From September 2013, the Cochrane Editorial Unit (CEU) will commence a pre-publication quality assurance programme for new Cochrane Reviews of intervention. This will involve screening each new intervention review against key criteria. Below is a summary outline of review screening process:
- A team of editors based at the CEU will commence screening of new intervention reviews from September 2013.
- The team will screen reviews after they have been signed off by the Cochrane Review Groups (CRGs), usually by the Co-ordinating Editor.
- The criteria used for this process will draw on a subset of key items from the MECIR conduct and reporting standards, but where other potentially critical issues outside this subset are identified these will also be considered.
- For each review, the screening process will lead to the production of a short report which will be sent to the CRG. This will outline the proposed actions, including proceed to publication or suspension of the publication process. The CRG may be asked to share the report with the review authors, accredited copy-editor or Copy Edit Support.
- The screening process will not currently include protocols or updated reviews.
- In the event that substantial issues are identified during the screening process, such that publication is suspended, the review may be subject to a more extensive evaluation by experienced Co-ordinating Editors and methodologists. The CEU team will consult with the CRG editorial teams on potential solutions.
- The process has helped to identify examples of good practice and common errors in Cochrane Reviews. Relevant resources are being developed and maintained on the MECIR website.