Process for proposing changes to methods or tools used in Cochrane

Do you want to propose a change to the methods or tools used in Cochrane Reviews, such as to consider new methods or discontinue out-of-date methods? Cochrane encourages the submission of all methodological items from the community to discuss for future implementation, which could be field-specific or affect the community as a whole.

The Methods Executive and Cochrane Scientific Committee are responsible for assessing the robustness and viability of new methods or tools for Cochrane Reviews. If a method or tool is deemed robust and viable, it is considered by the Editor-in-Chief and Editorial Board who make decisions on methods implementation in Cochrane.  This also applies to implemented (current) methods that may have become obsolete and may need to be replaced or discontinued.

Submissions are triaged by the Methods Executive and those that meet the following criteria are escalated to the Scientific Committee:

  1. Methods with a wide-ranging impact on the conduct of Cochrane Reviews, e.g. built into the structure of the review or methods that may become mandatory.
  2. Widespread use or mass resources from Cochrane needed, e.g. training would be required.
  3. Controversial methodological topics without community consensus, or prevalent methods that may need to be replaced or discontinued.

Please direct any enquiries to Cochrane Methods.

Expectations of submissions

We welcome a variety of submissions for consideration within Cochrane. Submissions should involve methods or methods-related developments deemed important to improve the quality and credibility of Cochrane Reviews, methods Cochrane should employ, or methods currently used but about which there are differences of opinion. 

Examples of submissions include methodological improvements or tool development, new methods, or methods offering different approaches, such as new tools for assessing risk of bias in different study designs, new tools to facilitate the review process, or new analytical methods for updating meta-analysis. 

When submitting methods or tools for consideration, please provide the following information, if available: 

  1. An explicit statement on how, and in what context, you would like Cochrane to consider the method or tool.
  2. Proof of performance (published guidance or evaluation of the method or tool). 
  3. Information on the acceptability of the method or tool, within or outside of Cochrane. 

Please complete and submit a "Method or tool of Interest Form". Supporting documents (up to 2MB) can be uploaded with this form.

Please direct any enquiries to Cochrane Methods, including any inquiries about prospective submissions.

What to expect once you have submitted

Once you have submitted you will receive a confirmation email from a member of the Cochrane Central Methods Team. Submissions will be triaged by the Methods Executive in their next meeting following the submission (meetings are held approximately every eight-to-ten weeks). If your submission is escalated to the Scientific Committee, they will discuss it in their next meeting (meetings held approximately every three-to-four months). The Cochrane Methods Team will inform you when your submission is on either the Methods Executive or Scientific Committee agenda. We may request further information or your attendance at these meetings, which are held by teleconference.

The Methods Executive or Scientific Committee may consult with relevant Methods Groups, the Chairs of the Scientific Committee, the Editorial Board, or other relevant stakeholders, before finalising their assessment. Small working groups may be formed to help reach decisions.  

Please note, following the submission triage by the Methods Executive, if Cochrane takes your proposal forward for consideration within its reviews, then details of your submission will be made publicly available via the Methods website and within the public agendas and minutes of the Scientific Committee meetings. 

All decisions made by the Scientific Committee or Methods Executive are recommendations to the Editor-in-Chief (and Editorial Board) as to whether the method or tool is robust enough to be implemented in Cochrane.  The Governing Board may consider submissions if there are financial implications.