Cochrane Style Manual

In this section: Frequently used names | Names specific to Cochrane | Family names | Pharmaceutical drug names | Organism names | Virus names | Country and ethnic group names

Frequently used names


Correct abbreviation

Incorrect abbreviation(s)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention






Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation

Note: the GRADE system is used to assess the quality of evidence in reviews, and 'Summary of findings' tables are generated using the GRADEpro GDT software.

Note: the abbreviation GRADE does not need to be defined in Cochrane Reviews (see Common abbreviations that do not need to be defined in the section on Abbreviations and acronyms).









Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses

Note: the abbreviation PRISMA does not need to be defined in Cochrane Reviews (see Common abbreviations that do not need to be defined in the section on Abbreviations and acronyms).






World Health Organization


World Health Organisation

Web of Science

Web of Science

Web of science

Presentation of terms and names specific to Cochrane

Note: the following table displays the correct spelling and formatting of terms names specific to Cochrane.

Correct usage

Incorrect usage



author or review author





Note: in line with branding from January 2015 and to make things clear, impactful, and consistent we now refer to ourselves simply as ‘Cochrane’, in the singular. We no longer say 'The Cochrane Collaboration' (although that remains the legal name of the charity).

The Cochrane Collaboration
the Cochrane Collaboration
The Collaboration
the collaboration

Note: in certain circumstances (e.g. when referring to the full legal name of the organization, or when citing past Cochrane products, 'The Cochrane Collaboration' may be appropriate).

Cochrane Central Executive:

  • CEO's Office
  • Editorial & Methods Department
  • Knowledge Translation Department
  • Publishing, Research & Development
  • Finance Services
  • Informatics and Technology Services
  • People Services

Central Editorial Unit

Finance & Core Services

Cochrane Editorial Unit

IKMD Department

Cochrane Organisational Unit

Cochrane Secretariat

Membership, Learning & Support Services

Cochrane Groups:

  • Fields
  • Methods Groups
  • Review Groups
  • Review Group Networks
  • Geographic Groups
    • Associate Centres
    • Centres
    • Geographic Networks
    • Affiliates

For individual Cochrane Groups, see:

Cochrane groups


Methods groups


the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL)

The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL)

the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Note: use italics for the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews only, not other databases included in the Cochrane Library.

The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions

Note: can be referred to as 'the Handbook' in short after first mention

title changed in version 4.2.4 from ‘Cochrane Reviewers’ Handbook’ to current format.

Cochrane Reviewers’ Handbook

The Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions

The Handbook

the Cochrane Library (no italics)

'…in the Cochrane Library'

The Cochrane Library
the Cochrane Library

'…on The Cochrane Library'

the Cochrane Editorial and Publishing Policy Resource

the Cochrane Editorial and Publishing Policy Manual
The Cochrane Editorial and Publishing Policy Resource
the Cochrane Editorial and Publishing Policy Resource

the Cochrane Methodology Register

The Cochrane Methodology Register

Cochrane Review protocol or protocol for a Cochrane Review

'protocol' starts with a lower case letter

Cochrane Protocol or Cochrane Review Protocol

Cochrane Review

Cochrane Systematic Review or Cochrane review

Cochrane Review Group

Collaborative Review Group
Cochrane Collaborative Review Group

the Cochrane Style Manual

the Style Manual line with Cochrane style...

Cochrane Style Basics

the Cochrane Style manual
the Cochrane Style Guide

the style manual/the Style Guide line with Cochrane Style...

Cochrane Style Manual Basics



Co-ordinating Editor

Coordinating Editor

Information Specialist (from 1 March 2016)

Trials Search Co-ordinator (prior to 1 March 2016)

See Cochrane 'Trials Search Co-ordinators' are now 'Information Specialists’

Information specialist

Trial Search Co-ordinator
Trials Search Coordinator


Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews (MECIR)

Methodological expectations of Cochrane intervention reviews (Mecir)



Review Manager 5

RevMan 5 (abbreviation)

RevMan Web





Family names

Where names have designation of rank within a family, such as 'Jr' or 'III', place family designations of rank at the end of the name, without punctuation, and use Arabic ordinals rather than Roman numerals.

Examples (in text): write

'James M LeMesurier, Jr' as 'James M LeMesurier Jr'
'Roger G Smith III' as 'Roger G Smith 3rd'

Examples (in references section)

'James M LeMesurier, Jr.' becomes 'LeMesurier JM Jr'
'Roger G Smith III' becomes 'Smith RG 3rd'

Some family names have specific formatting, and there may be regional differences. For consistency, in the text Chinese names should follow a Westernized style, that is, first name followed by the family name: first name/personal name (名字 míngzi) and family name/surname (姓 xìng). Formatting of Dutch family names should follow the style from the table below. It is advisable to seek confirmation from Cochrane authors before modifying.

General guidance on Dutch family names in the text

First name (or initial) before the family name

van, de, der, and ter start with a lower-case letter

'Danielle van der Windt' or 'DA van der Windt'

Only family name used

Van, De, Der, and Ter start with an upper-case letter

'Van der Windt'


Pharmaceutical drug names

Refer to pharmaceutical drugs using the Recommended International Nonproprietary Name (generic name; rINN; see note below), rather than the brand name. This system helps avoid confusion where common names for drugs differ around the world; for example, acetaminophen is commonly used in the USA, but it is more commonly known as paracetamol (also the rINN) in the UK. If needed, however, place the brand name in brackets after the rINN. A rINN should start with a lower-case letter, while a brand name starts with an upper-case letter. For example, the rINN for one type of antibiotic is ‘ciprofloxacin’. This could be presented as ‘ciprofloxacin’ alone or ‘ciprofloxacin (Ciproxin)’ if essential, but not as ‘Ciproxin’ alone.

Useful resources for locating or checking the rINN are the British National Formulary (which provides information on medicines prescribed in the UK), the WHO MedNet (which can be accessed for free upon registration), and the WHO Model Formulary (which provides comprehensive information on medicines in the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines).

Note: “International Nonproprietary Names (INN) facilitate the identification of pharmaceutical substances or active pharmaceutical ingredients. Each INN is a unique name that is globally recognized and is public property. A nonproprietary name is also known as a generic name." World Health Organization, Essential Drugs and Medicine Policy, International Nonproprietary Names. (accessed 7 July 2015).

There is no need to use trademark symbols (® or ™) with brand names. These symbols (® for registered; ™ for unregistered) are intended for use by owners of brand names to assert their ownership in their own documentation and advertising. There is no need to use these symbols with drug or product names in Cochrane Reviews, but brand names should always have an initial capital letter and correct spelling. If there is potential misunderstanding or ambiguity about the status of a name, the text should make it clear that it is a brand name, with the company name added if needed.

Organism names

Names of organisms are given in the form Genus species (e.g. Plasmodium falciparum, Staphylococcus aureus). The genus name starts with an upper-case letter, and the species name is all lower case. Both are italicized. Once an organism's name has been stated in full, use the abbreviated form thereafter. For the abbreviated form use the initial letter of the genus followed by the species name (e.g. P falciparum, S aureus).

Virus names

Do not italicize a virus name when used generically or when referring to a strain (e.g. herpes simplex virus, influenza A (H1N1) virus), and do not use capital letters unless the virus name includes a proper noun (e.g. West Nile virus, Ebola virus). Italicize species, genus, and family of a virus when used in a taxonomic sense. In this case, virus names should follow the rules of orthography of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV). The table below summarizes how to format virus names, but refer to for a full overview of ICTV recommendations. It is usually not necessary to mention the taxonomy of a virus if it is well known.

Formatting of virus names

Note: this information comes from where there are further examples of formatting rules and a full taxonomy index.

Type of term



Virus order, family, subfamily, or genus

Italics with first letter of the name capitalized

Herpesvirales (order)
Herpesviridae (family)
Alphaherpesvirinae (subfamily)
Simplexvirus (genus)

Species name

Italics with the first letter of the first name capitalized. Never abbreviate species names.

Exceptions: proper nouns, parts of proper nouns, or alphabetical identifiers may be capitalized even if they occur as the second word.

Human alphaherpesvirus 1
Mumps virus

West Nile virus
Influenza A virus
Enterovirus A

Virus strain or generic name

Not italicized and the first letter of the first word is not capitalized, unless it is a proper noun or includes alphabetical identifiers

Ebola virus
herpes simplex virus
influenza A (H1N1) virus

Country and ethnic groups' names

Refer to the section on international considerations for guidance on country names and ethnic group names.

Section info
John Hilton (
Describe change
Section on Cochrane names updated to reflect organizational changes.
Change date
19 September 2019