If you have expertise in some aspect of healthcare, why not carry out a systematic review? Being part of a Cochrane review group provides the support, resources and training to tackle a systematic review, and an international audience when your work is published in The Cochrane Library. Before you start work on your chosen topic, please contact the UGPD Group Editorial board to register your title.
As an author, there are several key deliverable and principles which the UGPD will expect.
Normally the first draft of a protocol should be submitted within six months of registering a title, and the first draft of a review submitted within 12 months of the protocol passing peer review.
Undertaking a systematic review should not be taken lightly. Completing a systematic review requires a large commitment of time and effort. Each review is required to have at least two authors, and in practice reviews usually have several authors, as many include support from a statistician. Authors should expect the process to take approximately 1-2 years. Once a review is published, there is an ongoing need to keep the text up to date. Ideally one or more authors who worked on the last published version should commit to updating the review.
Given the amount of time we would anticipate an author to spend working on a review, the UGPD recommends that authors be the lead author on only one review at a time and may have involvement (not in a lead role) in up to three additional reviews.
It is expected that the team of authors working on systematic review will jointly have the necessary clinical, statistical and information skills required to undertake the review. While training on how to perform a review and use the appropriate software, is provided, this should be supplemental to trained clinicians, statisticians and information professionals. Authors should produce reviews in accordance with the methods of the UGPD group and those detailed in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions.
The Group upholds an author's right to intellectual property and will not tolerate plagiarism. Authors are requested to properly cite or paraphrase another author's work. Copying and pasting the work of others is not acceptable. Authors are expected to create original text and analyses. The Group has procedures in place to detect plagiarism at all stages of review development, including title registration. Authors suspected of plagiarism will be confronted. Depending on the severity of plagiarism an author may be given guidance on how rephrase or quote another's work or, in extreme cases, banned from any further work with the group.
The Cochrane Collaboration has co-publication agreements with many international and specialist journals, allowing authors to simultaneously publish their Cochrane systematic review in a journal. Authors undertaking the development of Cochrane systematic review should anticipate publishing in the Cochrane Library, any further publication should be secondary. A list of co-published articles by the Group can be found in the Publications section.
Keeping in touch
Authors should keep their contact details up to date. Authors should also keep in touch with the UGPD group, in particular letting the group know if circumstances change which may prevent a review from being completed.
Authors may wish to read section 3.2.4 of the Cochrane policy manual titled "Managing expectations: what does The Cochrane Collaboration expect of authors, and what can authors expect of The Cochrane Collaboration?" for a better idea of what will be expected.