Editorial Process of Diagnostic Test Accuracy reviews

The publication of Cochrane systematic reviews differs from that of print journals. Cochrane Review Groups (CRGs) manage the process from the consideration of the proposal for a new DTA review through to publication including peer review. During this life cycle CRGs also support authors in the use of RevMan and some systematic review methods. 

Additional to that, all protocols and full text systematic reviews of Diagnostic Test Accuracy are peer reviewed both by the Coordinating editor of the CRG and the DTA Editorial Team and they are required to agree that protocols and reviews are of a suitable standard for publication.

Full details of the editorial processes for systematic reviews of diagnostic test accuracy are provided in this document DTA Editorial process. Further details on the process for updating Cochrane Diagnostic Test Accuracy reviews are available in the document Process for Updating DTA Systematic Reviews.  Details about the DTA Editorial Team can be found here (DTA Editorial Team).


Plain Language Summaries (PLS) are now a mandatory requirement for Cochrane DTA reviews.

PLS for DTA reviews are challenging to produce due to the lack of familiarity of test accuracy terminology and methods to potential users of Cochrane reviews and uncertainty about the range and needs of potential PLS users (consumers; clinicians; policy makers; the media).

PLS DTA guidance for authors is the subject of on-going research.  However, recognising the need for interim guidance for DTA authors, we propose an adaptation of generic PLS guidance for Cochrane intervention reviews (PLEACS) for DTA reviews.  Click here to download a copy.

The DTA adapted PLEACS guidance is the product of a workshop at the 22nd Cochrane Colloquium in Hyderabad.


Title registration (registering a new Cochrane DTA systematic review).

Cochrane invites prospective authors to propose new Cochrane Reviews by submitting a proposal in Editorial Manager. Please see the Cochrane Library information for authors for further details.

The DTA Editorial Team suggest specific requirements (PDF 43KB) for the review author team and the content of the title for proposed DTA reviews.


Peer review and publication of DTA protocols and reviews.

What should the Managing Editor of a CRG do once a protocol or review is ready for peer review?

When a protocol/review is ready for peer review, please invite the DTA Editorial Team (DTA-ET) as a reviewer in Editorial Manager. The DTA-ET will then receive an email notification and will be able to access and download the manuscript PDF. If the review is an update, please indicate this to dta-et@contacts.bham.ac.uk  to allow us to manage this appropriately. The DTA-ET will upload the document onto the DTA editorial system, Manuscript Central.  From here, the protocol/review is checked by the Editorial Team Manager and one of the editors before being sent out for peer review.  Once we have all peer reviewer reports back, they will be thoroughly read by the assigned contact editor who will present recommendations for discussion at the next monthly DTA-ET meeting.  The contact editor will aim to provide feedback to the CRG in the days after the meeting. This process should be repeated for any manuscript revisions, ensuring that any author responses to editorial comments are available to the DTA-ET along with the manuscript PDF. 

Full details are given in the Instructions for CRGs (30KB).