Editorial and Publishing Policy Resource

This section includes information about Cochrane's copy-editing policy, the Copy Edit Support service, the copy-editing checklists, and the Cochrane Style Manual.

Copy-editing policy

All Cochrane Reviews (including protocols and updates) must be copy-edited before publication.

Copy-editing must be done by either a member of Copy Edit Support or an accredited copy-editor in the Cochrane Review Group (CRG). This policy was introduced in May 2012.

If CRGs would like to continue using a member of their editorial team to copy-edit Cochrane Reviews, the nominated person will be required to pass an accreditation process. For more information contact Elizabeth Royle, Copy Edit Support Manager.

All Cochrane Reviews and protocols must, where possible, adhere to the Cochrane Style Manual.

Copy Edit Support

Copy Edit Support is a copy-editing service for all CRGs. Copy Edit Support aims to work alongside CRGs to enhance the clarity and readability of reviews being prepared for publication

Copy Edit Support was set up in 2004 by Cochrane’s publisher, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, which continues to support the service. In January 2014 management of Copy Edit Support was transferred to the Cochrane Editorial Unit.

Copy Edit Support team

Cochrane employs a team of freelance copy-editors. The members of the current team are:

  • Kate Cahill
  • Clare Dooley
  • Jason Elliot-Smith
  • Meggan Harris
  • Ann Jones
  • Anne Lawson
  • Anne Lethaby
  • Dolores Matthews
  • Heather Maxwell
  • Denise Mitchell
  • Vicky Pennick
  • Elizabeth Royle
  • Deirdre Walshe
  • Lisa Winer

Copy Edit Support also recruits and trains new copy-editors periodically. For more information, please send an inquiry to Elizabeth Royle.

What are the standards used for copy-editing?

Copy-editors check submissions against the Cochrane Style Manual, and other Cochrane guidelines including the Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews (MECIR) standards, the Plain Language Expectations for Authors of Cochrane Summaries (PLEACS) standards, the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions, the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Diagnostic Test Accuracy and the copy-editing checklists.

Where should I send protocols, reviews, or updates for copy-editing?

Send an email about your protocol, review or update to Elizabeth Royle. Please state the review title in the subject line of your email and whether the submission is a protocol, new review or an update. For new reviews and updates, please state how many included trials there are. There is no need to send a copy of the protocol, review, or update with the email message.

When should I submit my reviews?

Please notify Copy Edit Support as soon as your review is ready for copy-editing.

When will I get the reviews back?

Copy Edit Support works to a schedule of returning copy-edits within two weeks of submission. Occasionally, submissions may take longer if the number of submissions requiring processing during a particular period exceeds the team’s working capacity, or if there is a problem in access being granted to a review once a copy-editor has been assigned. Copy Edit Support inform CRGs as soon as possible if we anticipate delays.

What should I do after I get my reviews back?

The copy-editor will let you know when the review has been copy-edited. You can then either check changes to the review made using the Track Changes function, or check against the pre-copy-edited version using the 'compare documents' function in Archie, raise any necessary queries with the copy-editor or authors, and approve the review for publication.

How does the copy-editing system work?

Members of Copy Edit Support copy-edit reviews in Review Manager, using the following process:

  1. The CRG sends an email to Copy Edit Support to say that a protocol, review, or review update is ready for copy-editing.
  2. Copy Edit Support confirms receipt of this and, as soon as possible, lets the CRG know which copy-editor will be working on the submission. The copy-editor is copied in on this response so that s/he is advised of the assignment. (Generally it is not possible to do this all in one step, Copy Edit Support confirms receipt in one email and then sends a separate email advising when the copy-editor has been assigned.)
  3. The CRG authorizes the named copy-editor to have the necessary Archie document permissions for the review to be copy-edited, and ensures that the review is in the 'Editorial' phase.
  4. The copy-editor checks the review out of Archie, copy-edits it (using Track Changes, or not; British or American English spelling; and provides notes/comments in the CRG’s preferred format), and checks it back in.
  5. The copy-editor informs the CRG when the review has been copy-edited.

What kind of copy-edit training does Copy Edit Support provide?

Copy Edit Support does not provide basic copy-edit training, but rather focuses on providing training in elements of Cochrane style. For further information, please contact Elizabeth Royle.


If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact Elizabeth Royle.

Copy-editing checklists

The Cochrane Editorial Unit and the Cochrane Editorial Resources Committee have developed two copy-editing checklists:

The pre-copy-editing checklist outlines the items that editorial teams should aim to address in protocols, reviews and updates before the work is submitted to Copy Edit Support for copy-editing.

The copy-editor's checklist outlines the items that copy-editors should check when they are copy-editing protocols, reviews, or updates.

Information and guidance on how to use these checklists are available at the start of each checklist.

Cochrane Style Manual

The Cochrane Style Manual is designed to help review authors and people responsible for copy-editing to use a consistent style when copy-editing Cochrane Reviews and other Cochrane content.

The Cochrane Style Manual does not explain how to prepare a Cochrane Review and does not cover every word choice or every context. Authors and editors will need to use their knowledge and judgement when applying the guidance, but any deviation should be for a good reason rather than personal preference.

For more information please see the following pages in the Manual:

The Cochrane Style Manual was prepared by the Cochrane Editorial Unit and the Cochrane Style Manual Working Group. It replaces the Cochrane Style Guide, originally developed by the participants of project called the 'Prospective copy edit pilot', that was approved for use within Cochrane on 6 December 2002.

Cochrane Style Manual Basics is a shorter collection of essential style guidelines, intended for authors and others interested in learning the basics of Cochrane style.

Contact: John Hilton, Editor, or Elizabeth Royle, Copy Edit Support Manager (Cochrane Editorial Unit), with any queries or suggestions for changes or additions.

Cochrane Style Manual Working Group

The Cochrane Style Manual Working Group helps the Cochrane Editorial Unit to develop and maintain the Cochrane Style Manual in response to feedback.

Members, to be nominated by the Convenor or Co-Convenors of the Group, and approved by the Editor in Chief, must be actively involved in copy-editing and proofing Cochrane content. The membership should include various Cochrane editorial roles, including Managing Editors, Information Specialists, Copy Edit Support members; at least one member should be based in a non-English speaking country. Members are expected to:

  • be familiar with the Cochrane Style Manual and related resources;
  • participate in meetings;
  • read and comment on circulated documents;
  • respond to electronic communications within agreed timescales;
  • help plan for the future development of the Cochrane Style Manual and related resources;
  • assist with publicizing the Cochrane Style Manual and related resources.

Current members:

  • John Hilton (convenor), Editor, Cochrane Editorial Unit
  • Elizabeth Royle (convenor), Copy Edit Support Manager, Cochrane Editorial Unit
  • Clare Dooley, Copy Edit Support
  • Luisa Fernandez Mauleffinch, Managing Editor, Cochrane Oral Health Group
  • Gillian Gummer, Copy Edit Support
  • Nikki Jahnke, Assistant Managing Editor, Cochrane Cystic Fibrosis and Genetic Disorders Group
  • Rachael Kelly, Managing Editor, Cochrane Epilepsy Group
  • Joey Kwong, Copy Edit Support
  • Harriet MacLehose, Senior Editor, Cochrane Editorial Unit
  • Dolores Matthews, Copy Edit Support
  • Heather Maxwell, Copy Edit Support
  • Dimitrinka Nikolova, Managing Editor, Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group
  • Nancy Owens, Senior Communications Manager, Cochrane Communications and External Affairs Department
  • Tracey Remmington, Managing Editor, Cochrane Cystic Fibrosis and Genetic Disorders Group
  • Sera Tort, Clinical Editor, Cochrane Editorial Unit

Previous members: Emma Tavender (Satellite Co-ordinator, Effective Practice of Care) provided advice and guidance for the 4th Edition (2008); Sonja Henderson (Co-convenor until August 2004); Vicki Sparkes; Susanne Ebrahim; Lesley Gillespie; Reive Robb (until 2007); Alison Beamond (until 2014); Kate Cahill (until 2017).

The Cochrane Style Manual Working Group is supported by core funding from Cochrane, initially through the Quality Advisory Group (until April 2009) and then through the Cochrane Editorial Unit (from April 2009).

Contact: John Hilton, Editor, or Elizabeth Royle, Copy Edit Support Manager (Cochrane Editorial Unit)

Section info
John Hilton (jhilton@cochrane.org)
Describe change
Style Manual Working Group membership updated.
Change date
8 September 2017