Cochrane Review Groups (CRGs) can ask Associate Editors for feedback on Cochrane Reviews that have been submitted for editorial review. There are various scenarios when it may be appropriate to contact your Associate Editor for review screening or other checks; see Possible scenarios for referral of reviews for screening.
The aim of screening is primarily intended to help decide what sort of additional work might be needed before publication. Screening is carried out using a Triage Tool that focuses on three separate aspects of the review:
Further information about the Triage Tool can be found in the Operational guide to the Cochrane Editorial & Methods Department Review Triaging Tool. The process for review screening is detailed below (Process for review screening), but please contact your Associate Editor if you have any queries.
Other quick checks and feedback may be appropriate rather than providing a full screening report.
If the review:
Other scenarios where CRGs might seek support from the Associate Editor include:
Archie version no.
Implementation of protocol methods
Summary of findings table
Appropriate eligibility decisions
Check protocol comparison generated from Archie and Differences between protocol & review for any changes to design of review (eligibility criteria, outcomes);
Check for exclusions based on reporting of data
SoF table presents main outcomes (benefits & harms) for main comparison
Look at methods section for consistency of SoF table outcomes; Assess methods for using GRADE
Title reflects review question
Research question (PICO) clear & rationale for review described
Appropriate risk of bias assessment
Check for omission of standard domains;
inclusion of any non-standard domains is explained & justified;
domains appear well understood (fit between explanation and domain, appropriate judgments)
PICO (including Settings) are accurate & informative
Search date <12 months from publication
Outcomes fully defined (i.e. time of measurement, scale of measurement, range of scores specified)
Characteristics of included studies summarised
Consider copying & summarising information presented under ‘Description of included studies’/Overall completeness & applicability’. Look for details in SoF table relating to settings & participants.
Analyses match with methods section
MDs/SMDs; fixed/random effects, subgroup analysis. Check protocol comparison and Differences between protocol & review to see what plans changed from protocol.
Assumed & Corresponding risks included (where appropriate)
Findings for all important outcomes reported for main comparison(s), including information about harms
Check consistency with first SoF table & others as appropriate
Data from non-standard designs (cluster, cross-over, etc.) appropriately incorporated where relevant
Check ‘Unit of analysis issues’ in methods/footnotes in forest plots/sensitivity analyses. Scan study characteristics to confirm unit of allocation & sample sizes if in doubt.
GRADE ratings justified & adequately explained
Direction, magnitude & confidence intervals of effects clearly described where appropriate
Clear & accurate summary of narrative results (where appropriate)
Reporting results avoids emphasizing statistical significance to determine presence or absence of an effect
Quality ratings presented for narrative results (where appropriate)
GRADE ratings for outcomes reported in abstract
Multiple measurements from studies with more than one eligible comparator handled appropriately
Check for double counting of studies in Forest plot & adjustment of events/sample size in control groups
Absolute effects used to illustrate the relative effects where appropriate
Outlying results acknowledged & explored appropriately
Consider how plausible the direction/size of effects are overall, explore data from studies with unusually large or discordant effects