Cochrane editors and editorial staff can author Cochrane Reviews ("Cochrane Reviews" includes protocols, reviews, and updates) published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. This includes when the Cochrane Review is part of the editor's Cochrane Review Group's (CRG's) portfolio. In line with the Best Practice Guidelines on Publishing Ethics: A Publisher's Perspective (second edition), the editor or editorial staff member who is an author of the Cochrane Review submitted for publication via their CRG must:
- exclude themselves entirely from the editorial process to ensure separation of the author and the editorial processes. This includes but is not limited to all editorial decisions and related activities (including selection of and contact with peer reviewers, liaison with editors, sign-off for publication); and
- ensure that another Editor or member of the editorial staff takes on these roles. Practically this process should be administered by another member of the same CRG editorial team. If this is not possible then ask a member of another editorial team (e.g. another CRG or the Cochrane Editorial Unit).
If the Contact or Sign-off Editor(s) are selected from within the same CRG editorial team, it is essential they are independent; for example, it is not appropriate for someone to be a Contact or Sign-off Editor if an author of the review is their line manager. If in doubt, the Sign-off Editor for the review should be someone from another editorial team (e.g. another CRG or the Cochrane Editorial & Methods Department).
A brief summary of the process followed should be included in the 'Conflicts of interest' section of the Cochrane Review to let readers know that this potential conflict of interest has been addressed.