Editorial and Publishing Policy Resource
Scenarios addressed in this policy

This policy addresses the following potential scenarios:

Publishing summaries of Cochrane Reviews in another journal or resource (e.g. a ‘Cochrane Corner’)

Republishing Cochrane abstracts and/or plain language summaries in journals (e.g. 'Cochrane Corners') with or without additional commentary is an effective dissemination tool for keeping specialist audiences abreast of the most recent evidence published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR). Each journal publishing a 'Cochrane Corner' or similar feature needs to request permission to republish Cochrane Review abstracts and plain language summaries, and can do this by applying directly to the Cochrane Library publisher, John Wiley & Sons Ltd., for permission. Journal editors should contact Deborah Pentesco-Gilbert (dpentesc@wiley.com) to discuss the arrangements. Commentaries published in addition to a Cochrane Review abstract or plain language summary should clearly differentiate between the author(s) of the commentary and the author(s) of the Cochrane Review (i.e. it should not appear that a Cochrane Review has been published by a different set of authors).

The list of journals or resources with signed agreements to publish summaries of Cochrane Reviews is available (see Appendix 1).

Prior publication’: publication in a journal before publication in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR)

Publishing the completed Cochrane Review in a journal before publication in the CDSR is almost always an inferior option to ‘simultaneous publication’ and should be reserved for exceptional circumstances. Authors considering this option should first contact the Managing Editor of the relevant CRG with a completed ‘Permission to co-publish’ form (Appendix 2). The Managing Editor will refer each case to the Cochrane Editorial Unit (CEU) for permission; contact ceu@cochrane.org and ensure that the subject line of your email clearly states “Co-publication query”. The authors, the CRG and the journal will be required to follow all steps outlined in the ‘Requirements for co-publication'.

Authors should also be aware that submitting an abridged version of a Cochrane Review (completed or in progress) to a journal, without the permission of the Cochrane Review Group (CRG) and Cochrane Editorial Unit, and with the intention that the journal version is published first, may be considered duplicate submission. In such cases the CRG and the CEU will be guided by the procedures outlined by the Committee for Publication Ethics (COPE; www.publicationethics.org) and the ICMJE.

Simultaneous publication’: publication in a journal on the same or similar date

There may be instances when the public would benefit from the simultaneous publication of a Cochrane Review in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) and another journal. The journal is likely to be a specialist publication (reaching a specialist audience) or published in a language other than English (reaching a new audience). Simultaneous publication may be discussed for a Cochrane Review at any stage in the process, but ideally this should be discussed with the Cochrane Review Group's (CRG’s) Managing Editor as soon as the authors consider this possibility. Any decision on whether or not to agree to co-publication will reflect the input and contribution of the CRG staff, editors, and peer reviewers. This contribution should also be acknowledged in any co-published version of the Review.

Before proceeding along this route, authors must consider the following.

  • The journal editor may consider the publication to be redundant (duplicate) publication, that is, “publication of a paper that overlaps substantially with one already published in print or electronic media” (ICMJE recommendations on overlapping publications; accessed 18 September 2017). This could potentially lead to limitations being imposed on publication of the Cochrane Review in the CDSR, which are unacceptable to The Cochrane Collaboration.
  • Authors of published Cochrane Reviews have granted The Cochrane Collaboration an exclusive licence for publication for the Cochrane Review, meaning that the Cochrane Review cannot be published elsewhere without permission, and the journal editor needs to be aware of this.

Authors considering this option should first contact the relevant Managing Editor of the CRG for permission (using the ‘Permission to co-publish’ form, in Appendix 2). The CRG will refer each case to the CEU; contact ceu@cochrane.org and ensure that the subject line of your email clearly states “Co-publication query”. The authors, the CRG and the journal will all be required to follow the steps outlined below in the ‘Requirements for co-publication’.

Post-publication’: publishing in a journal after publication in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR)

There may be instances when the authors feel that subsequent publication of an abridged version of a published Cochrane Review in another journal would be in the public interest. In these cases the journal is likely to be a specialist publication (reaching a specialist audience) or published in a language other than English (reaching a new audience). Before proceeding along this route, authors must consider the following.

  • The editor of the other journal may consider the publication to be redundant (duplicate) publication, that is, “publication of a paper that overlaps substantially with one already published in print or electronic media” (ICMJE recommendations on overlapping publications; accessed 18 September 2017).
  • Authors of published Cochrane Reviews have granted The Cochrane Collaboration an exclusive licence for publication for the Cochrane Review, and the journal editor needs to be aware of this.

Authors considering this option should first contact the Managing Editor of the relevant Cochrane Review Group (CRG) using the ‘Permission to co-publish’ form (Appendix 2). The authors, the CRG, and the journal will all be required to follow the steps outlined in the ‘Requirements for co-publication’ section.

If the journal has already signed a Cochrane co-publication agreement (listed in Appendix 3) the CRG can grant permission without referring the case to the Cochrane Editorial Unit (CEU), although the CRG will ensure that the CEU is aware of each permission granted by sending a copy of the completed ‘Permission to co-publish’ form to the CEU. If, however, the journal has not yet signed a co-publication agreement, or if the journal appears on the list of high-profile journals (Appendix 4), the case will be referred to the CEU for permission (contact ceu@cochrane.org and ensure that the subject line of your email clearly states “Co-publication query”). The CEU will ask Wiley to ensure that the journal signs a Cochrane co-publication agreement and that permission is granted to the author. The CEU will inform the CRG of the decision, and the CRG will communicate the decision to the author.

Co-publishing Cochrane Review updates

Keeping Cochrane Reviews up-to-date in response to new evidence, feedback, and methodology is a responsibility for authors and Cochrane Review Groups (CRGs). An updated version will be based substantially on the previous version of the published Cochrane Review. Authors must consider the following when considering this option.

  • Cochrane Reviews should be updated in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR). Any decision to co-publish an updated Cochrane Review in a journal must involve discussion with both the CRG and Cochrane Editorial Unit (CEU).
  • The co-publication of any updated Cochrane Review must be substantially different to any previous co-publication of the same Review (e.g. the conclusions are different).
  • The editor of the journal may consider the publication to be redundant (duplicate) publication, that is, “publication of a paper that overlaps substantially with one already published in print or electronic media” (ICMJE recommendations on overlapping publications; accessed 18 September 2017).
    • Authors of published Cochrane Reviews have granted The Cochrane Collaboration an exclusive licence for publication for the Cochrane Review, and the journal editor needs to be aware of this.

For permission to co-publish an updated version of a Cochrane Review, please contact the Managing Editor of your CRG, using the ‘Permission to co-publish’ form (Appendix 2); your case may be referred to the Cochrane Editorial Unit for further guidance. The guidance given in the ‘Requirements for co-publication’ section should also be followed.

Author teams should also refer to the formal letter sent from the Editor in Chief of the Cochrane Library to authors upon publication of a Cochrane Review. The letter describes that published Cochrane Review authors have a duty to: (1) seek permission if they wish to publish elsewhere; (2) inform the CRG; and (3) cite their Cochrane Review in any co-published versions. The letter also states the services that authors can expect from the CRG, including support for the updating search, and the expectations on either side, including the commitment by CRGs to be responsive and timely with feedback.

Republication of Cochrane Reviews in official Cochrane journals (e.g. Evidence-Based Child Health: A Cochrane Review Journal)

Cochrane Reviews may be selected for publication in official Cochrane Collaboration journals, which at the moment comprises only one journal title (Evidence-Based Child Health: a Cochrane Review Journal), but may in the future include additional journal titles. Copyright for republication of Cochrane Reviews in official Cochrane Collaboration publications is covered in the Cochrane Licence for Publication form, which grants an exclusive licence to The Cochrane Collaboration for publication in the CDSR and in any derivative products. The authors are always informed when their Cochrane Review has been selected for republication in an official Cochrane Collaboration journal.

When Cochrane Reviews are republished in full in a Cochrane journal (e.g. in Evidence-Based Child Health: A Cochrane Review Journal) the authors may still seek to co-publish an abridged version of the Cochrane Review in another journal when the aim is to reach a new audience by shortening the Review and making it accessible for a certain audience (e.g. for clinicians). In these cases, permission should still be sought via the Cochrane Review Group (CRG) in the usual way (outlined in the ‘Requirements for co-publication’ section). The authors are responsible for ensuring that the co-publishing journal is aware that the Review appears not only in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) but also in Evidence-Based Child Health.

Note that the Overviews of Reviews (i.e. not Cochrane Reviews) published in the journal Evidence-Based Child Health are already abridged for a journal readership and they are not available for co-publishing in any other journal.

Converting systematic reviews (non-Cochrane) to Cochrane Reviews

There may be instances when authors wish to convert a non-Cochrane systematic review into a Cochrane Review so that it can be included within the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) and updated thereafter. In these cases, the journal in which the systematic review was first published is the primary publication and the CDSR is the secondary publication. Authors of these systematic reviews need to be mindful of any licence for publication forms (or copyright forms) signed for the primary (journal) publication.

If authors are considering converting a non-Cochrane systematic review to a Cochrane Review, then the following additional steps need to be taken:

  1. The authors should inform the journal editor (of the primary publication) and obtain consent. The journal editor may also refer the authors to the publisher for permission.
  2. When considering conversion, the author must make a complete statement to the Cochrane Review Group's (CRG’s) Managing Editor about the journal article (primary publication), which may be regarded as redundant or duplicate publication.
  3. The CRG’s Co-ordinating Editor will decide whether the conversion is in the interests of the CDSR and its readers, and whether processing the review is an appropriate use of time of the CRG's editorial team and its peer reviewers and editors. The CRG should determine this in the context of its own priorities and is at absolute liberty to decline the title. Equally, the CRG might decide that the needs of users would be better realized by delaying conversion and setting an updated search date in order to incorporate new studies, which might change the findings of the review.
  4. The Acknowledgements section of the Cochrane Review should inform readers and documenting agencies that the paper has been published previously in whole or in part, and state the primary reference (journal article). The full reference to the primary publication (journal article) should be included in the section ‘Other published versions of this review’.

Submitting abstracts to conferences

Published Cochrane Review

If the Cochrane  Protocol or Review is published, the author(s) can submit the abstract to the conference without seeking additional permission. The author(s) must include the citation to the Cochrane Review in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR). 

Unpublished Cochrane Review

If the Cochrane Protocol or Review is still being prepared and the author(s) wishes submit an abstract to a conference, then the author will need to include an appropriate citation, such as, “This abstract is based on a draft and [pre-peer review/post-peer review] version of a [Protocol for a Cochrane Review/Cochrane Review]. Upon completion and approval, the final version is expected to be published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (www.cochranelibrary.com)."

Section info
Contact
Bryony Urquhart (burquhart@cochrane.org)
Describe change
Link updated - ICMJE recommendations on overlapping publications.
Change date
18 September 2017