Cochrane invites prospective authors to propose new Cochrane Reviews by submitting a proposal in Editorial Manager. Please see the Cochrane Library information for authors for further details. It is mandatory that the registration form includes full contact details for all authors, a preliminary title, a synopsis (100-200 words) describing background and rationale for the review, inclusion criteria, outcomes, and comparisons. Please also include a "scoping literature search" and an estimated number of trials to support the review.
Please be advised that Cochrane does not accept a systematic review with a single author.
The proposal will initially be evaluated using the following criteria:
The topic of the review is within the scope of the Cochrane Colorectal Group, clinically relevant, and addressing an important uncertainty
The topic is not covered by other reviews published from the Cochrane Colorectal Group or elsewhere within Cochrane
The rationale for doing the review is clear and well-grounded (focused question (PICOs) and methodology)
Completion of the review appears feasible
The author team has the required expertise to undertake the review and is committed to keeping the review up to date
Important notice to authors: We must emphasize that submission of a proposal does not mean that the title automatically will be registered by the Cochrane Colorectal Group or elsewhere within Cochrane.
If the proposed title has been approved, one author will be appointed the contact author as stated in the title registration form. This contact author now holds the primary responsibility for the review throughout the entire process. Once registered, only the contact author can handle the submission process in Editorial Manager.
The contact author will receive a welcome package on how to get started, including documents on Cochrane style basics, managing expectations, the required methodological expectations (MECIR), and a checklist to be used prior to protocol submission. The contact author is obliged to secure progress and is responsible for the submission of a first draft protocol within 3 months from registration. If the author team fails to produce a draft protocol for editorial consideration within the outlined 3 months, the Cochrane Colorectal Group will most probably withdraw the author team from the title without further notice.
Cochrane Colorectal Group´s support to authors
Prior to finalizing the draft protocol, the Cochrane Colorectal Group will support the authors on:
Furthermore, Cochrane provides additional training and learning for authors in methods required to write Cochrane systematic reviews.
Authors may communicate with the Contact Editor or Managing Editor about any problems they may have while preparing the protocol.
Submission of the protocol draft
It is expected that a draft protocol will be submitted to the Cochrane Colorectal Group within 3 months of registration of the title. If a draft protocol, information on progress in general, or a plausible explanation for the delay is not forwarded to the Cochrane Colorectal Group within 3 months, the Managing Editor will most probably inform the contact author that the title will be rejected without further notice.
After submission of a draft protocol for editorial review, the protocol will first be assessed by the Managing Editor and/or the Contact Editor and comments will be returned to the authors. The appointed Contact Editor will be a member of the Cochrane Colorectal Group Editorial Base with experience in Cochrane methodology and who is able to provide methodological and clinical advice. The CCG Editorial Office checks the draft for accuracy and whether it follows the required standards (MECIR conducting standards). Authors are asked to respond to each of the comments (point by point) in the attached Excel spreadsheet and to submit a revised protocol within 4 weeks.
When authors submit the first draft to Editorial Manager for editorial evaluation, 4–5 weeks of editorial processing is to be expected. However, this may vary.
Peer-review and Publication of final protocol
The Contact Editor decides when the protocol is ready for peer-review. The Cochrane Colorectal Group is part of the pilot project Editorial Independence and Efficiency Project. As part of this project, the Central Editorial Service handles the editorial process from peer review to publication.
The Central Editorial Service reserves the right not to publish a protocol for a given issue of the Cochrane Library if it fails to meet the required standards, thus judged not to be acceptable for publication. Furthermore, publication will be postponed (or rejected) if the mandatory declarations have not been signed by all authors.
Cochrane Colorectal Group´s support to authors
The authors proceed with developing the full review after the protocol is published. Cochrane Colorectal Group will support the authors on:
- Review Manager software support and Editorial Manager support if needed
- Methodological support (limited resources)
- Guidance on finishing the review in accordance with MECIR reporting standards, forwarded the Contact editor upon publication of the protocol and which the authors are expected to follow
Cochrane provides additional training and learning for authors in methods required to write systematic reviews.
Authors are welcome to approach the Contact Editor of Cochrane Colorectal Group Editorial Office for any questions they might have regarding the review process or problems arising in the process.
Submission of review draft
Once the protocol is published, CCG expects submission of the completed review within 6 months.
After submission for editorial review, the review is first evaluated by the Managing Editor and the Contact Editor and comments are returned to the authors. The Cochrane Colorectal Group Editorial team for the review is normally identical to the one appointed for the protocol (but changes might occur), and the evaluation process, in general, follows the one described for the protocol.
Regarding the revision of the full review, special attention is drawn to:
- MECIR reporting standards
- Statistical methods
- Results section and evaluation of included trials (Risk of bias Tables)
- Discussion and interpretation of results
- Consistency throughout the review
Peer-review and Publication of final review
Once the review is revised to the satisfaction of the Contact Editor, it is sent to the Central Editorial Service, which handles the editorial process from peer review to publication.
Authors are expected to update their review when needed and maintain them in response to criticisms or the identification of additional references. It is the authors' responsibility to make sure the updated review complies with the mandatory Cochrane standards.
For out-of-date protocols in the Cochrane Library overtaken by a new research team, Cochrane Colorectal Group Editorial Office will ask for an update of the background and rationale, including more up-to-date references highlighting the clinical questions and dogmas.
After submission of the updated review, the review is first assessed by the Managing Editor and the appointed Contact Editor and comments are returned to authors. Authors are asked to respond to each comment point by point and submit a revised review.
In general, minor changes are corrected in agreement with the authors, Contact Editor, and the Cochrane Colorectal Group Editorial Office. Upon substantial changes in the review update, the appointed Contact Editor will decide the recommended evaluation process. Changes to outcome results, implications, or other sections of the review lead to an evaluation by all members of the appointed editorial team (as for the review).