Review process

Internal peer review

This is a two-stage process.

  1. The editorial base (Managing Editor, Deputy Managing Editor, Information Specialist) assess the review for adherence to the MECIR standards. The Managing Editor also performs routine copy editing.
  2. The Editor assigned to the review comments on the draft.

This internal review process takes approximately eight weeks.

External peer review

Once authors have addressed and resolved the comments arising from the internal peer review process, the manuscript is sent for external peer review. 

External reviewers are selected on the basis of either content expertise or methodological expertise, or both. The document is also reviewed by one of our statisticians inhouse. All reviewers are asked to comment in a structured way, using a checklist for this purpose, and to respond within two weeks of receiving the manuscript.

When the review team have satisfactorily dealt with all comments from both the external reviewers and that statistician, the review will be submitted for copy-editing by the publisher and publication in the next possible issue of The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Things to note

The process of developing a review is an iterative one and reviews will undergo several drafts before publication. Review authors (particularly those who are inexperienced) should not be put off by this process - the end product will be worth it. However, registration of a title does not guarantee publication for that team. Reviews may be rejected at any stage of the process for one or more of the following reasons: poor quality; agreed timelines not met; evidence that the author team lack the core competencies to complete the review; and concerns about conflicts of interest or other aspects of publication ethics. Cochrane's policy on rejecting Cochrane Reviews can be found here

Disagreements between the editorial team and the review authors, or between the review authors themselves, about the content of their review should be resolved by discussion, with arbitration from the Co-ordinating Editor.