Cochrane’s editorial and publishing policies can now be found on the Cochrane Library Editorial policies page. Cochrane authors and editorial teams should refer to the Cochrane Library as the primary source of information on this policy. For editorial guidance on policies the EPPR remains the primary location.

Key points

  • Authors have complete autonomy to change the author byline.
  • Cochrane adheres to the Committee for Publication Ethics (COPE) guidance, which says all authors should confirm they agree with changes to the byline in writing
  • Agreement is recorded through signatures on a Changes of Authorship form, available to download from within our Authorship policy.
  • Authors will need to complete the form and collect signatures from previous and current authors to show they have agreed to this change. 
  • It is the authors' responsibility to confirm all authors agree with changes. Cochrane cannot mediate in authorship disputes.

Post-publication, including during authoring phase

  • Cochrane authors must complete a signed Changes of Authorship form when they add, remove, or re-order authors on their byline. This applies after publication and to reviews or updates, whose authorship has changed since the previous published protocol or review version, respectively. 
  • Requests to change bylines before submission, can go to Cochrane groups or to Cochrane Support.
  • If changes are made before submission, authors should submit a completed Changes of Authorship form for editorial assessment with their next submission. 
  • The only point at which written agreement is not required for byline changes, is before the first submission of a draft protocol (at this point, there is neither a submission or publication on record).

Pre-publication after submission

  • Authors requesting a change in authorship (modify the order, remove, or add an author) after they have submitted their article must send a completed Changes in Authorship form to the editor handling their article.
  • Requests to change bylines after submission, should go to the Managing Editor. 

Changes in authorship where a new protocol supersedes a published review

  • If authors are proposing to supersede a published review with a new protocol, with byline changes, they will need to contact the authors of the latest published version to invite them to join their team; or to seek agreement to a new team updating their review topic with a new protocol. They will need to attach a copy of this correspondence when submitting their update proposal. This also applies to pre-approved proposals submitted by groups, where a published review will be superseded by a new protocol, and the byline has changed. This guidance is reflected in our author instructions on submitting to Editorial Manager and instructions on submitting pre-approved proposals (for group staff only).  For new protocols, in cases of disputes, Cochrane’s Editor in Chief, or designated deputy, in its sole discretion, or jointly with the relevant Cochrane group (when applicable), will make a final decision on the author team.

Guidance for authors

Additional guidance

See also COPE flowcharts for the following scenarios: 

One of the outcomes of the COPE flowcharts is to publish a correction. For Cochrane Reviews, please see Assigning What’s New events to Cochrane Reviews to determine if an amendment is required. Please contact Cochrane Support with any queries about amendments. 

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