|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.
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From January 2019, and consistent with Cochrane’s core principles, including open and transparent communication and decision making, all CRGs will adopt a named peer review process. In a named peer review process, the Cochrane Review author and peer reviewer know each other’s names and affiliations during the peer review process. See Section 5 “Managing named peer review” in the guidance for implementation for more information.
Note that Consumer peer reviewers are exempt from the named peer review process, and may remain anonymous if they wish to do so. (Consumers still follow the policy for Declarations of potential conflicts of interest for peer reviewers).
As a minimum standard, every Cochrane Review will be peer - reviewed by at least one clinical/topic specialist (with a minimum of one external to the CRG editorial team) and one statistician/methodologist (who may, in some circumstances, be part of the CRG editorial team; see Number and expertise of peer reviewers (implementation information)).
It is expected that CRGs aim to include at least one consumer peer reviewer per Cochrane Review; the Cochrane Consumer Network has more information on this role.
Further guidance for CRGs on the number and expertise of peer reviewers, including inviting those involved in included or excluded studies to become peer reviewers, can be found in the accompanying guidance; see Number and expertise of peer reviewers (implementation information).
Declarations of potential conflicts of interest for peer reviewers
Peer reviewers must declare any potential conflicts of interest every time they undertake peer review of a Cochrane Review. See Cochrane's policy on conflict of interest and Cochrane Reviews.
Further guidance on declarations of interest for peer reviewers is available; see Declarations of potential conflicts of interest for peer reviewers: implementation information.
Acknowledgement and credit for peer reviewers
The names of all peer reviewers who have submitted a peer review report or completed peer review checklist during the current calendar year must be published on the CRG website, unless the peer reviewer has not consented to this (see Inviting peer reviewers). Lists from previous years must be archived and publically accessible from the CRG website. See also CRG and DTA editorial team peer review policies and procedures.
Peer reviewers should always be offered the option of acknowledgement in the Review to which they contributed.
Further options for acknowledging peer reviewers, including the format of peer reviewer acknowledgement in the published Cochrane Review, are included in Acknowledgement.
Addressing peer reviewers’ comments
Post-publication peer review is available via the Comments feature (previously known as “Feedback”) present on all Cochrane Reviews (See Comments on Cochrane Reviews). All comments submitted via this channel receive a response and, if appropriate, the comment and the response from the Cochrane Review author will be published. When necessary, the review will be revised and updated in response to post-publication peer review.
Any concerns or disagreements concerning the peer review process should be resolved by the CRG. When necessary, the CRG can request that peer reviewers provide more evidence for their comments, solicit the opinion of other peer reviewers, involve the DTA Editorial team, or invite additional peer reviewers, as appropriate, to help resolve conflict. Note that authors are required to respond to peer reviewers’ comments adequately; see Ensuring that authors address Peer reviewers’ Collating and addressing peer review comments).
If the CRG are is unable to resolve concerns or disagreements, the case may be referred to the Editor in Chief escalated by either the authors or the CRG, using the to the Cochrane Library appeals process or complaints procedure, as appropriate.