The Editorial Team of The CHBG and collaborators assess the quality of titles, protocols, and systematic reviews. Both protocols and systematic reviews are peer-reviewed externally before they are published. Criticisms and comments of published protocols and systematic reviews are also very welcome. Such criticisms and comments should be sent via the Submit Feedback facility included in each protocol and review in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in The Cochrane Library. The Editorial Team welcomes people from any region or background to contribute to and assist with these tasks.
Authors send a request for title registration to the CHBG Managing Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org), usually by e-mail. Review proposal forms, depending on the review type, are to be found on The CHBG website - see Forms and documents. Editorial staff evaluate whether the proposed title falls within the scope of The CHBG and when necessary correspond with other Cochrane groups to which the title may be pertinent in order to avoid possible duplication of effort. Responses from Cochrane entities need to be received within a fortnight after the title has been requested.
After having registered a provisional title, authors are expected to submit a protocol for the systematic review within the next six months. The review protocol must be prepared in RevMan 5 and submitted through Archie, Cochrane's central server for managing documents and contacts details. Authors obtain access to check in or out their working versions of the protocol or the review on Archie from the time the title is registered. Authors log in through http://archie.cochrane.org.
Information and knowledge on how to develop a protocol and perform a systematic review can be obtained by attending Cochrane workshops, by contacting the nearest Cochrane Centre, or by contacting The CHBG Editorial Team Office. The protocol has a series of standard headings. A number of protocols published in most recent years in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews can serve as models.
Intervention review protocols
Full instructions are given in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. An e-mail notifying that the protocol is checked in on Archie should be sent to the Managing Editor (email@example.com). The Managing Editor works with the protocol, and if the protocol is considered well-prepared (ie, follows the guidelines in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions and the CHBG recommendations either on this web site (see Resources - Author) or in The CHBG Module in The Cochrane Library, and in addition follows the requirements for style and format of the Cochrane Style Guide), it will be peer reviewed by the appointed 'Contact Editor' and at least two peer reviewers external to The CHBg. The Co-ordinating Editor may also make additional comments on the protocol. The Trials search Co-ordinator also checks the protocol for relevant to the searches and references parts.
The authors are expected to amend the protocol in light of the comments from the peer reviewer(s) and editor(s). The author should also prepare a cover letter to the Contact Editor with point-to-point answers. The cover letter is submitted via e-mail to the Managing Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org) alongside with the note about the revised protocol having been checked in on Archie. Authors are requested to use the track changes utility found under the Tools menu of RevMan 5 as well as highlight other changes. When this has been done, the protocol is usually accepted and published in The CHBG Module of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews of The Cochrane Library.
Diagnostic test accuracy review protocols
Instructions are given in the Handbook for diagnostic test accuracy reviews. An e-mail notifying that the protocol has been checked in on Archie should be sent to the Managing Editor (email@example.com). The protocol, if considered well-prepared, following the guidelines in the Handbook for diagnostic test accuracy reviews and The CHBG Module, and its format is according to the requirements of the Cochrane Style Guide, will be peer reviewed by the appointed Contact Editor and at least two peer reviewers. The Co-ordinating Editor may also make additional comments on the protocol.
Intervention reviews and Diagnostic test accuracy reviews
The authors are expected to finalise the performance of the systematic review within 18 months after the protocol has been published. The primary responsibility for identifying all potentially eligible trials for the systematic review rests with the authors. The authors will be assisted in this task by the Managing Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org), as well as by the Information Specialist (email@example.com) who will supply the authors with information on relevant trials from The CHBG Controlled Trials Register and other electronic databases. The primary responsibility for applying the inclusion criteria and assembling the data rests with the authors. As previously stated, preferably two people should do this independently. Therefore, the Editorial Team encourages at least two authors per systematic review. When the systematic review is completed, the contact author checks in the review on Archie and informs by e-mail the Managing Editor. The review, if considered well-prepared, following the guidelines in the respective Handbook, and its format is according to the requirements of the Cochrane Style Guide, will be peer reviewed by the appointed Contact Editor and at least two peer reviewers.
Once the authors have responded satisfactorily to the comments (ie, by making the amendments in the review as well as preparing a cover letter to the Contact Editor with point-to-point replies), the review is put through final editing (all CHBG Editors and CHBG Consumers evaluate the review) before being published in The CHBG Module of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews of The Cochrane Library. CHBG Consumer peer reviewers evaluate and comment on the review. Occasionally, peer reviewers and/or editors consider a review to be of inadequate quality and decide that it should not be published in its present form. Authors will be informed as to why this is the case, and remedial action suggested.
The CHBG operates open, signed peer reviewing meaning that once we receive comments from peer reviewers on a systematic review, we circulate the comments without hiding the names of the peer reviewers to the authors. In the case when the peer reviewers are interested in each others' comments, we also circulate the comments amongst the peer reviewers themselves. Furthermore, peer reviewers and The CHBG Editorial Team are both responsible for ensuring a fair peer reviewing process. That is why we request peer reviewers to state in writing whether they have any conflicts of interest when peer reviewing the protocol or the systematic review. The view that we share is 'declaring more is better than declaring less'.
In each issue of The Cochrane Library, in the Acknowledgement section of the protocol or the review, we acknowledge the people who have peer reviewed the protocol or the review. The Contact Editor who had been assigned to the protocol or the review is also acknowledged.