ACE editorial policy news

Submitting a protocol or review for the editorial process 

  • ACE has a system of three warnings and your review will be removed. 
  • All messages from ACE to a review team will be sent to all authors.

  • Repeated failure by a review team to respond to or to acknowledge messages will prompt deregistraton of the review at any stage of the editorial process.

Removal of protocols and reviews:

Given that timely production of high quality work is of utmost importance, the editorial team regards submission of a draft protocol or review as key to guarantee the continued registration of the title to the contact author. Maintaining contact with the editorial base remains a crucial aspect of obtaining support and gaining access to resources to help you complete the review. We reserve the right, with prior notice, to reallocate or deregister titles that have not progressed to a draft protocol within six months, and where we have not had contact from authors. Furthermore, protocols that have not been converted to reviews within three years may be allocated to alternative authors with prior notice. Reviews that have not been maintained in the light of new evidence within three years may also be reallocated with prior notice. ACE has a system of three warnings and your protocol, or review, will be removed.

Please be aware that ACE can reject a Cochrane Review at any stage before publication due to our policy. 


  • Please check your protocol or review against the appropriate submission checklist form.
  • Please send the completed form to the managing editor Jane Cracknell at the same time you check your protocol or review into Archie.
  • RevMan 5 contains risk of bias tables (ROB) and summary of finding (SOF) tables. It has been decided that all ACE reviews entering the editorial process MUST contain these tables. The Reviewers’ Handbook chapters on ROB tables and SOF tables can be accessed via Revman or
  • It is possible to generate SOF tables within RevMan
  • Authors should NOT create RevMan Figures for all forest plots. This is effectively, a duplication of information that appears in the data and analysis section at the end of the full Review version. To ensure the best presentation of the Figures in the published review (particularly in the PDF version), we recommend a maximum of six figures per review, but ideally between three and five. Since additional tables are presented in the same way as Figures (ie positioned within the review text), this number applies to Figures and Additional tables combined. Only the most important tables should remain as 'Additional tables' and other additional tables should be moved to the Appendices and referenced with a hyperlink. (The Managing Editor is happy to help you move any additional tables to the appendices.)
  • ACE expects authors to submit with their draft review a figure explaining how your papers were found. The completed WORD figure should be returned to the managing editor with your draft review. We will then insert this figure in your review and link it to the text. We also expect authors to keep copies of all their data extraction forms and papers. This is because your editors may ask to see either your data extraction forms or included/excluded articles.
  • An orphan study - a data and analysis with only one included study - should not be entered in a data and analysis table. Rather, the outcome could be placed in an appendix. An orphan study entered, as a subgroup single included study, would still be appropriate when associated with the other subgroups of the data and analysis table. Empty forest plots should not appear in any ACE review.
  • The list of excluded studies should be as brief as possible. It should not list all of the reports that were identified by a comprehensive search. It should not list studies that obviously do not fulfil the entry criteria for the review as listed under ‘Types of studies’, ‘Types of participants’, and ‘Types of interventions’, and in particular should not list studies that are obviously not randomized if the review includes only randomized trials. We do understand that you may want to make your search as transparent as possible – one way to do this is to provide brief details (ie 5 studies excluded – editorials) in the search flow diagram. If you want to provide more detail then you can always provide it in an appendix.
  • It is important that authors are aware of  Conflicts of interest and Cochrane Reviews  and Commercial Sponsorship Policy.

What is the basic message of Cochrane’s commercial sponsorship policy? 

There are four key points to the policy:

  • no authors can be current employees of pharmaceutical companies or similar organisations (such as manufacturers of healthcare products);
  • the majority of authors and lead author on a Cochrane Review should not have any conflicts of interest relevant to the review topic;
  • authors of Cochrane Reviews cannot be funded by  pharmaceutical companies or industry to undertake the review;
  • no part of the Cochrane Review process can be funded by pharmaceutical companies or similar organisations.