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Getting started with CrossRef Similarity Check

Cochrane Review Groups (CRGs) are encouraged to use Similarity Check via the licence held by the publisher of the Cochrane Library, John Wiley & Sons. Wiley provides each Cochrane Review Group CRG with access to Similarity Check (free of charge). For a user name and password, Managing Editors can contact Tony Aburrow (, Cochrane Editor, Wiley.

What and when to check

Cochrane Review Groups CRGs are encouraged to, at minimum, check at least a portion of text for all protocols and reviews (including updates) when initially submitted to the Cochrane Review GroupCRG.

There are different stages in the editorial process where Similarity Check screening could occur (see Table 1). Cochrane Review Groups CRGs may wish to screen more than once, or they may wish to screen at a particular time, such as before peer review, or where the writing styles varies within a single document.


When matches are identified in a report, Similarity Check has an option to exclude one or more matching sources. As described in Special circumstances for Cochrane Systematic Reviews, a high percentage of overlap would be expected between a protocol and review, and a review and an update. This functionality allows the user to exclude the protocol or original review, for example. This functionality may become less useful as the number of times a Cochrane Review is updated as the number of exclusions that need to be made increases. See Table 3 for the types of Similarity Check reports where this functionality is available.

Cochrane Review Groups CRGs should agree which editorial staff member(s) should be responsible for running the Similarity Check reports, interpreting the results, and deciding on next steps. For example, an Assistant Managing Editor/Managing Editor, Information Specialist or administrative assistant could run a document through Similarity Check and generate a report. The results of the report should be considered by the Cochrane Review Group’s CRG’s Managing Editor and/or Co-ordinating Editor and any action to be taken decided upon.