Our editorial process

If you are interested in becoming involved with the CFGD Group, you can find more information about our processes here. We have separate lists of vacant titles for each area of the Group's scope which are produced in consultation with the editorial board and external stakeholders; these are reviewed on a regular basis (reviews needed).

Title registration

If you wish to become an author on a review, you will need first of all to complete a title proposal of the review using the title proposal form. There is a policy on the format of review titles which should be adhered to as far as possible. Once you have submitted the title proposal form (including an expected date for completion of the protocol) to the Editorial Base, the Managing Editors (MEs) will check that no one else has registered a review on that topic and will circulate the proposal to the Editorial Board for comment/approval. After the proposal has been approved, the ME will allocate the title to one of the editors (Contact Editor) who will be responsible for overseeing both the protocol and the review. If more than one author submits a proposal to undertake the same review, the ME will attempt to establish a collaboration between the parties. However, if this is not possible, and the interested parties cannot negotiate responsibility of the review between themselves, then the title is awarded by the editorial board on a "first come - first served" basis.

Protocol development

We expect the author team to submit an initial draft protocol to the Editorial Base within three months of our acceptance of their proposal; the final version is expected at six months The ME provides feedback on one or several drafts and, when appropriate, sends the draft protocol to the Contact Editor responsible for the review. The Contact Editor either provides further feedback if needed, or approves the protocol  to be sent to external referees (usually two subject experts, a methodologist or statistician and a consumer or consumer representative).  The external referees are usually asked to submit their comments within three weeks. Once all the comments are received, the ME forwards them to the Contact Editor who advises the author (via the ME) which changes should be made. After the authors have addressed the comments satisfactorily and the draft has been approved by the Contact Editor, the edited protocol is sent to the Co-ordinating Editor for further comments or final approval. After any comments from the Co-ordinating Editor have been addressed, the ME copy edits the protocol and the authors are sent the final version for approval. The approved final version is then submitted for publication on the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR).

Please note: authors not submitting a protocol within six months may lose their title.

Once the protocol has been submitted for publication, authors are expected, to identify a submission deadline for the full review which should not exceed 12 months from the date of protocol publication.

Review development

Once a protocol has been accepted for publication on the Cochrane Library, we will send details of potentially relevant studies identified from the appropriate specialised Trials Register to all review authors. Authors are encouraged to undertake further searching themselves (e.g. contacting pharmaceutical companies or searching ongoing trials registries) in order to identify further studies of potential relevance to the review.

If authors have access to other resources, such as conference proceedings which have not already been searched, we encourage them to search those too for any potentially relevant trials . Details of any trials identified in this way should be sent to the Group's Information Specialist who will check whether they meet the inclusion criteria for the appropriate specialised Trials Register and if necessary, will add these to the register.

We expect authors to submit an initial draft of the review to the Editorial Base four months after publication of the protocol and their receipt of the search results from the Group’s specialised Trials Register. The final version of the review is due 12 months after publication of the protocol. If authors include individual patient data in their reviews or make use of advanced statistical methods, we require that they recruit a statistical co-author if there is not already one on the author team.

As for protocol stage, the ME will provide feedback on one or several drafts and, when appropriate, will send the draft review to the Contact Editor for feedback (if the author needs more help in the development of the review) or approval to send the draft to external referees (usually two subject experts, a methodologist or a statistician and a consumer or consumer representative). As for the draft protocol,  external referees are usually asked to submit their comments within a three-week deadline. The ME forwards the comments to the Contact Editor who advises the author (via the ME) which changes should be made. Once the Contact Editor approves the edited review, it is sent to the Co-ordinating Editor for further comments or final approval. After any comments from the Co-ordinating Editor have been addressed, the ME completes final copy-editing and the review may be subject to an audit by the Cochrane Editorial Unit. The authors are sent the finalised version of the review for approval before it is submitted for publication on the CDSR.

Where authors fail to meet the agreed deadline for review submission, the Group reserves the right to withdraw the completed protocol from the Cochrane Library and to de-register the title. Protocols that have not been converted into full reviews within two years will be withdrawn from the CDSR unless there are specific mitigating circumstances and a temporary waiver has been agreed by the editorial group.