How to get involved in writing a Cochrane Review
This page is for authors who would like to write a Cochrane Review. If you would like to commission a Cochrane Review, or you are a guideline producer needing Cochrane evidence for inclusion in your guideline, or you are a patient who cannot find a systematic review on a topic you are interested in, please email Emma Dennett.
We rely on author teams writing and updating reviews to provide high-quality, timely, and relevant information to decision-makers around the world. We work with teams from all around the world – some are very experienced, and some are learning the foundations of systematic reviewing with appropriate support.
There are three main ways that you can get involved in writing a Cochrane Review 1) apply to write/update a priority review topic, 2) propose a new review, 3) propose to update an existing review.
1. Apply to write/update a priority review topic
We have a list of reviews that have been identified through our priority-setting process – these are listed below. If you wish to write a new review or update* one of these reviews, then complete the relevant form and return it to Emma Jackson. We will be looking to see that the review team has sufficient experience and/or understanding of Cochrane methods and we will also provide considered feedback on the PICO suggested.
Current available priority reviews
- Interventions to improve inhaler technique in patients with COPD (new review). An existing review in asthma could be incorporated if the review question was expanded to include inhaler technique in chronic respiratory diseases rather than COPD only.
- Pharmacological interventions for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (new review). Prospective author teams may propose a review on all interventions for IPF, or they may choose to submit proposals on a single intervention or a group of interventions such as anti-fibrotic agents.
- Alpha 1-antitrypsin augmentation for alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency (new review). The review team must include someone who is an expert in AATD and must comply with Cochrane’s conflict of interest policy.
- Long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) plus long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) versus LABA plus inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) for stable COPD (update). One of our editors is interested in taking this forward. Prospective authors/author teams should contact the managing editor for further information.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy for managing dyspnoea in COPD (new review)
Link to Cochrane priority review list – this shows available reviews from all groups in Cochrane.
2. Propose a new review
We welcome unsolicited review proposals. First, check that your idea has not already been covered by looking at our reviews. Once you have found a suitable topic, complete a review proposal form and email it to Emma Jackson. It’s important to explain in the form why the topic is relevant and useful to decision-makers. Please also explain what experience your team has – we need teams to be reasonably self-sufficient, so as a minimum find a Cochrane review specialist close to you to provide support. We will add your review proposal to the agenda for discussion at our next monthly editorial meeting and may circulate it to select editors with expertise in your topic area. Review proposals are subject to approval by the editorial board.
3. Updating an existing review
A Cochrane Review should ideally be updated when there is new evidence to be included that can change or strengthen the conclusions of a review. If you already have a Cochrane Review and are aware of new eligible trials, email Emma Dennett to say you are interested in updating the review and we can plan for this.
If you are aware of an existing review authored by a different team that you would like to update*, then please contact Emma Dennett to explain why you want to update the review, and whether you have a team in place and we can discuss this further. Sometimes an update may be in progress, or members of the existing team may be willing to assist in the update, or sometimes they will be happy to hand the review over to a new team. Systematic review methods have evolved over time so if a review is more than 3 to 5 years out of date it will need some changes to methods. We find that if the review is over 5 to 10 years old that the clinical question often needs some revision – and it can be easier to begin with a fresh protocol. You may be required to complete a review proposal or an update proposal form, but it will save time to discuss this with Emma in the first instance.
*A note on updating reviews. When a new team takes over an existing review it is best to agree authorship roles for existing and new authors in advance. We want everyone to be confident their work has been appropriately acknowledged. All authors on a by-line must have made a substantive contribution to the review in line with ICMJE expectations of authorship roles. All the authors must have read, understood, and agreed with the results of the review. All authors must have Cochrane accounts so that they can sign off conflicts of interest and license for publication forms.