Cochrane has a three-step process for publishing its systematic reviews in the Cochrane Library, which differs from most peer-reviewed journals. The other big difference between publishing in The Cochrane Library and other journals is step four, the expectation that the review will be updated as new information becomes available. This means review authors can look forward to a long-term relationship with their team, their review and review group co-ordinator…or start succession planning early!
Step one: propose the title of a potential review to the Managing Editor of Cochrane Back and Neck (CBN), indicating that you and your colleagues would like to complete a systematic review.
Step two: submit the protocol for your review, outlining in detail the Population, Intervention, Comparisons and Outcomes (PICO) you plan to examine, how you plan to search the literature, select and appraise the methodological quality of relevant articles, and extract and analyze the data.
Step three: submit the completed review.
Step four: update the review.
The Editorial Process
In this section we describe the steps taken to publish a Cochrane review with Cochrane Back and Neck.
- Review authors start the process by submitting a Title Proposal form (available on our Forms page) to the CBN Managing Editor, who sends it to all CBN editors for review, comments and approval. Once comments and approval are received, the co-ordinator notifies the lead author and registers the title with Cochrane.
- Once the title is approved, review authors have up to six months to submit a protocol to the CBN Managing Editor, who sends it to an editor and a member of the Associate Editorial Board for appraisal and comment. Once all comments are received, the Managing Editor collates the comments and forwards them to the lead author.
- The review authors respond to the comments, revise the protocol as indicated, and return their responses and the revised protocol to the CBN Managing Editor. The revised protocol is appraised and approved for publication by both co-ordinating editors. The approved protocol is edited and submitted for publication. It is now a 'Cochrane' Protocol.
- Once the protocol is published, review authors have up to one year to submit the review to the CBN Managing Editor, who sends it to an editor and two members of the Associate Editorial Board for appraisal and comment. Once all comments are received, the Managing Editor collates the comments and forwards them to the lead author.
- The review authors respond to comments, revise the review as indicated, and return their responses with the revised review to the CBN Managing Editor. The revised review is appraised and approved for publication by both co-editors. The approved review is edited and submitted for publication. It is now a 'Cochrane' Review.
- Cochrane reviews are updated based on need. See updating a systematic review for more details.
Rejection of reviews
Reviews can be rejected at any stage of the editorial process. See the Cochrane policy on rejecting Cochrane Reviews for more information.