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.

How can we improve the Cochrane Style Manual?

You've used all your votes and won't be able to post a new idea, but you can still search and comment on existing ideas.

There are two ways to get more votes:

  • When an admin closes an idea you've voted on, you'll get your votes back from that idea.
  • You can remove your votes from an open idea you support.
  • To see ideas you have already voted on, select the "My feedback" filter and select "My open ideas".
(thinking…)

Enter your idea and we'll search to see if someone has already suggested it.

If a similar idea already exists, you can support and comment on it.

If it doesn't exist, you can post your idea so others can support it.

Enter your idea and we'll search to see if someone has already suggested it.

  • Hot ideas
  • Top ideas
  • New ideas
  • My feedback
  1. 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
    Vote
    Sign in
    Check!
    (thinking…)
    Reset
    or sign in with
    • facebook
    • google
      Password icon
      Signed in as (Sign out)
      You have left! (?) (thinking…)
      1 comment  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    • Present per as / not as superscript -1

      mg/kg

      not mg kg superscript -1

      2 votes
      Vote
      Sign in
      Check!
      (thinking…)
      Reset
      or sign in with
      • facebook
      • google
        Password icon
        Signed in as (Sign out)
        You have left! (?) (thinking…)
        Open for voting  ·  1 comment  ·  Numbers, statistics, and units  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
      • References: copublication advice

        "Co-publication not mentioned in Style Manual, but becoming more common:
        E.g. Welch V, Petticrew M, Petkovic J, Moher D, Waters E; PRISMA-Equity Bellagio Group. Extending the PRISMA Statement for equity-focused systematic reviews (PRISMA-E 2012): explanation and elaboration. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 2016;70:68-89. Co-published in International Journal for Equity in Health 2015;14:92 and The Journal of Development Effectiveness 2016; DOI: 10.1080/19439342.2015.1113196.

        0 votes
        Vote
        Sign in
        Check!
        (thinking…)
        Reset
        or sign in with
        • facebook
        • google
          Password icon
          Signed in as (Sign out)
          You have left! (?) (thinking…)
          Planned  ·  1 comment  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
        • 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
          Vote
          Sign in
          Check!
          (thinking…)
          Reset
          or sign in with
          • facebook
          • google
            Password icon
            Signed in as (Sign out)
            You have left! (?) (thinking…)
            Planned  ·  1 comment  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
          • What year to use for internet publications

            Provide guidance on approaches for two types of internet publications: (1) dynamic resources and (2) dated publications. The first will always need an 'accessed' date and the source will be defined the URL; the accessed date will need to be used in the Reference ID. The second will have a specific date that won't change (and would be used in the Reference ID) - the internet location is secondary to the primary identity of the publiction.

            1 vote
            Vote
            Sign in
            Check!
            (thinking…)
            Reset
            or sign in with
            • facebook
            • google
              Password icon
              Signed in as (Sign out)
              You have left! (?) (thinking…)
              Open for voting  ·  1 comment  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
            • GRADEpro GDT reference is not consistent with information under 'How to cite'

              The GRADEpro website has this:

              How to cite the software
              GRADEpro GDT: GRADEpro Guideline Development Tool [Software]. McMaster University, 2015 (developed by Evidence Prime, Inc.). Available from gradepro.org.
              Should the software name and the publisher be written as recommended?

              1 vote
              Vote
              Sign in
              Check!
              (thinking…)
              Reset
              or sign in with
              • facebook
              • google
                Password icon
                Signed in as (Sign out)
                You have left! (?) (thinking…)
                0 comments  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
              • How to cite versions of Cochrane Handbook

                URL for version 5.1 of the Cochrane handbook has changed from handbook.cochrane.org to handbook-5-1.cochrane.org. This relates to changes described here: http://training.cochrane.org/handbook. Style Manual could be updated in relation to this.

                1 vote
                Vote
                Sign in
                Check!
                (thinking…)
                Reset
                or sign in with
                • facebook
                • google
                  Password icon
                  Signed in as (Sign out)
                  You have left! (?) (thinking…)
                  2 comments  ·  Cochrane Review specific  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                • Formatting

                  The style manual says 'In general, the choice of formatting (i.e. bulleted or ordered lists) and numbering should be consistent within a single document.'
                  Perhaps the manual could make explicit an exception for numbering lists where items are in order of importance or in sequence (and also not numbering lists where no such ordering is needed).

                  1 vote
                  Vote
                  Sign in
                  Check!
                  (thinking…)
                  Reset
                  or sign in with
                  • facebook
                  • google
                    Password icon
                    Signed in as (Sign out)
                    You have left! (?) (thinking…)
                    Planned  ·  2 comments  ·  Formatting  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                  • 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
                    Vote
                    Sign in
                    Check!
                    (thinking…)
                    Reset
                    or sign in with
                    • facebook
                    • google
                      Password icon
                      Signed in as (Sign out)
                      You have left! (?) (thinking…)
                      Under review  ·  2 comments  ·  Grammar and writing style  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                    • 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
                      Vote
                      Sign in
                      Check!
                      (thinking…)
                      Reset
                      or sign in with
                      • facebook
                      • google
                        Password icon
                        Signed in as (Sign out)
                        You have left! (?) (thinking…)
                        1 comment  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                      • 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
                        Vote
                        Sign in
                        Check!
                        (thinking…)
                        Reset
                        or sign in with
                        • facebook
                        • google
                          Password icon
                          Signed in as (Sign out)
                          You have left! (?) (thinking…)
                          Open for voting  ·  1 comment  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                        • Guidance on Reference ID or study ID for all reference types

                          From discussion with Clare Dooley: "Some reference types give examples of the Reference ID or Study ID that should be used (e.g. personal communication, study listed in a trial register) – could these examples be extended to ALL reference types? For instance, it would be really helpful for publications on the internet where there is often confusion between the date accessed and the date a report was published (i.e. which year is entered as the ref ID?) Or there’s confusion when entering the Ref ID for GRADEpro GDT – is it the date of publication (GRADEpro GDT 2014) or the…

                          2 votes
                          Vote
                          Sign in
                          Check!
                          (thinking…)
                          Reset
                          or sign in with
                          • facebook
                          • google
                            Password icon
                            Signed in as (Sign out)
                            You have left! (?) (thinking…)
                            1 comment  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                          • Expansion of study ID guidance

                            From Clare Dooley: Some reference types give examples of the Reference ID or Study ID that should be used (e.g. personal communication, study listed in a trial register) Ð could these examples be extended to ALL reference types? For instance, it would be really helpful for publications on the internet where there is often confusion between the date accessed and the date a report was published (i.e. which year is entered as the ref ID?) Or thereÕs confusion when entering the Ref ID for GRADEpro GDT Ð is it the date of publication (GRADEpro GDT 2014) or the date accessed…

                            1 vote
                            Vote
                            Sign in
                            Check!
                            (thinking…)
                            Reset
                            or sign in with
                            • facebook
                            • google
                              Password icon
                              Signed in as (Sign out)
                              You have left! (?) (thinking…)
                              Open for voting  ·  0 comments  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                            • Guidance on appropriate use of surname field

                              Technical change needed. See Notes.

                              1 vote
                              Vote
                              Sign in
                              Check!
                              (thinking…)
                              Reset
                              or sign in with
                              • facebook
                              • google
                                Password icon
                                Signed in as (Sign out)
                                You have left! (?) (thinking…)
                                Planned  ·  0 comments  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                              • UK/US usage of brackes

                                Query from Dolores Matthew: Although Cochrane style is to use nested round brackets, American English style is to use nested square brackets. As I am editing the CCAs per American English, I have used the nested square brackets.

                                1 vote
                                Vote
                                Sign in
                                Check!
                                (thinking…)
                                Reset
                                or sign in with
                                • facebook
                                • google
                                  Password icon
                                  Signed in as (Sign out)
                                  You have left! (?) (thinking…)
                                  Open for voting  ·  1 comment  ·  Grammar and writing style  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                • 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
                                  Vote
                                  Sign in
                                  Check!
                                  (thinking…)
                                  Reset
                                  or sign in with
                                  • facebook
                                  • google
                                    Password icon
                                    Signed in as (Sign out)
                                    You have left! (?) (thinking…)
                                    1 comment  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                  • 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…

                                    1 vote
                                    Vote
                                    Sign in
                                    Check!
                                    (thinking…)
                                    Reset
                                    or sign in with
                                    • facebook
                                    • google
                                      Password icon
                                      Signed in as (Sign out)
                                      You have left! (?) (thinking…)
                                      Open for voting  ·  0 comments  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                    • Study v trial

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

                                      1 vote
                                      Vote
                                      Sign in
                                      Check!
                                      (thinking…)
                                      Reset
                                      or sign in with
                                      • facebook
                                      • google
                                        Password icon
                                        Signed in as (Sign out)
                                        You have left! (?) (thinking…)
                                        Open for voting  ·  0 comments  ·  Names and common terms  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                      • Superscripts

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

                                        0 votes
                                        Vote
                                        Sign in
                                        Check!
                                        (thinking…)
                                        Reset
                                        or sign in with
                                        • facebook
                                        • google
                                          Password icon
                                          Signed in as (Sign out)
                                          You have left! (?) (thinking…)
                                          0 comments  ·  Formatting  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                        • 0 votes
                                          Vote
                                          Sign in
                                          Check!
                                          (thinking…)
                                          Reset
                                          or sign in with
                                          • facebook
                                          • google
                                            Password icon
                                            Signed in as (Sign out)
                                            You have left! (?) (thinking…)
                                            Planned  ·  0 comments  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                          ← Previous 1 3
                                          • Don't see your idea?

                                          Feedback and Knowledge Base