2.4  Publication of Cochrane reviews in print journals and books

Authors may wish to seek co-publication of Cochrane reviews in peer-reviewed healthcare journals, particularly in those journals that have expressed enthusiasm for co-publication of Cochrane reviews. For The Cochrane Collaboration, there is one essential condition of co-publication: Cochrane reviews must remain free for dissemination in any and all media, without restriction from any of them. To ensure this, Cochrane authors grant the Collaboration worldwide licences for these activities, and do not sign over exclusive copyright to any journal or other publisher. A journal is free to request a non-exclusive copyright that permits it to publish and re-publish a review, but this cannot restrict the publication of the review by The Cochrane Collaboration in whatever form the Collaboration feels appropriate. To republish material published in the CDSR elsewhere, most particularly in print journals, authors must complete a ‘permission to publish’ form available in the Cochrane Manual (www.cochrane.org/about-us/policy-manual), along with an explanation of the procedures to follow.


Authors are strongly discouraged from publishing Cochrane reviews in journals before they are ready for publication in CDSR. This applies particularly to Centre directors and editors of CRGs. However, journals will sometimes insist that the publication of the review in CDSR should not precede publication in print. When this is the case, authors should submit a review for publication in the journal after agreement from their CRG editor and before publication in CDSR. Publication in print should not be subject to lengthy production times, and authors should not unduly delay publication of a Cochrane review either because of delays from a journal or in order to resubmit their review to another journal.


Journals can also request revision of a review for editorial or content reasons. External peer review provided by journals may enhance the value of the review and should be welcomed. Journals generally require shorter reviews than those published in CDSR. Selective shortening of reviews may be appropriate, but there should not be any substantive differences between the review as published in the journal and CDSR. If a review is published in a journal, it should be noted that a fuller and maintained version of the review is available in CDSR. Typically, this should be done by including a statement such as the following in the introduction:  ‘A more detailed review will be published and updated in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews’. The reference should be to the protocol for the review published in CDSR. A similar statement should be included in the introduction if a review is published in CDSR prior to publishing a version of the review in a journal. After a version of a Cochrane review has been published in a journal, a reference to the journal publication must be added under the heading ‘Other published versions of this review’. Authors are also encouraged to add the following statement to versions of Cochrane reviews that are published in journals:

‘This paper is based on a Cochrane review first published [or most recently substantively amended, as appropriate] in The Cochrane Library YYYY, Issue X (see http://www.thecochranelibrary.com/ for information). Cochrane reviews are regularly updated as new evidence emerges and in response to feedback, and The Cochrane Library should be consulted for the most recent version of the review.’


The following modification of the disclaimer published in The Cochrane Library should be added to Cochrane reviews published in journals.

‘The results of a Cochrane review can be interpreted differently, depending on people's perspectives and circumstances. Please consider the conclusions presented carefully. They are the opinions of review authors, and are not necessarily shared by The Cochrane Collaboration.’


The passage below can be provided to journal editors upon submission of a review for publication, and the letter of submission should be copied to the CRG editorial base for information. This policy and procedure may be new to some journal editors and may require direct discussion with the journal editor. The CRG editorial base should be informed of any problems encountered in this process. The following passage is suggested for inclusion in letters of submission to journal editors:

‘This systematic review has been prepared under the aegis of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that aims to help people make well-informed decisions about healthcare by preparing, maintaining and promoting the accessibility of systematic reviews of the effects of healthcare interventions. The Collaboration's publication policy permits journals to publish reviews, with priority if required, but permits The Cochrane Collaboration also to publish and disseminate such reviews. Cochrane reviews cannot be subject to the exclusive copyright requested by some journals.’