Reviews should normally be checked out to RevMan only for editing or for emailing to authors who cannot access Archie directly (though you can also check out directly from Archie for the latter purpose). The basic principles are:

  • Users can only check out those reviews for which they have the proper permissions. For Managing Editors, this will normally be all Titles, Protocols, and Full Reviews in your Group, whether they are in the Editorial or Authoring Write Phase.
  • You can only check out the most recent version of a review. To check out an earlier version, you need to revert to that version in Archie and then check it out. (On reverting to an earlier version, see 'Reverting to a previous version' under Document versions).
  • While a review is checked out to one user, it is not available to be checked out to any other user. Note, however, that the user who has checked a review out is allowed to check it out again (for example, in order to discard recent changes made in RevMan, or to check out the review to a different computer).
  • Every time you check out a review and check it back in, a new version is created in Archie.

There are two ways of checking out reviews: within RevMan and within Archie.

To check out a review within RevMan

  1. Choose File > My Reviews…, or click   on the main toolbar.
  2. The My Reviews window will display  the reviews you have the document role. Note that this also includes inactive Protocols and Reviews. By default, the available reviews are listed in alphabetical order, but you can sort the list by one of the other attributes by double-clicking that attribute's column header.
  3. Click the review you want to check out and click Check Out.

To check out a review within Archie

See Checking documents in and out.

To download a copy of a review  within RevMan without locking it for others

  1. Choose File > Check Out…, or click  on the main toolbar. The Check out window opens.
  2. Mark the Download a copy of the review box at the bottom left of the Check Out window and click OK.

To download a copy of a review  within Archie without locking it for others

See Viewing documents.
Note: The review will still be available in Archie for checking out and editing by others.
Note: Reviews downloaded as RevMan files cannot be checked in by most users. However, a Super User can check a Downloaded review back in, but only if the review is not checked out by someone else at the time.

Checking reviews back in to Archie

You can check in a review that is open in RevMan by using File > Check In, or by clicking the Check In button (  ) on the toolbar. This activates the Check-in Wizard. You will be prompted to enter a Version Description on the first screen of the Wizard. This should be brief but descriptive. Remember that the date and person doing the check in are recorded automatically, so you do not need to include those. But if you are checking in a version you have received from someone else, you should note that, for example, by including the person's initials.
The two options when checking in a review are:

  • Check in draft (not ready for editorial approval)

This is the equivalent of saving and closing a document in Word. It checks the review in to Archie and closes it in RevMan, but does not affect the Write Phase of the review in Archie (Authoring vs. Editorial). This is the option you should generally use for reviews being worked on within the CRG when they are in the Editorial Write Phase. It is also the option that authors should be advised to use when they are saving draft versions of their work to Archie. To check in a draft, simply enter a Version Description on the first screen of the Check-in Wizard and click Finish.

  • Submit for editorial approval

This is for drafts that are ready to be considered by staff at the CRG editorial base. Authors submitting a review for editorial approval will be taken through some additional validation and quality control steps in the Check-in Wizard. They can also type a Message that will be sent via Archie's messaging system to Super Users of the CRG who have elected to receive messages when 'Documents in \[CRG name\] are submitted or marked for publication'. If the review was in the Authoring Write Phase, submitting it for editorial approval will change the Write Phase to Editorial. Submitting for editorial approval may also change the Stage of the review from Registered Title → Protocol → Full Review, where appropriate. Note that the 'Submit for editorial approval' option is also used routinely by Cochrane copy editors to let Managing Editors know when they are finished copy editing.


Once the review has been checked in, RevMan will display a report from Archie listing any actions taken. You should check the report each time you check in a review to see if there is a need for further action (you can copy the text of the report using the Copy Text button and paste to Microsoft Word or other software for printing). See Validation rules.Review validation within RevMan

Saving RevMan files to a computer

Although we generally recommend that you check reviews back in to Archie at the end of every editing session, there may be situations where this is impossible or unnecessary; for example, you may be unable to access the Internet while you are working on a review, or you may be certain that no one else will need to access the review for some time. In such cases, saving your RevMan files to your computer is an option.

To save a review from within RevMan

  1. Go to File > Save or click  on the main toolbar. If this is the first time you have saved the review, a 'Save' dialog will open asking you to confirm:
    1. The directory on your computer where the file should be saved (RevMan will initially suggest the directory specified as the Working Directory under Tools > Preferences: Files tab); and
    2. The file name (RevMan will suggest '[Title of review].rm5'). If you have previously saved the review, re-saving will automatically overwrite the existing file in the same location


To open a file saved to your local computer

  1.  Go to File > Open …, or File > Recent Files.

Note: You can specify the maximum number of recent files to be listed on under Tools > Preferences: Files tab.

Automatic local backup

Even if you work primarily by storing your reviews in Archie,  RevMan will automatically save a local backup of your review at regular intervals. The default is every 10 minutes, but this can be changed in your RevMan Preferences (Tools > Preferences: Files tab). The backup file is saved by default to your computer's temporary folder, but you can specify a different location on the same tab (Files) of your Preferences. If your computer (or RevMan) crashes while you are working on a review, you will be given the option to open the latest backup of the review the next time you open RevMan.

Exchanging reviews with authors who have limited Internet access

With RevMan 5, authors with reliable access to the Internet should be given user accounts in Archie so they can check reviews directly in and out of Archie for themselves. Authors with limited Internet access who find it difficult to connect to Archie on a regular basis have the option of exchanging reviews with their editorial base by email.

Summary of relevant principles

  • Use Archie as your shared drive containing the latest (and previous) versions of all reviews. Do not store reviews on your local computer.
  • Authoring vs. Editorial Write Phases show who should currently be working on the review.
  • Reviews should only be checked out when they are actively being edited.

Recommended procedures

Sending to author:

  1. Check review out from Archie.
  2. Make any minor changes, if relevant.
  3. Save the review on your computer as an rm5 file and email it to the author.
  4. Open the review in RevMan and check it back in to Archie (or, if you did not make any changes, Undo check-out in Archie). Suggested Version Description: 'Sent to [author's initials]'.

  5. If the review was not already in the Authoring phase, set this now to reflect the fact that the review now rests with the authors.

Receiving from author:

  1. Open the received file in RevMan.
  2. Check it in to Archie:
    1. If the author has sent a version for editorial consideration (and not a pre-editorial draft for initial feedback), then check in using the 'Submit for editorial approval' option. This will change the Write Phase to Editorial. Note: If there are errors in the version you received, it cannot be submitted for editorial approval and will instead have to be checked in as a draft and then changed to the Editorial Write Phase in Archie. This way you will have a record of the version the author considered ready for approval.
    2. If the author has sent an unfinished draft they need help with, check it in as a draft version.
    3. Suggested Version Description in either of the above cases: 'Received from [author's initials]'.

Exchanging reviews within the editorial base

When you are working on reviews as part of the editorial approval process, the review's Write Phase should be Editorial. If the Write Phase is already correct, you and the rest of the editorial team should generally avoid using the 'Submit for editorial approval' option when checking the review in from RevMan. Checking in a draft will not set the phase back to Authoring – this can only be done from within the review's Properties in Archie.
You may, however, choose to use the 'Submit for editorial approval' option if you know that those of your colleagues who receive notifications about reviews being submitted for editorial approval through Archie's messaging system wish to be notified in this manner when a particular draft is ready for their input.
See also Authoring and editorial phases.