Editorial and Publishing Policy Resource
Policy on withdrawing published Cochrane Reviews (including protocols)

The decision to withdraw a published Cochrane Review (or protocol) should generally be made between the authors and the Cochrane Review Group (CRG) editorial team. The reason for the withdrawal should be given in the Published Notes section of the protocol or review. When a protocol or review is withdrawn, it will be flagged in the published version in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) as ‘withdrawn’ and only the title, coversheet, and reason for withdrawal will be published.

Published Cochrane Reviews (including protocols) are not removed from the CDSR. (Up to 16 December 2014, withdrawn protocols were removed from the CDSR after one issue of publication. From this date onwards, withdrawn protocols remain published to maintain the public record of publication and to complement the inclusion in PROSPERO.) A review may be withdrawn temporarily (suspended) and can be reinstated once it is considered satisfactory by the authors and the CRG's editorial team; otherwise it should remain withdrawn. Published versions that precede a withdrawn version are available in the CDSR by clicking on the ‘Other versions’ tab in the article.

Protocols that have not been converted into full Cochrane Reviews within two years of publication should generally be withdrawn from the CDSR.

Reasons for withdrawing Cochrane Protocols and Reviews from the CDSR

Protocols for a Cochrane Review

  • The authors have requested this protocol to be withdrawn. The reason/s is/are [insert reason(s)].
  • The protocol is out of date and does not meet the current methodological standards of The Cochrane Collaboration.
  • Authors have made no progress with this protocol in XX months/years. New authors are being sought to take over this protocol.
  • The protocol has been republished as a Diagnostic Test Accuracy Protocol (provide full reference).
  • The protocol has been split into these protocols (provide full references).
  • The protocol has been merged with another (provide full reference).
  • Title reassignment: A new protocol will be published by the review authors (provide list of authors).
  • The Cochrane Review Group was unable to maintain contact with the contact author. The co-authors are unable to take over this protocol. New authors are being sought to take over this protocol.

Cochrane Reviews

  • The Editor/CRG withdrew this review as of Issue X, 20XX. The review will be reinstated following a substantive update.
  • Potentially relevant studies may have been excluded from this review and it has been withdrawn pending further investigation.
  • The statistical analysis may have been inappropriate and this review has been withdrawn pending further investigation.
  • There may be errors with data presentation and this review has been withdrawn pending further investigation.
  • Major errors in the review have been identified (e.g. through the Feedback mechanism). These errors are: [insert]. The review will be re-published following revision and peer review.
  • Non-compliance with The Cochrane Collaboration’s Commercial Sponsorship Policy.
  • The review has been combined with [insert number] an/other published Cochrane Review(s) and the new combined review has been published as [insert full reference].
  • The review has been split into [insert number] reviews that will be/have been published as [insert full references if known].
  • This review is being updated and replaced following the publication of a new protocol [insert full reference]. It will remain withdrawn when the new review is published.
  • The review has been republished as a Diagnostic Test Accuracy Review [insert full reference].
  • The authors have requested this review to be withdrawn. The reason/s is/are [insert reason(s)].
  • Authors are unable to update the review. New authors are being sought to update this review.The review has been withdrawn while the authors update aspects of its methodology ([list these]).
Section info
Change date
20 July 2016