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The decision as to whether an updated Cochrane Review should be peer reviewed is decided according to the circumstances outlined in Figures 1 and 2. In some cases, selective peer review will be appropriate, involving only peer reviewers with specific skills or peer review of selected parts of the review, and in other cases no peer review will be required. In all cases the updated Cochrane Review will undergo rigorous assessment by members of the CRG editorial team. 

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Peer review of supplements

Supplements Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews supplements may be peer reviewed, at the discretion of the Supplement Editor and/or Editor in Chief. Supplements include a statement to indicate whether the supplement, or sections of the supplement, have been peer reviewed.

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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 Section 10 "Ensuring that authors address peer reviewers’ comments" in the guidance for implementation).

If the CRG are unable to resolve concerns or disagreements, the case may be referred to the Editor in Chief by either the authors or the CRG, using the to the Cochrane Library appeals process or complaints procedure, as appropriate.

CRG and DTA editorial team peer review policies and procedures

All Cochrane Review Groups and the DTA Editorial Team state their specific peer review process clearly on their website, including:

  • A link to the Cochrane peer review policy.
  • Any additional information on the peer review process specific to the CRG.
  • Estimated timelines for peer reviewing a Cochrane Review or a DTA Review, as appropriate. (e.g. you will usually be asked to return the peer review checklist/provide a peer review report within three weeks)
  • The specific role of the Information Specialist(s), Managing Editor(s) (including Assistant/Deputy Managing Editors), Editor(s) and Co-ordinating Editor(s) in the peer review process, specific to the CRG.
  • The aimed for number/mix of peer reviewers per Cochrane Review (either a link to this document, or CRG-specific aims) - must not be fewer reviewers than the minimum number stated in the policy.
  • A clear statement on the CRG’s approach to consumer peer review and the support available for consumer peer reviewers
  • Guidance for peer reviewers specific to the CRG or DTA editorial team, including what to do/who to contact if misconduct is suspected. 
  • From December 2019, a list of peer reviewers who submitted reports in the current calendar year, and, in subsequent years, an archive of previous years’ peer reviewers.