Resources for PROTOCOLS

Below find information and links to help you develop your protocol. 

Protocol Timeline

Authors are expected to complete their protocol and submit for editorial review within three months of title registration. The completed review is due to be submitted nine months following publication of the protocol.

Cochrane Neonatal reserves the right to de-register the title or transfer the title to a new author if these deadlines are not met.

How do I access my RevMan5 file?

You and your co-authors will need to access ‘Archie’, Cochrane’s central server for managing and storing documents and contact details. You should check out the file from within RevMan. Click here for Good practice resources for new Cochrane authors and Top tips for using Archie and RevMan guide. It is important that you visit Cochrane's community support for RevMan and Archie support.

Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions and the Cochrane Style Guide

Please refer to the Cochrane Handbook which is the official document that describes in details the process of preparing and maintaining Cochrane systematic reviews. Cochrane protocols and reviews should also follow the style described in the Cochrane Style Manual.  The 'Related Resources' sidebar on this page explains how you can find examples of our published protocols and reviews in the Cochrane Library.

Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews (MECIR)

The Cochrane Collaboration’s Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews (MECIR) project has developed two sets of standards for the conduct and reporting of Cochrane reviews of interventions. When developing your protocol (and subsequent review) please refer to these standards.  For more information, see

Literature searching

One complete search strategy should be presented in an Appendix of the protocol. Search methods should align with those found in our protocol template (which will be provided to you upon request). 

Literature searching requires a specialised set of skills and we advise the inclusion of an experienced Information Specialist or Medical Librarian as an author on your review (Schellinger 2021Beverley 2003) to increase transparency and accountability; and to improve reporting and reproducibility of search methods in your review. Suggested methodological filters and recommended neonatal population terms are availble here: /Literature-Search-Filters-for-Neonatal-Reviews. The Cochrane Neonatal Group may be able to provide search support--please inquire by contacting our group's Information Specialist or Managing Editor (/our-team). 

GRADE and Summary of findings table

In your full review you will need to use the GRADE approach (using GRADEpro) to assess the quality of the evidence and prepare a Summary of findings (SoF) table to import into your review.  The Cohrane Consumers and Communication group has produced two helpful resources for creating Summary of findings tables and for understanding the GRADE approach. Additionally, Cochrane Training has a series of webinars on GRADE.

Where do I find out about training workshops and other sources of support?

Please visit Cochrane Training to sign up for in-person author training workshops or to participate in online learning to help you develop your protocol and review. It is also important that you make contact with the Cochrane Center in your region to enquire about the support they can offer you as a Cochrane author and to register for training workshops to help you develop your protocol and review.  Cochrane authors can also access a suite of online learning resources for undertaking a systematic review.

Other Resources: 

·         Cochrane Diagnostic Test Accuracy Group

·         Predatory journals - This is a list, created in an effort to identify characteristics of potentially predatory journals.  This list is not all-inclusive, but the authors note that it is a good place to start (Shamseer 2017).

·         Undertaking Systematic Reviews of Research on Effectiveness - an extensive guide by the NHS Centre for Reviews & Dissemination

Rejection Policy

Cochrane Neonatal can reject a protocol or review at any stage before publication. Please see the Cochrane Policy on the rejection of Cochrane Reveiws for more information.