The future of Cochrane's Editorial Management System



The goal is for Cochrane to select and roll out an editorial management system (EMS) that meets user needs, accommodates different content types, and is sustainable.

Why is Cochrane doing this?

Cochrane is currently reviewing the editorial management systems used by our editors and authors to prepare Cochrane Reviews and the other content published in the Cochrane Library.

Cochrane uses several editorial management systems (EMS) to manage its content. The primary system used for Cochrane Reviews is Archie, which was developed in-house in 2003. Limited investment in recent years has caused Archie to fall behind the technological curve and the system does not meet all the desires of our users. The EMS marketplace has evolved since 2003. Cochrane needs to find a sustainable editorial management solution that will serve the needs of our audience and contributors.

Cochrane requires an EMS that meets user needs, accommodates different content types, and is sustainable. This programme of work forms part of an organizational Target in 2020, which aims to improve our technology and revise our processes to create more timely, consistent, and efficient editorial and production systems.

Cochrane has engaged Origin Editorial as the consultant team to support this work, from selection to implementation.

What are the main areas of work?

Across the programme of work

This programme of work covers the EMS and linked production systems (from when content leaves the EMS up to publication). There will be multiple projects within the programme. The team has set up the programme, including individual projects and teams, for the two active projects (listed below) with rough timelines.

Project: In-depth review of the shortlisted EMS systems

This project includes an in-depth review of the EMS systems and related services from the shortlisted vendors and setting up the contract for a new EMS. Following discussions with the vendors and vendors ingesting test files for Cochrane content, a preferred vendor has been selected. Over the coming months, the project team will work with the vendor on agreeing the contract, including required customization for Cochrane’s needs. The project team anticipates signing a contract with the over the next few months. On signing with a vendor, the team will engage with editorial teams regarding reasonable timelines and implementation plans to seamlessly move onto the selected system.

Project: Comprehensive review and mapping of editorial workflows used by Cochrane Review Groups and other teams that prepare content for the Cochrane Library

The goal of this project is to develop a master end-to-end workflow - from content submission to publication - that reflects current best practice and meets the needs of contributors and users. This involves reviewing and analysing current workflows (which will also help with planning the roll-out of the new EMS) and setting up new workflows for Cochrane content. The project team has been mapping EMS requirements against those offered by the EMS vendor, outlining the high-level Cochrane workflow requirements, and exploring management of editorial steps within a new system (e.g. incorporating title registration, linking with derivative products). As part of this review, Origin Editorial has circulated a questionnaire for editorial teams to complete to capture key information in the following areas. 

Workflow: A review of the current day-to-day processes used from when an article is submitted to the editorial team through to the article being approved for publication.
Communication: A snapshot of communication inside and outside the editorial team.
Quality control process: To examine the quality control checks for original and revised submissions.
Current EMS usage: A look at how the current EMS are used (for different Cochrane content types) and the habits of the individual users.
Reports: To learn about the current reports used by the editorial teams and to identify reports needed within the new EMS.

The questionnaire is being followed by individual calls with each editorial team to refine the results and develop a comprehensive workflow that will map to the new EMS. This workflow will form the foundation of the daily submission and peer review operations that will be implemented in the new EMS. Several EMS Q&A clinics were held preceding the questionnaire submission deadline on July 1 to answer any questions about the questionnaire. 

See below for previous project updates.

Cochrane Team

Project team: Harriet MacLehose, Daniel Shanahan, Liz Dooley, Juliane Ried, Anupa Shah, Gert van Valkenhoef, John Hilton and Lucy Scott

Programme Board: Chris Mavergames (sponsor), Charlotte Pestridge (sponsor), Karla Soares-Weiser, Mark Wilson and Chris Champion

Programme Manager: Obi Onuora

Community Liaison team: Anna Erskine, Pua Motu'apuaka, Anne-Marie Stephani

About Origin Editorial

Origin Editorial is a full-service editorial office collaboration, managed, and staffed, by industry recognized thought-leaders on peer review management best practice and journal business operations. The Origin team has considerable experience using multiple editorial management systems and has previously been called upon to advise developers of these systems on functionality needs and to facilitate an understanding of how editorial office users interact with such systems. Origin is also regularly engaged to advise journals and publishers alike on optimal peer review management workflows for a variety of stakeholders.

The principal project leads will be Jason Roberts, Senior Partner at Origin Editorial and David Allen. Jason Roberts has blended 3 career paths (publisher, peer review management and research in to peer review and publication ethics) to become a leading voice in the industry on the improvement in peer review management with a view to elevating the quality of published research. He is a past president of the International Society of Managing and Technical Editors and resides in Ottawa, Canada. David Allen has 19 years of medical publishing experience including being a former director of publications for the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research as well as a former Publisher for Elsevier. He has extensive experience with multiple editorial management systems and has undertaken several system implementations for a variety of publications. David is based in South Carolina, USA.

Prior Updates

2020 January: Webinar recording

For Cochrane content editorial teams: login and listen to a recording of the webinar on 'The future of Cochrane's editorial management system: what have we learned and what's next?'

2019 December: Findings and decisions about the future EMS

Read about the findings of the first project to identify stakeholder requirements and select a new EMS.

2019 July: General update

Read a general update about the first project to identify stakeholder requirements and select a new EMS.