What is refereeing?

Cochrane Peer Referees

Refereeing is a critical part of the process to ensure the quality of Cochrane protocols and reviews (a protocol is the first, developmental stage of a Cochrane review.) The idea of refereeing is that the draft manuscript of a protocol or review is given to some experts to critique it and suggest ways it could be improved.  The editors and reviewers take these comments into account in developing the final draft that will actually be published on The Cochrane Library.  The reviewers receive a complete copy of the referees comments.

The BMJ is an international medical journal that has developed a training package for its peer reviewers. Much of the material provided in the package relates to the general art of peer review, so it can be useful for peer-reviewers of Cochrane Protocols and Reviews. Please see the Editorial feedback and peer review section on the Cochrane training website.

Refereeing is ‘open’ i.e. no attempt will be made to hide the identity of the reviewers or referees from each other. All feedback forms and other comments will be forwarded to the reviewers, along with a summary written by the contact editor.
When submitting the final version of the review for publication, the contact reviewer is expected to complete a form detailing changes that have been made to the review, and any disagreements they have with the referees’/editor's suggestions.

The contact editor will have the final decision as to which of the referees’ comments need to be addressed in the event of disagreement between referees or referee and reviewer.

Cochrane Review Groups use a network of peer referees with a range of expertise within the scope of the group. The peer review process contributes to the high quality of published protocols and reviews. Some referees provide subject expertise, others methodological expertise and an editor's eye for detail. 

Getting involved as a Peer Referee for Cochrane Gynaecological, Neuro-oncology and Orphan Cancers.
We greatly appreciate if you are interested in acting as a peer referee with Cochrane Gynaecological, Neuro-oncology and Orphan Cancers.

Once we send you a protocol or review, we ask that the checklist is returned within two/three weeks. More information about the process and what is involved is available in the documents below.

Please note that we cannot predict the number of titles that will be available. We will assign relevant titles when we have completed our editorial checks. We endeavour to send the final published version to all referees along with the authors' responses to the comments.

All referees will be asked to declare any potential conflict Peer Review Policy. More information and Cochrane Refereeing Guidelines.