Review Quality and Standards

This page contains information on current projects in the CEU to audit and assure quality of Cochrane Reviews. 

Guidance & reports from CEU quality assurance programme

Since September 2013, the CEU has been responsible for pre-publication screening of new intervention reviews. This process focuses on a key reporting and conduct standards. More information about this process can be found on the Cochrane Editorial and Publishing Policy Resource

Good practice & common errors - a table overview of the most common errors and points of good practice identified from reviews that have been screened (updated 22/01/2015).

Incorporating GRADE in Cochrane Reviews - guidance with good practice examples developed in conjunction with members of the GRADE working group on how to bring GRADE methods and quality of evidence ratings into the text of Cochrane Reviews (updated 12/02/2014). 

Strategy to 2020: Audit report for 2014 target 1.2 - report of an audit comparing new intervention reviews published in 2013 and 2014. The report evaluates how reviews meet key MECIR standards to monitor progress to meeting Goal 1 for the Strategy to 2020.       

Strategy to 2020: Audit report for 2015 target 1.3 - report of an audit comparing plans for implementing GRADE and preparing Summary of Findings tables in two cohorts of protocols published in 2013 and 2015. An overview of the audit findings are provided in this presentation.

Standards for the conduct and reporting of protocols and reviews of interventions (MECIR and PLEACS)

The Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews (MECIR) project aims to specify methodological expectations for Cochrane Protocols, Reviews, and updates of Cochrane Reviews of interventions.They have been developed according to established Cochrane Hanbdook advice and to ensure that Cochrane Handbook guidance is supported and implemented across Cochrane. The expectations are intended for both internal and external audiences to the Cochrane. They are intended to provide authors and users of The Cochrane Library with clear and transparent expectations of review conduct and reporting, to enable Cochrane Review Groups to hold authors accountable during the editorial process, to facilitate support and monitoring functions co-ordinated by the Cochrane Editorial Unit (CEU), and to improve liaison between methodologists and editorial teams.

The MECIR project is co-ordinated by a team from the Methods Application and Review Standards (MARS) Working Group and the CEU: Rachel Churchill, Julian Higgins, Jackie Chandler, David Tovey and Toby Lasserson.

Plain language summaries fulfil an important function in Cochrane Reviews. Aimed at a broad readership they convey the review question and the findings in terms that are accessible to consumers and non-expert readers. The standards presented here have been developed by a committee led by the Consumer Coordinator, Catherine McIlwain. They have been finalized based on comments received from a consultation process that involved stakeholders who were internal and external to Cochrane.

Editors and authors should the consult the Cochrane Methods website for the latest version of the MECIR standards.

Standards for the conduct of new reviews of interventions

The following resources are archived versions of the standards: 

Methodological standards for the conduct of Cochrane Intervention Reviews (Version 2.3, 02 December 2013)

Development of methodological standards for the conduct of intervention reviews (process document)

Annex 2: Feedback and response to consultation

Methodological standards for the reporting of Cochrane Intervention Reviews (version 1.1, 17 December 2012)

Non-English language versions of the standards

The Iberoamerican Cochrane Centre has translated the conduct and reporting standards into Spanish. This is now available from:

Standards for the reporting of plain language summaries in new reviews of interventions

Standards for the reporting of Plain Language Summaries in new Cochrane Intervention Reviews

The Iberoamerican Cochrane Centre has translated PLEACS into Spanish. This is now available from:

Methodological standards for the reporting of
Cochrane Intervention Reviews