Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews

MECIR Standards are available online.  The online version includes links to the Handbook, Cochrane Training and other Cochrane resources to provide additional explanation of how to implement the standard. The online version is kept up-to-date with amendments listed here.

Standards for new Cochrane Reviews of interventions and their updates

The Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews (MECIR) are methodological standards to which all Cochrane Protocols, Reviews, and Updates are expected to adhere. They are divided into sections for the conduct of, and reporting the reviews of interventions.  These expectations are intended for both internal and external audiences. They provide authors and users of the Cochrane Library with clear and transparent expectations of review conduct and reporting.

New and updated standards for Cochrane intervention reviews

MECIR (Methodological Expectations for Cochrane Intervention Reviews) standards for conduct and reporting have been updated. We have added two new sets of standards to cover the reporting of protocols and the planning, conduct and reporting of updates.

Improving and maintaining the quality of Cochrane Reviews remains a key objective for Cochrane. The MECIR co-ordinating team developed the new and updated standards based on learning from review screening by the Cochrane Editorial Unit. Many members of Centres, Review and Methods Groups who shared their experiences of using the standards also helped the team to refine and clarify standards. Standards for updating were developed in conjunction with guidance developed by an expert panel constituted for developing recommendations in updating systematic reviews.

We revised the standards to improve their clarity, to place a stronger emphasis on planning of methods, and to support integration of GRADE in the review process. Standards for reporting protocols and preparing updates have been added to this version of MECIR. Consultation of the standards throughout the review process will be important to help with planning, conduct, reporting and updating processes. These will help many current review authors to adhere to standard methodological practices.


Implementation of these standards will take time to settle into all Cochrane systems. Integration into Cochrane systems involves the following integration into:

  • The RevMan guidance pane
  • Editorial checklists
  • The Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions

These standards are ready for immediate use to guide protocols, reviews and updates in progress as well as for those not yet underway.

Other resources

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

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. They have been finalized based on comments received from a consultation process that involved stakeholders who were internal and external to Cochrane.