How can I become a Cochrane author?

Writing a Cochrane review is an important contribution to evidence-based healthcare. Whether you're new to Cochrane or a returning author, this page tells you everything you need to know to get started.

Steps to write a Cochrane review

01 Proposal
02 Protocol
03 Review
04 Update
01 Proposal

All Cochrane reviews start with a proposal. Tell us about your proposed review. What question will your review answer? How will this contribute to evidence-based medicine?

02 Protocol

If your proposal is accepted, you start work on your protocol. Your protocol explains how you plan to conduct your review. We have guidance to help you plan your methods in advance. This increases transparency and prevents bias. All Cochrane protocols are peer reviewed before acceptance and publication.

03 Review

If your protocol is accepted, you start work on your full review. You should follow the methods set out in your protocol. All Cochrane reviews are peer reviewed before acceptance and publication. Congratulations, you are now the proud author of a Cochrane review!

04 Update

Cochrane reviews are updated as new evidence becomes available. Are there new studies that might change the answer to your original question? It's time to submit an update proposal!


We know systematic reviews take a lot of work. That's why we ask for a proposal to determine whether a review is worth doing before you start. Once you get started, we offer support every step of the way. We want to help you produce the best evidence to influence healthcare decisions and policies. 

Hand pointing upClick on the numbered steps above to find out more.

What is a Cochrane review?

Cochrane reviews are systematic reviews that analyse primary evidence about health and care. All Cochrane reviews are published on the Cochrane Library.

How do I become a Cochrane author?

  1. Find an evidence gap. What new question will your review answer?
  2. Find co-authors. You need a team to write a Cochrane review.
  3. Submit a proposal (not a completed protocol or review). You can access free resources to help you write your proposal.

All Cochrane reviews start with a review proposal. A proposal is an online form with questions about the review you want to write. We check for overlap with existing research, to reduce research waste. If your proposal is accepted, you can start work on your protocol or review. You can be sure no one else is writing a Cochrane review that answers the same question.

If you already know what review you want to write, and have picked your author team – propose your new or updated review now.

Which Cochrane resources are available to all?

As you get ready to propose a Cochrane Review, you can access many of the resources available to Cochrane authors. Use these resources to understand Cochrane methods and to improve your review proposal.

Free resources (no login required)

Resources that need a Cochrane account (free access to Cochrane account holders)

Sign up for your Cochrane account now

Subscription-only resources (free for prospective authors based in Research4Life Group A and B countries)

What makes writing a Cochrane review unique?

Cochrane does much more than publish reviews. We also develop the methods and research principles that make our evidence trustworthy. Our collection of Handbooks explain our methodology and how to apply it to your review. We ask all our review authors to use these rigorous, standardised methods which we have designed to reduce bias and misinterpretation.

We know our methods are complex – so we are committed to supporting our authors from start to finish. We have resources to help you every step of the way.

Who can write a Cochrane review?

Anyone can submit a proposal to write a Cochrane review. Including YOU! Cochrane is a global research community and our authors come from all over the world.

Looking for co-authors? Search on our volunteer hub

To ensure our research is independent and unbiased, our Conflict of Interest policy sets high standards of research integrity. Please make sure you have no commercial or financial conflicts of interest before you propose a Cochrane review. Our author teams include clinicians, methodologists, statisticians, researchers and members of the public with lived experience of health and care issues. We encourage author teams to be diverse, inclusive, and representative of the population considered in the review.

Top 5 reading list recommendations when forming or joining an author team:

  1. Cochrane Handbook: Who should do a systematic review?
  2. Cochrane Conflict of interest policy: interests that prevent authorship
  3. Cochrane author responsibilities: role of the contact author
  4. Cochrane criteria for authorship
  5. Cochrane Handbook: Involving consumers and other stakeholders

Complete our 10-minute micro-learning module that explains what makes a great author team.

What resources can I access if my proposal is accepted?

  • Before submission

If your review proposal is accepted, you will get free access to tools and resources as you work on your protocol:

  • FREE! Our review development software, Cochrane ReviewManager (RevMan). RevMan supports data analysis using Cochrane statistical methods.
  • FREE! Use our partner service Covidence to screen study records for inclusion, and to extract data for import into RevMan.
  • FREE! Use our partner service GRADEpro GDT to grade your evidence and create Summary of findings tables.
  • FREE! An automatic subscription to our author training modules.

Some Cochrane authors work closely with Cochrane groups who can advise on review development. All authors – whether working with a group or independently – can consult the Cochrane Support Team and Methods Support Unit at any time.

  • Publication

We want everyone to benefit from access to Cochrane evidence.

We reward our authors for publishing with us. If your protocol and review are accepted and published, you will gain Cochrane Membership. We also offer a three-year automatic subscription to the Cochrane Library for the Corresponding Author of each published review.

Cochrane advocates for evidence-based health decision-making around the world. After publication, we will increase the impact of your review by translating the abstract and plain language summary into up to 20 languages. We can also help you disseminate your review findings and increase the chance of your evidence getting into the hands of guideline developers and clinicians.

Contact us

Questions about starting your first Cochrane review? Suggestions to improve this page? Email

Page updated 9 May 2024.

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