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Cochrane Drugs and Alcohol Group

Resources for review authors

Useful documents for new authors

Getting involved as a Review Author: If you have expertise in some aspect of healthcare, consider joining the relevant Cochrane Review Group. If there is not yet a group which covers your specialty, register your interest in being part of a new group. Being part of a Cochrane review group provides the support, resources and training to tackle a systematic review, and an international audience when your work is published in The Cochrane Library.


Training - face-to-face

Contact Cochrane Centres or Review Groups about local workshops and courses in review production. Some of these events are listed on the Cochrane workshops page.

Training - online

  • Open Learning Materials - learn the steps in convenient online modules which supplement the Cochrane Reviewers' Handbook in helping you gain skills and complete your review.

Training resources provided by other organizations:


Editorial process


1. People interested in conducting a review with the Drugs and Alcohol Review Group should contact the Managing Editor or the Assistant Coordinator to ask for a "Title Submission Form" or download it from the Group website. The person taking responsability for the proposal (contact author) should complete the title submission form.
2.The proposed title will then be evaluated by the Editorial base and the Editorial Team and will also be circulated to the other Collaboration Groups to determine whether it is an area of common interest. Where more than one person proposes doing the same review, they are encouraged to work together. If this is not possible, responsibility for the review will be negotiated between the interested reviewers or may be given to the person who first registered the title. Where agreement cannot be reached, the final decision rests with the Co-ordinating Editor.

3. The title is registered in the Cochrane Library and the Editorial Base appoints a Contact Editor (chosen among the editors and assistant editors) and identify 2 external referees in the list of CDAG referees.  The reviewers are encouraged to attend a workshop organised by the nearest Cochrane Centre.


4. After the registration of the Title,  the Assistant Coordinator will arrange for the following materials to be sent to the review author(s):

  • details of where to obtain Review Manager software and Archie (the Cochrane Collaboration's server for managing documents and contact details);

  • links to the Cochrane Handbook, Cochrane Style Guide, Module of the CDAG, cochrane workshops, cochrane collaboration open learning materials for review authors;

  • a template of a review (a sort of framework to write the review, in RevMan5 format);

  • an example of a recently published protocol and review from the Drugs and Alcohol group's module if the review authors do not have the access to The Cochrane Library.


The editorial base will prepare the RevMan file and will inform the contact author when the file is ready to be checked out to RevMan 5 from Archie.

5. The draft protocol is expected within six months after the registration of the title. The editorial base will check all protocols for appropriateness of search strategy and adherence to QUOROM statement and template. If the review has "specific" statistical aspects to be reviewed, with special attention to heterogeneity, it is referred to the statistician advisor. The Assistant Co-ordinator will send the draft to the referees and collects their comments.The Assistant Co-ordinator will inform the contact author when the protocol has been sent to referees and will give planned timescales. All protocols are assigned a Contact Editor who verifies the scientific relevance and inclusion of appropriate issues; if necessary, asks reviewers for corrections. The Contact Editor ultimately approves the protocol for publication.

8. The referees are asked to send their feedback to the editorial base within 3 weeks.

The Assistant Co-ordinator send to the Contact Editor and the Reviewer a cover sheet in which the comments from referees are organised. The Contact Editor can express his/her opinion on the referees comments to the contact author (copying it to the Assistant Coordinator).

9.The reviewers integrate the comments from referees and Contact Editor in the final draft which is forwarded to the Assistant Coordinator along with a coversheet in which the amendments and the possible objections are highlighted.

10. The Managing editor ensure that all the steps will be done before the publication.
This process should be done within 6-8 months


11. The Trial Search Coordinator of the Group provides assistance in obtaining full articles.

12. The same peer referee process described for the protocol is performed for publishing the review. The reviewers are encouraged to contact the editorial base for help.
Authors are expected to complete the full review within 12 to 18 months of the protocol being published unless there are extenuating circumstances.


Once a review has been completed it is expected the Reviewer will update the review regularly. The Reviewer is asked to review the literature on a regular basis; at least every two years. In cases where new evidence is available the review should be updated. However, in the case where no new evidence exists the date of last update will still be modified to reflect the date of this process. The Trial Search Coordinator perform the search strategy on the group's specialised register quarterly and forwards the results to the first author. In case of significant changes the peer review process is carried out. The judgement is up to the Coordinating Editor.

CRITICISM The groups Criticism Editor is responsible for organising and summarising all post-registration criticisms. These will be forwarded to Reviewers through the Coordinator for negotiation and response.


The plain language is a brief summary of the results of the review  for consumers and non-specialist readers, it does not replace the abstract but is an additional product. Reviewers may either draft the synopsis themselves (ideally with consumer input on content and readability), or ask their Editorial Base to do it. The Cochrane Collaboration has a consumers network that help in write the plain language summary. Furthermore the Group has consumers available for help and suggestions.
The final version is submitted to the reviewer for approval.

Publication of versions of Cochrane Reviews in print journals

Authors may wish to seek co-publication of Cochrane Reviews in peer-reviewed medical journals, for The Cochrane Collaboration, there is one essential condition of co-publication: Cochrane Reviews must remain free for dissemination in any and all media, without restriction from any of them.

A Cochrane systematic review should be published either before, or at the same time as, its publication in other journals. Authors should not publish Cochrane Reviews in journals before they are ready for publication in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR).

The following passage can be provided to journal editors upon submission of a review for publication, and the letter of submission should be copied to the CRG editors for information. This policy and procedure may be new to some journal editors and may require direct discussion with the journal editor. The CRG editors should be informed of any problems encountered in this process.

"This systematic review has been prepared under the aegis of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organisation that aims to help people make well-informed decisions about healthcare by preparing, maintaining and promoting the accessibility of systematic reviews of the effects of healthcare interventions. The Cochrane Collaboration's publication policy permits journals to publish reviews, with priority if required, but permits The Cochrane Collaboration also to publish and disseminate such reviews. Cochrane Reviews cannot be subject to the exclusive copyright requested by some journals."

Page last updated: Thu 18th Jun 2015 11:31:35 CEST