Developing and submitting a protocol is the second step in the publication process. A protocol should give a detailed outline of:
- outlining in detail the clinical problem, populations to be included and excluded, standard diagnostic practice, and the diagnostic test or tests under evaluation, and
- how you plan to search the literature, select and appraise the methodological quality of relevant articles, and extract and analyze the data.
The thought of doing a systematic review can be daunting for new review authors. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you get started. Since expectations and methods of completing Cochrane reviews are constantly evolving, experienced authors are also advised to review the materials before going further.
Cochrane Back and Neck (CBN) encourages new authors to attend a training workshop before beginning work. At the very least, the team should review the materials forwarded by the Managing Editor or available on Cochrane web site. It may seem like a lot of extra work when you want to get started on answering your clinical question, but it is time well spent.
These materials include:
The CBN Review Process
For the most comprehensive information on publishing Cochrane DTA reviews, please visit the Cochrane Diagnostic Test Accuracy Working Group website.
Once the protocol has been approved, it may be referred to as a Cochrane protocol. The review team has one year to submit a completed review. Failure to do so may result in the title being withdrawn from the list of registered titles and the topic freed up again for other authors.