Editorial process

  • Titles

Cochrane invites prospective authors to propose new Cochrane Reviews by submitting a proposal in Editorial Manager. Please see information for authors for further details.

  • Protocols

After having registered the review title, authors are strongly invited to visit the main Cochrane website where the following can be downloaded:

  • General information on the Cochrane Collaboration and the Cochrane Group.
  • Access to Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions.
  • Learning material for reviewers.
  • Instructions for RevManWeb/RevMan 5.
  • Cochrane Style Guidelines.

Authors are encouraged to attend a training events covering systematic review preparation at their local Cochrane Centre / Online, before beginning their review protocol.

Please see the section on Search Strategies to explore the available support for designing and (at the review stage) running literature searches in line with Cochrane standards.

Authors are expected to submit their review protocol within six a month period.  However, if they experience problems extensions are possible if issues are communicated in a timely manner. After this period, the title will be de-registered and may be made available to other authors. The review protocol must be prepared in RevManWeb / RevMan 5 and submitted through Editorial Manager (see link above).  Authors are advised to carefully proof-read their protocol before submitting it.  It is the responsibility of the contact author to ensure that the protocol adheres to the formatting rules specified in Cochrane Style Guidelines.

The Protocol will reviewed internally by the mananging editor, information specilialist and a clinical content specilialist/sign-off editor to ensure that the review meets minimum technical and content requirements. If the protocol is not ready to be sent for external review, the contact author of the review is invited to work with the Editorial base team until the protocol is ready for editorial comments.

If internal review is passed, the draft protocol will be sent for external review with the Central Editorial Service. This process is designed to be entirely editorially independant from the review group, and will be managed by CES directly. Review will include methods and content review by external experts, as well as by consumer reviewers (for example, people with multiple sclerosis)

Authors are welcome to contact the editorial base at any stage if they wish to discuss problems with other experienced authors.
Once the protocol is approved it is published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews of The Cochrane Library.

  • Reviews

The review refereeing process is the same as that for the protocol: an internal review process will be performed to determine if the review is ready for external review by CES.


  • Updating

Authors are encouraged to update their reviews and to take into account pertinent new data, if available, starting from the date the search was last run.  Where no new evidence has been identified, authors have to update the date of their search strategy and state that no new evidence has been found. An updated review is submitted for editorial approval in the same way as a new review.

  • Comments/ Criticism

Comments and criticisms received on published Cochrane Group reviews are dealt with according to the published procedure defined centrally by the Cochrane Collaboration. 

  • Plain Language Summary

The plain language summary aims to summarise the results of the review in a style understandable by consumers and laypersons.

Review authors may draft the plain language summary themselves (ideally with consumer input) or ask the Cochrane MS Group for help in preparing it. Please see the updated guidance and template for plain language summaries. 

  • Other useful resourses:

RevManWeb knowledge base

Editorial Mananger knowledge base

Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews (MECIR) Manual