Editorial and Publishing Policy Resource
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/publisher (of the primary publication) and obtain consent. 
  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’.
Section info
Bryony Urquhart (burquhart@cochrane.org)
Change date
13 September 2018