At the meeting of the Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group (CCSG) in October 2006 it was agreed that publication of Cochrane diagnostic test accuracy reviews (and protocols) in The Cochrane Library would require the approval of both the Cochrane Review Group (CRG) and a diagnostic test accuracy editorial team (DTA ET). This would be implemented by requiring joint sign-off of protocols and reviews by a CRG Editor and a DTA Editor. The CCSG decided that the DTA ET should be answerable to the Publishing Policy Group.
The DTA ET assures the quality of the methodology and methodological reporting of the DTA review; the CRG assures the quality of the clinical aspects and reporting of the review. This is achieved by using a parallel peer review process.
The DTA ET comprises methodologists, epidemiologists, statisticians and clinicians with knowledge of the methodology of diagnostic research, research synthesis of diagnostic test accuracy studies, and who are familiar with the content of the Cochrane Diagnostic Review author’s Handbook.
Key roles of the DTA ET are:
- To undertake peer review of Cochrane DTA protocols, assessing the planned review methods and analysis. The DTA ET will indicate when they consider a protocol as being suitable for publication, based on the quality of its methods, and will sign off these aspects of the review formally.
- To undertake peer review of Cochrane DTA reviews, assessing the execution of the methods, analysis, presentation and reporting of the results, and their interpretation. The DTA ET will indicate when they assess a review as being suitable for publication based on the quality of its methods, reporting of results and appropriate interpretation.
Every protocol and review is assigned a Contact Editor who takes responsibility for the comprehensiveness and quality of peer review, correspondence with the CRG editor and author(s) and sign-off for publication of review and protocol for methodological quality (in accordance with the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Diagnostic Test Accuracy). Each protocol and review receives independent methodological, statistical and search specialist peer review. Peer review comments are collated by the assigned contact editor.
The Programme Manager of the UK Support Unit acts as the initial point of contact for CRGs with new reviews and protocols and supports the editors in managing and developing the peer review process, the distribution of work, identifying peer reviewers and maintaining required databases and records.