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As a general guideline, where an author made a substantial contribution to a protocol or review (sufficient to warrant authorship) but died before publication, and the co-authors feel it is appropriate to include the deceased author on the by-line, then editorial teams could permit inclusion of the author on the by-line until the review is updated.

The living authors alternatively may choose to provide an acknowledgment or dedication to their colleague’s contribution.

If the deceased author also was the contact person for a protocol or review, a new contact person must be identified.

If the deceased author is listed on the by-line

Contributorship statement: This should inform readers that the author is deceased, when the author died (e.g. month and year), the author’s contribution to the protocol or review, and whether the living authors made substantive changes to the review beyond the deceased author’s contribution.

Licence for publication form: A signed license is required, but the license may be submitted by the corresponding author on the deceased authors’ behalf (provided he/she had the deceased authors’ agreement and consent to publish in advance of their passing).

Declarations of interest: Add the following statement to this section in the review, “Author deceased; declarations of interest published in the protocol: “[copy and paste here]”. For a protocol, insert the text, “Author deceased; no declarations of interest available” or “Author deceased; [declarations of interest if provided before the author died]”. The ‘declarations of interest’ form does not need to be completed for the deceased author.

Contact details: Modify contact details so that the published protocol or review will note that the author is deceased and include the name, institution, and country that were correct before they died, delete the rest of their contact details, and put ‘Deceased’ in the footnote field of the author contact details in the review. This is a review-level annotation. If the author in question is included on the author line of more than one review, the same footnote should be included in each of the reviews they authored.

(lightbulb) Archie/RevMan guidance: Managing Editors need to make the following changes:

  1. Insert ‘Deceased’ (without parentheses) in the footnote field of the author’s contact details within the RevMan file of the review. It is important to note that this is a review-level annotation, so if the deceased author is included on the by-line of other reviews, the same footnote should be included in the RevMan file of each review they authored. To add the footnote, right-click on the author’s name in RevMan and click Edit to reveal and complete the ‘Footnote:’ field (text box at the bottom of the editing screen).
  2. Republish with the following What’s New events: for a Cochrane Review, select Amended AND New Citation; for a protocol, select Amended AND New Citation: No Major Change.
  3. Change the Group Role for the deceased author to Inactive. To do this open the author's Properties sheet, click on the Roles tab, select Edit and untick the box next to Active. In the Specification field, insert 'Deceased'. Note that when all the person’s entity Roles have been made Inactive, the full Person record will automatically be set to Inactive. If you are the Primary Group for the deceased author, please delete their email address, and all other contact details, apart from city and country from their Archie record. Please contact all other Groups which have Active Roles for this author and ask them make their Group Role Inactive for this author.

itations of published Cochrane Reviews (including protocols) include the author names, review title, review publication year and issue, and author contact information. A citation reflects the details at the time of the publication. The following scenarios describe cases where a change may be requested by an author, and actions to take.

Author contact details 

Authors appearing in the by-line of a Cochrane Review should have the minimum required information included on their Archie record (i.e. city and country). Other fields are optional (e.g. institutional or organizational affiliation).

For deceased authors, please follow separate guidance.

Changes to author name

If an author changes their name after the publication of a Cochrane Review (e.g. through marriage), the name on the published version of the Cochrane Review should not be changed until the next citation version (e.g. with a review update); a new citation version should not be created for this purpose.

If, however, a review was published with an error in the author’s name (at the time of publication), then the Cochrane Review should be republished as an amendment with a new citation to correct this error.

Changes to author contact details

Authors' contact details may change over time. Occasionally, authors may wish to update their contact details only (i.e. not add or remove authors) in the published Cochrane Review between citation versions, and this can proceed at the discretion of the Managing Editor. If there is a decision to update the contact details in the published Cochrane Review, the Cochrane Review must be republished as an amendment with no new citation. Note that the new contact details will appear only on the review version in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and not, for example, in PubMed.

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