Review proposal and title registration
Please see the Cochrane policy on rejecting Cochrane Reviews for further information.
The protocol describes the background to the review, its objectives, the inclusion criteria for trials, and the methods which will be used for extracting and processing the relevant information. Authors are given access to specialised Cochrane review preparation software RevMan.
Cochrane Vascular encourages authors and co-authors to attend a workshop on 'Developing a protocol' before commencing work. Training is also available online in the form of small modules which supplement the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions in helping you gain skills and complete your review. Protocols are expected to be submitted within three months of title registration. The Cochrane Vascular Information Specialist will design the search strategy for each protocol as this must be published in the protocol. Some authors choose to run additional searches and this should be discussed with the Editorial base. The complete search strategies must be published within the protocol.
Draft protocols are sent to a minimum of one editor and two external referees, one of whom is normally an expert in the field and the other is usually a consumer or 'end-user', for comments. Editors and external referees are requested to return comments to the editorial base within three weeks. The comments are then forwarded to the review's contact author, and circulated amongst the authors allowing them to respond to the comments. Revised version(s) of the protocol will be checked by the Managing Editor until the protocol is approved for publication by the Coordinating Editor.
Authors are aware of the identity and contact details of the editors and referees who comment on their protocols.
Copy-editing of protocols is done by Cochrane's Copy Edit Support team. Authors are asked to approve the final version prior to publication on the Cochrane Library.
Review development involves identifying, and assessing the quality of the trials, extracting data, summarising the relevant information, and drawing conclusions. Advice on specific problems or queries is available from the editorial base. Cochrane Centres run workshops and courses in review production.
The Cochrane Vascular Information Specialist aims to identify all relevant RCTs regardless of language or publication status (published, unpublished, in press or in progress). The Information Specialist will search the Cochrane Vascular Specialised Register, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, Embase, and CINAHL. The Information Specialist will also search the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform and Clinicaltrials.gov. Additional databases such as LILACS or PEDro may be searched depending on the topic of the review. The results from the searches are sent to the contact author.
The completed review should be submitted for editorial approval within 12 months of the protocol submission. If reviews are not submitted within this time or if the authors cannot be contacted, Cochrane Vascular will de-register the title and transfer it to other author teams.
Draft reviews are sent to a minimum of one editor, a statistician and two external referees, one of whom is normally an expert in the field and the other is usually a consumer or 'end-user', for comments. Editors and external referees are requested to return comments to the editorial base within three weeks. The comments are then forwarded to the review's contact author, and circulated amongst the authors allowing them to respond to the comments. Revised version(s) of the review will be checked by the Managing Editor until the review is approved for publication by the Coordinating Editor.
Authors are aware of the identity and contact details of the editors and referees who comment on their review.
Once approved for publication, reviews are copy-edited by Cochrane's Copy Edit Support team. Authors are asked to approve the final version prior to publication on the Cochrane Library.
Authors are expected to ensure that their review is kept up to date by incorporating any new relevant information as it appears in the medical literature within a resonable timeframe.
Updating of published reviews
The editorial base monitors the literature databases for trials identified since reviews were last published, that might be relevant for inclusion in published reviews. If new, potentially relevant trials are identified, authors will be asked to update their review.
Each review update is regarded as a new citation for the authors. If no new trials have been identified, and no changes are desired by the editorial base or the author, then the review may be updated as it stands. If changes are required, authors have three months in which to update the review. Revised reviews are assessed by a minimum of one editor and two external referees and, if necessary, the statistical editor prior to re-publication. Reviews that include preliminary data from ongoing trials are required to take subsequent data into account as soon as possible after publication of the data.
As with the protocol and review authoring process, if updated reviews are not submitted when expected, or if the authors do not respond when contacted, the editorial base has the right to make it available to other author groups.
Reviews sometimes need to be updated in the light of comments received through the 'Feedback' facility in the Cochrane Library. Authors are obliged to provide a response to criticism, and, if significant changes are made to a review as a result, the revised review would be subjected to the same editorial requirements as an updated review.
Precise and detailed information about preparing a Cochrane review can be found within the resource pages.