Cochrane Style Manual

The Cochrane Style Manual helps authors and editors apply a consistent style across Cochrane Reviews and related Cochrane content. Please use this forum to suggest additions, clarifications, or other changes.

It helps if you can explain why you would find the change useful. Start with a short label and then a fuller description.

To learn more about what happens to ideas and how the manual is revised, see Cochrane Style Manual: process for updating.

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  1. Change 'Date first received' for a trial registry record

    For referencing studies listed in a trial register, the example for Date of publication is given as 'Date first received' for the registry record. This is confusing, as it could be interpreted as the date the record was downloaded (i.e. by the IS in the group) or the date the record was first added to the register.

    Suggest clarifying in the table section, "Study listed in a trial register," that we want the date the study record was first posted to the trials register. The relevant section is: https://community.cochrane.org/style-manual/references/reference-types/other-reference-types#study-register

    1 vote
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    0 comments  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  2. Include examples of how to format ages

    Where does the hyphen go in:

    8 years old, 8 year olds etc.?

    Would be helpful to include examples, especially in the exceptions to numbers under 10 category, as these could also be written as:

    eight years old, eight year olds ...

    1 vote
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    Planned  ·  0 comments  ·  Numbers, statistics, and units  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  3. Use of bold text for outcomes under Types of outcome measures

    The section on bullets and lists (Secondary outcomes) in the Style Manual shows outcomes formatted in bold, which is inconsistent with guidance on use of bold in the Character formatting (typography) section.
    Use of bold for outcomes as shown in the bullets is helpful for clarity - it highlights the outcome domain vs. secondary information

    1 vote
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    0 comments  ·  Formatting  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  4. Citing co-published articles

    How to handle citations of articles that are co-published in multiple other journals

    0 votes
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    Open for voting  ·  2 comments  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  5. Citing the Glossary

    From Dee Walshe:

    An Editor has enquired how to cite the Cochrane Glossary. Do you know if there’s a specific working group that looks after this; otherwise I imagine the following citation will suffice:

    Cochrane Community. Glossary. community.cochrane.org/glossary (accessed dd Month yyyy).

    Thanks for any advice,

    1 vote
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    Open for voting  ·  0 comments  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  6. How to cite withdrawn reviews

    How and whether to cite withdrawn reviews

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    Planned  ·  1 comment  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  7. Notes on changing journal names

    From Kate Cahill: The old Style Guide used to advise on name changes in journals, specifically JAMA (1960) and the BMJ (1988). The Manual retains the BMJ information, but not the JAMA one; it would be very useful to have both journals flagged up, plus any others that have been similarly affected.

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    Open for voting  ·  1 comment  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  8. References: inclusion of 'Abstract' at end of title?

    Query from Denise Mitchell: Quite a few authors put '[Abstract]' at the end of a study title to indicate (obviously!) that it's an abstract, either from a conference or rather than full text. I can't see this in the Style Manual and I delete it but can you tell me if I'm right to do so, please?

    2 votes
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    Open for voting  ·  1 comment  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  9. Guidance on how to cite Colloquium presentations and posters

    There are numerous ways of presenting these. Clarify best practice in the Style Manual.

    2 votes
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    Planned  ·  0 comments  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  10. Changing the format of ongoing studies

    I have just completed the copy-editing on a large update, with a number of ongoing trials (usually from trial registries) and trials awaiting classification. In all cases the authors had given the study ID as the surname of the PI and the year of registration. In line with the Style Manual, I reformatted the tabulated record so that the study ID became the trial registry number (e.g. NCT00123456), and the 'Authors' also became the trial registry number. That number appeared for a third time in the table in the clinicaltrials website URL (clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT00123456). I am very aware, having written several…

    1 vote
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    1 comment  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  11. References: Epub + DOI/other numbers

    Placing of Epub bracket in various situations – not all ID numbers are DOIs, and will they all get square brackets when published?: e.g. Beaton DE, Terwee CB, Singh JA, Hawker GA, Patrick DL, Burke LB, et al. A call for evidence-based decision making when selecting outcome measurement instruments for summary of findings tables in systematic reviews: results from an OMERACT Working Group. Journal of Rheumatology 2015. pii: jrheum.141446. [Epub ahead of print].

    0 votes
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    Planned  ·  1 comment  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  12. Provide more advice on active and passive voice

    I find myself disagreeing with CE from time too time about what is active and what is passive, so I went to try and educate myself. About the first thing I cam across was this article, which had as its abstract:

    "Writing advisers have been condemning the English passive since the early 20th century. I provide an informal but
    comprehensive syntactic description of passive clauses in English, and then exhibit numerous published examples of incompetent
    criticism in which critics reveal that they cannot tell passives from actives. Some seem to confuse the grammatical concept with
    a rhetorical one involving inadequate…

    2 votes
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    2 comments  ·  Grammar and writing style  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    Discussed with Style Manual Working Group, which agreed that no changes were necessary to the current guidance, but that we could consider broader guidance on the issues raised here.

  13. References: provide an example of an ongoing study that is in a trials register

    Currently we only have an example of an ongoing study that is not in a trials register. It would be helpful to have both.

    1 vote
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    1 comment  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  14. Referencing preprints

    It may be useful to have guidance on citing preprints. Citing Medicine has recently been updated with guidance on this.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK7264/#ch14.secCIE

    1 vote
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    Planned  ·  1 comment  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  15. Splitting trials into abcd

    Note from Kate Cahill: "The review has 244 included studies, generating 278 comparisons; the excess is because quite a lot of the studies are, quite properly, split down into two or three comparisons, named e.g. Cahill 2016a, Cahill 2016b, etc. It becomes rather tiresome and time-consuming to edit the same information (sometimes minimally altered) for each comparison. I have offered them the following comment:

    "- Where the authors have split a trial into a number of different comparisons, e.g. Saluja 2002a, 2002b, 2002c, it would be more elegant and economical to refer the reader back to the first rendition of…

    2 votes
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    Open for voting  ·  0 comments  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  16. Study v trial

    Consider including clarifying the meaning of trial and study in the Style Manual

    2 votes
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    Open for voting  ·  0 comments  ·  Names and common terms  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  17. Superscripts

    Whether to use superscript function or select superscript 2 as a character.

    1 vote
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    0 comments  ·  Formatting  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  18. How to write the time

    A review is talking about circadian rhythms and events taking place between midnight and six oÕclock in the morning or six oÕclock in the morning and midday, variously written as:
    12:00-06:00 a.m.
    12:00 to 06:00 h
    six a.m. and noon

    1 vote
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    Planned  ·  0 comments  ·  Numbers, statistics, and units  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  19. Capitalisation of 'Cochrane Review' - challenges in different contexts

    Should we continue to capitalise 'Review' in the phrase Cochrane Review? Broad implications for various usages and contexts.

    2 votes
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  20. References: journal article published online

    e.g. Wiksten A, RŸcker G, Schwarzer G. Statistics in Medicine 2016: DOI: 10.1002/sim.6879 [Published online]

    2 votes
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