose a new review with CPH, please email the Managing Editor Jodie Doyle (jodie.doyle@newcastle.edu.au). If your proposed title is likely to be within the scope of CPH, we will send you a formal Review Proposal Form to complete.

Knowledge translation

Cochrane defines knowledge translation (KT) as the process of supporting the use of health evidence from our high quality, trusted Cochrane Reviews by those who need it to make health decisions. 

  • Dissemination Plan. To support KT, CPH has developed a Dissemination Plan to help your author team to start thinking about and planning your content and strategies for dissemination of review findings. It is important to think about dissemination early in the review process (at protocol stage) as there is information you may be able to collect during review production that will be crucial to implementing an effective and well-targeted dissemination/communications strategy, come review publication time.
  • Review Advisory Group guidance is also available if you are considering setting up an advisory group to inform the parameters of your Cochrane protocol. Cochrane provides a learning resource to support authors getting people involved in the production of their reviews. 
  • Also see this section on Making Systematic Reviews Policy Relevant.

Branding and Acknowledgement

At a minimum we recommend that your product:

  • Mentions that the information is from a Cochrane Review 
  • Makes it clear that the review was developed through CPH. This can be signalled via an acknowledgement statement and/or placement of our logo on dissemination products. Please email CPH KT manager at Meghan Finch (meghan.finch@health.nsw.gov.au) to request logo. 

Ideally, your dissemination product would also:

  • Explain what sort of organisation Cochrane is (i.e. an international, independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation). Do this either as part of your dissemination product, or through a link. (e.g. About us | Cochrane). 
  • Explain what is good about Cochrane Reviews (i.e., high-quality methods, policies regarding conflict of interest, keeping reviews up to date, etc.). Do this either as part of your dissemination product, or through a link.

For additional resources, see our KT page

Planning and conducting the review

The Cochrane Training website has extensive training resources for Cochrane authors, including interactive online training, a series of regular webinars and information about face-to-face training events near you. All resources are free for Cochrane authors, including the Cochrane Interactive Learning online course. Contact your local Cochrane Centre for more information about local training.

  You can now also access the translated versions of MECIR in Spanish and in Japanese. 

  • Software. Cochrane review are completed and submitted for editorial review using RevMan Web. Other useful software tools that are free for Cochrane authors include:

    • GRADEPro GDT - creates Summary of Findings tables that can be imported into RevMan

    • Covidence and EPPI Reviewer - used for screening studies and data collection. EPPI Reviewer may be more flexible for complex data collection.

  • Synthesis Without Meta-analysis (SWiM). Where meta-analysis is not possible (for example, when a review's included studies do not report the required data), several methods other than meta-analysis can be used to synthesise quantitative results, or to provide structured summaries of results. Authors should be familiar with these methods and avoid unstructured text-based descriptions of results, which can risk selectively focusing on some results over others and introducing bias to the review's conclusions. Guidance is available on how to plan and use these methods:

Preparing to submit your review

Good practice & common errors – A Cochrane online training module that highlights the most common errors and points of good practice identified from submitted reviews. Take the quiz to check your knowledge, or work through the modules for a refresher. 

Editorial process and timeline. Here you will find information about the three stages of review production (title registration, protocol publication and review publication). CPH has a Rejection Policy which outlines the circumstances under which a protocol or review may be denied publication.

The Cochrane Editorial and Publishing Policy Resource 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

All Cochrane protocols and reviews must be compliant with standards outlined in the Cochrane Style Manual. For a quick summary of the key topics, start with the Cochrane Style Basics