Resources for review authors

Getting involved as a review author

If you have expertise in some aspect of healthcare, consider becoming involved in the relevant Cochrane Review Group. If there is not yet a group which covers your specialty, register your interest in being part of a new group. Being part of a Cochrane review group provides the support, resources and training to tackle a systematic review, and an international audience when your work is published in the Cochrane Library.

 Resources

Training - face-to-face

Contact Cochrane Centres or Review Groups about local workshops and courses in review production. Some of these events are listed on the Cochrane workshops page.

Training - online

  • Open Learning Materials - learn the steps in convenient online modules which supplement the Cochrane Handbook in helping you gain skills and complete your review.

Training resources provided by other organizations

Methods used in reviews

Inclusion criteria

Evidence from studies using the following designs are included in the PROSTATE register: randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or controlled clinical trials (CCTs). As well-conducted, randomized trials provide the most reliable evidence regarding the effectiveness of interventions in urology, inclusion of non-randomized studies will only be approved in exceptional instances.

Search strategies

Searches of the PROSTATE register can be made upon special request and will be approved by the editorial office based on resource availability.

Access to specialised register by reviewers

The register contains the bibliographic details of over 2500 studies.

Assessment of methodological quality

Standard Cochrane methods are used to assess the methodological quality of studies included in Cochrane Urology reviews.

Data collection

In order to make reviews useful to readers, certain types of information should be available in all reviews. These standard items should include: study design (RCT vs. CCT); type of intervention; controls; information on the participants (age, community or region); methods of review; outcomes; and results. When data are missing in the published study report, the review authors should attempt to contact the corresponding author of the report. Only key information is reported in the included studies and results tables of Cochrane Urology reviews.

Analysis

Analyses not specified a priori in the protocol are identified as such in the review. Statistical guidance is available from the editorial base.

Editorial process

Titles

To register a title with the group, prospective review authors should complete and submit a Cochrane Urology Intervention Review Proposal Form or Cochrane Urology Diagnostic Test Accuracy Review Proposal Form, as applicable, along with a brief CV of each prospective author, for consideration by the editorial office. The editorial office will notify the prospective review authors of proposal acceptance or non-acceptance. If the proposal is accepted, the title will be formally registered with Cochrane Urology.

Protocols

Authors of registered titles will then develop a protocol, which has a series of standardized headings. For intervention reviews, Cochrane Urology utilizes a protocol template that will be pre-populated into the initial version of the protocol file. Draft protocols submitted for editorial approval will then be distributed to the relevant review editor. Once the draft protocol meets the appropriate quality as judged by the editorial team, the draft protocol will undergo peer referee. The Co-ordinating Editor may reject a protocol based upon poor quality (only in extreme cases). When the protocol meets the appropriate quality as judged by the sign-off editor, the protocol will be submitted for copy-editing. Once copy-editing is completed, the protocol authors will need to resolve any issues identified by the copy-editor before the protocol will be marked for publication in the Cochrane Library.

Reviews

Authors of published protocols will then complete the full review. Members of the editorial team and peer referees evaluate completed reviews. The Co-ordinating Editor may reject a review based upon poor quality (only in extreme cases). When the review meets the appropriate quality as judged by the sign-off editor, the review will be submitted for screening by the Cochrane Editorial Unit (CEU). The review authors will need to address any recommendations provided by the CEU before the review will be permitted to proceed to copy-editing. Once copy-editing is completed, the review authors will need to resolve any issues identified by the copy-editor before the review will be marked for publication in the Cochrane Library.

Updating

Review authors are expected to update their reviews annually or as new evidence arises to maintain timeliness or if amendments are required to improve validity of comprehension. Reviews should be updated in response to criticism as quickly as possible.

Criticisms of Cochrane Urology protocols/reviews are welcome and helpful. Criticisms of Cochrane Urology protocols/reviews prior to publication in the Cochrane Library should be sent to the Cochrane Urology editorial office in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. Criticisms of Cochrane Urology protocols/reviews following publication should be sent via the Comments/Criticisms facility in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.