My colleagues and I would like to collaborate on a review. How can we put together a successful review team? 

  • Your team should have at least two authors, including someone with relevant clinical expertise, someone who has participated in a Cochrane review that has been published in the Cochrane Library and someone who is proficient in writing English.
  • Your team must possess, or have access to, the statistical skills required to extract, manipulate and interpret data from the included studies.

I have a topic for a review in mind. How do I know if this topic falls within the scope of Cochrane Childhood Cancer and that it has not already been covered in another Cochrane review? 

I want to write a systematic review on the effectiveness of an intervention. What is the procedure to start writing one? 

I want to write a protocol. What is the procedure to write one? 

Does Cochrane Childhood Cancer have specific methodological standards? 

  • Authors writing a review within the scope of Cochrane Childhood Cancer are obliged to adhere to the methodological standards as set out in The Cochrane Handbook and additionally to the CCG standards. 
  • These standards are also included in the CCG module.
  • Please check our webpage Methodology to be used.

I’ve heard that writing a Cochrane Systematic Review is a big commitment.  Why is this? 

To ensure high quality reviews, authors:

  • Must adhere to the methodological standards as set out in the Cochrane Handbook which can be very time-consuming, especially for new review authors who are not yet familiar with Cochrane methods;
  • Must publish a protocol before conducting the literature search and writing up the full review;
  • Are expected to publish updated versions of their reviews every two years which may involve updating methodological aspects of the review.

Can I publish my Cochrane review in a print journal? 

  • Publication in another journal is possible. Please contact the Editorial Base as permission is required from CCG, Cochrane’s Editorial Unit and Wiley.
  • Authors are expected to publish their review first in the Cochrane Library.

Is there a deadline for writing and submitting my protocol? 

  • Protocols should be submitted to the Editorial Base within six months of title registration.
  • If a protocol has not been received within one year, the Editorial Board reserves the right to make the title available to other interested review teams.

Is there a deadline for writing and submitting my review? 

  • Completed reviews should be submitted to the Editorial Base within one year of publication of the protocol.
  • If a review has not been received within two years, the Editorial Board reserves the right to make the title available to other interested review teams.

Is there a deadline for updating my review? 

  • Reviews should be updated and submitted to the Editorial Base within two years of publication of the review.
  • If an updated review has not been received within four years, the Editorial Board reserves the right to make the title available to other interested review teams.

What are the relevant steps in the search for studies? 

Searches should be as extensive as possible (please contact our Information Specialist for guidance with developing and running a search strategy). Steps in the search must include at least:

  • An electronic search of CENTRAL, MEDLINE and EMBASE
  • Screening of the reference lists of relevant reviews and studies included in the review
  • Searching for ongoing trials in trial registers
  • Search relevant grey literature sources, like conference proceedings
  • Check our webpage Methodology to be used for standards and easy to read open access publications on this topic

What if I run my literature search and do not identify any trials that meet my inclusion criteria?

  • Not until titles and abstracts have been screened, it will become clear whether there is any evidence on the topic. In case no relevant studies are being identified (‘empty review’), no conclusions can be drawn.  Empty reviews end with a standard sentence indicating that there is insufficient evidence to draw any conclusions.
  • In the case of empty reviews, it will be particularly important that author teams are committed to keeping the review up-to-date. Cochrane Childhood Cancer has published and updated a few empty reviews.

What is the difference between Archie and RevMan? 

  • Archie is Cochrane’s central server for (1) storing and managing documents, (2) filling out  Conflict of Interest and License for Publication forms, and (3) editing your contact details. 
  • RevMan is the software that review authors use to edit their review(s).
  • Once you have registered your title, we will send you instructions for activating a user account in Archie and a link to download RevMan 5.
  • The Archie user account will also allow you to access and edit your review in RevMan. 

If I understand it correctly my review is stored in Archie while I will do my editing in RevMan. How do I get my review from Archie into RevMan? 

When you are ready to start working on a new or existing review, you will need to import the review from Archie into RevMan 5 (in Cochrane terminology:  ‘check out your review’).

  • Go to RevMan5
  • Choose ‘File’ and ‘My Reviews’ OR click the My Reviews button on the main toolbar.
  • In the My Reviews window, click the review you want to edit and click OK.
  • Click ‘Check Out’ to confirm that you want to check out the review. This will prevent others from accessing the review while you are working on it.
  • You can find other helpful Archie and RevMan tips here

It has been over a year since we completed our literature search, and we’re wondering if new studies have been published in the meantime. Should we go ahead and submit our review for publication or update the literature search first? 

  • If more than a year has passed, it is mandatory to update your search. Reviews should be published within a year of completing the literature search. 
  • Depending on the number of new trials you have identified, you may decide to: (1) include them and postpone submission with a few months, or (2) submit the review you have just completed, add the new trials to the ‘awaiting classification” reference list, and update the review as soon as possible after publication of the review. Please contact the Editorial Base to discuss both options.

I want to update a review, but I think the original search strategy missed some important references. Can I draft a new search strategy? 

  • If you think that a search strategy has missed important references, please let us know. Necessary revisions can then be made. 
  • Strictly speaking, the concept of updating the literature search is to re-run the original search, but new search terms can be added depending on the development in the field and ‘old terms’ can be removed.
  • Major changes in a search strategy have to be mentioned in the "published notes" section and in the "search strategy" section, with appropriate changes and comments. It is always possible to add ‘missed’ references by the handsearching option.
  • Chapter 6 of the Handbook covers all aspects of searching for studies.

If you have not found an answer to your question, please contact the Editorial Base at ccg@prinsesmaximacentrum.nl