Process for managing requests for support from Methods Support Unit

Given the established process for review screening, the Methods Support Unit (MSU) will aim to provide advice or guidance:

  • where such expertise is not otherwise available from the Network Support Fellow, Associate Editor or Network Senior Editor;
  • to assist with capacity;
  • to answer general methodological/ statistical queries sent from Cochrane Review Groups (CRGs), Network Support Fellow, Associate Editor or Network Senior Editor.

CRGs should send requests to screen reviews or methodological/statistical advice to their Associate Editor. Requests that could be escalated to the MSU include:

1. If the protocol/ review is a standard intervention review, then consider input from MSU team if there are questions or concerns over:

  • inclusion and use of cluster, cross-over, or study designs that use a within patient design;
  • use of Risk of Bias (including Risk of Bias 2);
  • analysis of data (e.g. generic inverse variance, analysis of continuous data (SMDs or MDs));
  • issues with subgroup analyses.

2. MSU input should be sought (when there is no Complex Review Support Unit (CRSU) involvement) for all protocols and reviews that use/include (or plan to use/include):

  • network meta-analysis;
  • non randomised studies;
  • clinical study reports;
  • individual participant data;
  • living systematic reviews;
  • prognosis reviews.

3. For reviews that are destined for press release or fast track, the MSU will provide methods peer review.

The MSU does not currently cover diagnostic test accuracy (DTA) reviews due to the existence of the DTA editorial group. However, this does not mean that the MSU will not look at them if requested.

For searching support, please contact your review group’s Information Specialist. For Information Specialists, please contact,, or access training/support resources via the Information Specialists Portal: