MECIR Manual
Implementation of the Standards

The Methodological Expectations for Cochrane Intervention Review (MECIR) are the Standards that each Cochrane Intervention Review should meet. Review authors and Cochrane Review Groups are expected to adhere or oversee adherence to these Standards across different stages of the review process: protocols, reviews and updates. 

All Standards are qualified with the status of ‘mandatory’ or ‘highly desirable’. Mandatory Standards should always be met unless an appropriate justification for not doing so can be provided. Highly desirable Standards should generally be implemented but justification for not implementing them is unnecessary. We introduce each set of Standards with key points and where necessary additional explanatory notes. The MECIR conduct Standards (C1-C75) are included in Version 6 of the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions.

Since the MECIR Standards were launched in 2011, technology has developed and changed how reviews are being produced. The development of web-based platforms such as Covidence, EPPI-Reviewer, and GRADEpro GDT, as well as tools supporting semi-automation, have changed the way that systematic reviews are produced. Whilst we can expect technology to develop and help improve efficiency in production of Cochrane Reviews, these Standards remain a fundamental element of the preparation and quality assurance of individual Cochrane Intervention Reviews. 

The MECIR Standards represent a considerable amount of work from many people within the Cochrane community. The core team of Julian Higgins, Rachel Churchill, Toby Lasserson, my predecessor, David Tovey, and Jackie Chandler have made substantial contributions to the process. I am delighted to welcome James Thomas and Ella Flemyng to an expanded team of authors to coincide with the launch of version 6 of the Handbook.  

We continue to welcome feedback from all of you who are responsible for delivering the Standards, and hope that they are useful to you in producing and maintaining high quality, relevant reviews that can guide decision makers throughout the world, in pursuit of better health.

Karla Soares-Weiser
Editor in Chief
The Cochrane Library

Section info
Contact
methods@cochrane.org
Describe change
25/09/2019
Cochrane Review authors and the Cochrane Review Groups (editorial bases) are expected to meet these minimum quality standards in their reviews. These standards guarantee consistency of methodological practice across Cochrane Intervention Reviews and are an important element of the quality assurance of individual reviews. All standards are qualified with the status of ‘mandatory’ or ‘highly desirable’. Mandated standards are essential and compliance is expected or an appropriate justification provided. Reviews that do not meet these standards should not be published. Earlier versions of these MECIR standards for conduct and reporting are currently in use and used to audit new abstracts and reviews. In our prepublication screening programme of new reviews, we used a subset of the standards. Subsequent to this initial implementation, the standards have undergone review and revision. We have now developed standards for updates and protocols. 

We introduce each set of standards with key points and where necessary additional explanatory notes. 

The MECIR standards represent a considerable amount of work from many people within the Cochrane community. However, it seems appropriate to single out Julian Higgins, Rachel Churchill, Toby Lasserson and Jackie Chandler for their commitment and resolve in pushing the process through to this resolution. That said, of course this does not represent the final word. Methods change and these standards will continue to be refined over time. We therefore welcome feedback from all of you who are responsible for delivering the standards, and hope that they are useful to you in producing and maintaining high quality, relevant reviews that can guide decision makers throughout the world, in pursuit of better health outcomes.  

David Tovey
Editor in Chief
The Cochrane Library

replaced by
Introduction by Karla Soares Weiser
Change date
25 September 2019