Editorial and Publishing Policy Resource
Review validation

Validation rules are divided into two types: those that result in error messages and those that result in warnings. Errors must be corrected to ensure that a review is published in its present form. Warnings are non-critical but serve as guidelines for complying with the correct format of Cochrane reviews. Some rules apply to protocols only (P), some apply to reviews only (R), and some apply to both reviews and protocols (P+R).

Validation checks in RevMan 5 and Archie

[updated on 10 March 2014]

The context in which you run the validation affects what information may be available. There are four cumulative sets of validation checks:

  1. In RevMan as you type - everything that can be checked immediately without contacting Archie.
  2. In the RevMan validation report - also includes contacting Archie to check references to reviews.
  3. In the Archie Validation report - also includes a check for Topics links.
  4. In the Archie Publication Wizard validation report - also includes checks for publication status and history.

 

Checks in RevMan as you type

Also in RevMan validation report, Archie Validation report, and Archie Publication Wizard validation report.

 

Section or Field

Rule

Stage

Message

Warning or Error

Title

Cannot be empty.

P + R

Section is empty.

Error

Title

Cannot exceed 256 characters

 

Title is longer than 256 characters.

Error

Authors

Cannot be empty.

P + R

Section is empty.

Error

Author (person)

First Name and Family Name cannot both be empty.

P + R

First Name and Last Name are empty.

Error

Author (group)

Group Name cannot be empty.

P + R

Group Name is empty

Error

Author

Record must be linked to Archie.

P + R

Record is not linked to Archie.

Error

Author (person)

City cannot be empty for any of the addresses.

P + R

City is empty.

Error

Author (person)

Country cannot be empty for any of the addresses.

P + R

Country is empty.

Error

Author (person)

First Name or Family Name should not be empty.

P + R

First Name or Family Name is empty.

Warning

Author (person)

Organisation should not be empty for any of the addresses.

P + R

Organisation is empty.

Warning

Contact person

First Name and Family Name cannot both be empty of the Primary Address.

P + R

First Name and Family Name are empty.

Error

Contact person

Department, Organisation, Address 1 and Address 2 cannot all be empty of the Primary Address.

P + R

Department, Organisation, Address 1 and Address 2 are empty.

Error

Contact person

City cannot be empty of the Primary Address.

P + R

City is empty.

Error

Contact person

Country cannot be empty of the Primary Address.

P + R

Country is empty.

Error

Contact person

Email cannot be empty of the Primary Address.

P + R

E-mail is empty.

Error

Contact person

First Name or Family Name should not be empty of the Primary Address.

P + R

First Name or Family Name is empty.

Warning

Dates

Assessed as Up-to-date cannot be empty.

R

Assessed as Up-to-date is empty.

Error

Dates

Date of Search cannot be empty.

R

Date of Search is empty.

Error

Dates

Assessed as Up-to-date cannot be in the future.

R

Assessed as Up-to-date is in the future.

Error

Dates

Date of Search cannot be in the future.

R

Date of Search is in the future.

Error

Dates

Assessed as Up-to-date should not be more than six months after Date of Search.

R

Assessed as Up-to-date is more that six months after Date of Search.

Warning

Dates

Next Stage Expected should not be empty.

P

Next Stage Expected is empty.

Warning

Dates

Next Stage Expected should not be in the past.

P + R

Next Stage Expected is in the past.

Warning

Dates

Protocol First Published should not be empty for a published review.

R (published)

Protocol First Published is empty.

Warning

What's new

Section cannot be empty unless protocol or review is new.

P + R (not new)

What's new is empty.

Error

What's new

Only one declaration event is allowed.

P + R

More than one declaration event ('New citation' or 'No longer being updated').

Error

What's new

If an Updated event is present, the Date of search should be less than two years old.

R

Review is declared to be updated, but Date of search is more than two years ago.

Warning

What's new

If a New citation: conclusions not changed event is present, there should usually also be an Updated event.

R

A new citation is declared without the review being updated. This should only be used in rare circumstances if a serious error in the citation record needs to be corrected.

Warning

What's new

If a Feedback incorporated event is present, there should be feedback in the review.

P + R

A 'Feedback incorporated' event is included, but the Feedback section is empty.

Warning

Event

Only events relevant to the current stage are allowed.

P + R

Event is not allowed at [Protocol/Full review] stage.

Error

Event

Date cannot be empty.

P + R

Date is empty.

Error

Event

Description cannot be empty.

P + R

Description is empty.

Error

Event

Dates cannot be in the future

P + R

Date is in the future.

Warning

Event

Withdrawn reviews only support Amended events.

R

Withdrawn reviews only support Amended events.

Error

Abstract

Abstract should not exceed 700 words.

R

Section is longer than 700 words (word count [n]).

Warning

Abstract

Abstract cannot exceed 1000 words.

R

Section is longer than 1000 words (word count [n]).

Error

Plain language summary

Summary should not exceed 400 words.

R

Section is longer than 400 words (word count [n]).

Warning

Plain language summary

Summary cannot exceed 700 words.

R

Section is longer than 700 words (word count [n]).

Error

Summary title (not DTA) Default text '[Summary title]' should be modified. R Section is empty. Error
Summary text (not DTA) Default text '[Summary text]' should be modified. R Section is empty. Error
Summary title (DTA only) Default text '[Summary title]' should be modified. R Section is empty. Warning
Summary title (DTA only) Default text '[Summary text]' should be modified. R Section is empty. Warning

Main text sections

Mandatory text sections (depending on stage) and activated text sections (under mandatory parent sections) cannot be empty. Most main text sections are mandatory with three exceptions (see below).

P + R

Section is empty.

Error

Acknowledgements, Contributions of authors

Sections should usually not be empty.

P + R

Section is empty.

Warning

Published notes

Cannot be empty for withdrawn reviews.

P + R

For a withdrawn review, this section should contain the reason for withdrawal.

Error

Study characteristics

All fields should not be empty at the same time.

R

Section is empty.

Warning

Summary of findings tables, Summary of results tables (DTA)

Numbering sequence should be unbroken.

R

There is a gap in the numbering sequence - use Renumber.

Warning

Summary of results tables (DTA)

Cannot be empty.

R

Section is empty.

Error

Summary of findings table, Summary of results table (DTA)

Title cannot be empty.

R

Title is empty.

Error

Additional tables

Numbering sequence should be unbroken.

P + R

There is a gap in the numbering sequence - use Renumber.

Warning

Additional table

Title cannot be empty.

P + R

Title is empty.

Error

Additional table

Table should be linked from the text.

P + R

Table is not linked from the text.

Error

Additional table

Links to tables should follow a sequential order.

P + R

The order in which Tables are linked is not correct. Links to Table [n] must come after links to Table [m].

Warning

Additional table

Number of columns should not exceed 10 columns

P + R

Table contains more than 10 columns.

Warning

Additional table

Number of columns cannot exceed 25 columns.

P + R

Table contains more than 25 columns.

Error

Included study, Excluded study

Study should have at least one reference.

R

No reference found.

Warning

Reference

All fields should not be empty at the same time.

P + R

Reference is empty.

Warning

Reference

Required fields should not be empty.

P + R

[Field name] is empty.

Warning

Cochrane review reference, Cochrane protocol reference

SO field should be 'Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews'.

P + R

Journal/Book/Source should be Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Warning

Cochrane review reference, Cochrane protocol reference

Should have DOI identifier.

P + R

DOI is missing.

Warning

Cochrane review reference, Cochrane protocol reference

The DOI identifier should be specified correct.

P + R

Multiple error messages depending on what is wrong.

Warning

Additional references

References cannot be reused

 

[identifier] is already used as an id in included or excluded studies.

Warning

Additional reference

Reference should be linked from the text.

P + R

Reference is not linked from the text.

Warning

Data and analyses

Numbering sequence of comparisons should be unbroken.

R

There is a gap in the numbering sequence - use Renumber.

Warning

Comparison

Name cannot be empty.

R

Name is empty.

Error

Comparison

Numbering sequence of outcomes should be unbroken.

R

There is a gap in the numbering sequence - use Renumber.

Warning

Comparison

Should not have empty outcomes.

R

One or more outcomes have no associated study data.

Warning

Outcome

Name cannot be empty.

R

Name is empty.

Error

Outcome

Numbering sequence of subgroups should be unbroken.

R

There is a gap in the numbering sequence - use Renumber.

Warning

Outcome

An active choice af labels for graph axes is required. 

R

The default graph label (Favours [experimental]/Favours [control]) for forest plots must be changed.

Error

Numeric outcome

I2 test should be < 95% if totals are calculated.

R

An I2 of [value] represents highly inconsistent findings across studies, and may indicate an error in the data.

Warning

Other outcome

No column heading should be empty.

R

One of the column headings is empty.

Warning

Subgroup

Name cannot be empty.

R

Name is empty.

Error

Numeric subgroup

Cannot be excluded from analysis.

R

Subgroup not included in analysis.

Error

Numeric subgroup

I2 test should be < 95% if subtotals are calculated.

R

An I2 of [value] represents highly inconsistent findings across studies, and may indicate an error in the data.

Warning

Numeric study data

Cannot be excluded from analysis.

R

Study data not included in analysis.

Error

Inverse variance outcome or subgroup

Option to enter number of participants has been selected, but no data have been entered for any studies.

R

The option to enter number of participants has been selected, but no data have been entered.

Warning

Dichotomous study data

Events <= Total and Total > 0.

R

Study data are invalid.

Error

Continuous study data

SD >= 0 and Total > 0.

R

Study data are invalid.

Error

Inverse variance study data

SE >= 0.

R

Study data are invalid.

Error

O-E and variance study data

V >= 0.

R

Study data are invalid.

Error

Tests (DTA)

Numbering sequence should be unbroken.

R

There is a gap in the numbering sequence - use Renumber.

Warning

Analyses (DTA)

Numbering sequence should be unbroken.

R

There is a gap in the numbering sequence - use Renumber.

Warning

Figures

Numbering sequence should be unbroken.

P + R

There is a gap in the numbering sequence - use Renumber.

Warning

Figures

The recommended Number of figures has been exceeded

 

The recommended maximum number of figures (6) has been exceeded - please remove [n].

Warning

Figure

Figure should be linked from the text.

P + R

Figure is not linked from the text.

Error

Figure

Generic figures, flow diagrams or Risk of Bias/Quality table plots should be smaller than 1000 x 2000 pixels.

P + R

Image is [x] pixels wide and [y] pixels high. Size is too big to fit on some screens or printers.

Warning

Figure

Links to figures should follow a sequential order.

P + R

The order in which Figures are linked is not correct. Links to Figure [n] must come after links to Figure [m].

Warning

Sources of support

Section should not be empty.

P + R

No sources of support found.

Warning

Source of support

Name cannot be empty.

P + R

Name is empty.

Error

Feedback

Numbering sequence should be unbroken.

P + R

There is a gap in the numbering sequence - use Renumber.

Warning

Feedback item

Title cannot be empty.

P + R

Title is empty.

Error

Feedback item

Links to feedback items should follow a sequential order.

P + R

The order in which Feedback are linked is not correct. Links to Feedback item [n] must come after links to Feedback item [m].

Warning

Feedback text section

Section should not be empty.

P + R

Section is empty.

Warning

Appendices

Numbering sequence should be unbroken.

P + R

There is a gap in the numbering sequence - use Renumber.

Warning

Appendix

Title cannot be empty.

P + R

Title is empty.

Error

Appendix

Section should not be empty.

P + R

Section is empty.

Warning.

Appendix

Links to appendices should follow a sequential order.

P + R

The order in which Appendices are linked is not correct. Links to Appendix [n] must come after links to Appendix [m].

Warning

 

Checks in RevMan validation report

From version 5.2 and newer. Also in Archie validation report and Archie Publication Wizard validation report.

 

Cochrane review reference, Cochrane protocol reference

A cited Cochrane review's DOI value should match with a valid Cochrane review.

P + R

CD number in the citation ([CDnumber]]) is not linked to any Cochrane review in Archie.

Warning

Cochrane review reference, Cochrane protocol reference

A cited Cochrane review's title should match with the actual published version.

P + R

Review title in the citation ([title]) for the Cochrane review
[CDnumber] is different from the title of the review version in Archie
([title]).

Warning

Cochrane review reference, Cochrane protocol reference

A cited Cochrane review's DOI Pub value cannot be greater than the review update no.

P + R

Incorrect pub number.

Warning

Cochrane review reference, Cochrane protocol reference

A published version should exist for the given issue and year of a cited Cochrane review.

P + R

No published version of the cited Cochrane review ([CDnumber]) is
found for the given issue ([issue]) and year ([year])

Warning

Cochrane review reference, Cochrane protocol reference

A cited Cochrane review should be in the same stage (Protocol or Review) as the actual published version.

P + R

The cited Cochrane review ([CDnumber]) is not a [stage] version.

Warning

 

Checks in Archie validation report

Also in Archie  Publication Wizard validation report.

 

Topics

Reviews should be linked to one or more topics. P + R Review is not linked to any topics. Warning

 

Checks in Archie publication wizard

 

Section or Field Rule Stage Message Warning or Error
Status A New review cannot have status Withdrawn. P + R A new [protocol/full review] cannot be withdrawn. Error
Events A reinstated review (where previously published version was withdrawn) that is not substantively updated. P + R A reinstated (previously withdrawn) [protocol/full review] must have a new citation and a [Major change/ Conclusions changed] event. Error
History A protocol should be published  before review is published. R There is not record of a published protocol for this full review. Warning
Title Published reviews should have a unique title. P + R There is another published [protocol/full review] with the same title in the [name of CRG] Warning
  A previously deleted review cannot be published again. R Only protocols can be resurrected, and they must return as active with a new citation and a Major change event. Error
  The address for an Author or Contact person should not both be marked as hidden and published in a review. P + R The [label] address for [name] is marked as hidden, but the [contact details are/affiliation is] published with this review. This conflict should be resolved. Warning
  The stage cannot be set back. R The stage cannot be set back from [stage] to [stage]. Error
  All updates should have a new citation. R All updates should have a new citation. Warning
  A review cannot be published with both a 'No longer being updated' and an 'Updated' event in What's new table. R A stable (no longer updated) review cannot have an Updated event under What's New. Error
Section info
Contact
Tom Cracknell (tcracknell@cochrane.org)
Describe change
This page transferred to the Editorial and Publishing Policy Resource from its previous location on tech.cochrane.org
Change date
2 March 2017