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. 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  ·  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…)
      • 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  ·  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…)
          • 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  ·  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  ·  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  ·  Admin →
                • Clarification needed on use of "mid" as a prefix

                  Please add "mid" to the list of prefixes and clarify its presentation. (The example I am working with is "mid-urethral" or "midurethral") .

                  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…)
                  • Clarification needed re the use of a lower-case letter after a colon

                    The CSM recommends using a lower-case letter after a colon unless the following word is a proper noun, but in the CSM Basics we can see many colons followed by upper-case letters. Is that an inconsistency or a further explanation is missing?

                    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…)
                    • Guidance on the use of sex vs gender

                      Guidance would be appreciated on the use of the terms "sex" and "gender". The Cochrane Equity group is likely to be of help defining these terms.

                      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…)
                      • Guidance on usage of 'Indigenous' and on names for specific Indigenous populations

                        It would be useful to have guidance on usage and capitalisation of the term 'Indigenous' and the use of specific terms for Indigenous peoples. For reference, two Cochrane Library editorials: http://www.cochranelibrary.com/editorial/10.1002/14651858.ED000104
                        http://www.cochranelibrary.com/editorial/10.1002/14651858.ED000103

                        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…)
                        • How to enter non-English references in RevMan

                          References added to RevMan are nearly always entered in English, and it can be challenging to enter non-English references, especially for people who speak only English. It's additionally difficult for references using non-Roman alphabets. Consider providing a set of examples to expand current advice (https://community.cochrane.org/style-manual/references/reference-types/journal-articles#not-english)

                          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…)
                            0 comments  ·  References  ·  Admin →
                          • How to cite a registered title

                            How should a registered title be cited in a Cochrane Review?

                            We could use a format like this:
                            Gendron L. Active mind body movement therapies as an adjunct to or in comparison to pulmonary rehabilitation in COPD. Cochrane registered title. www.cochrane.org/title/active-mind-body-movement-therapies-adjunct-or-comparison-pulmonary-rehabilitation-copd (accessed DATE).

                            But that's just the contact author not full authors, and would it make more sense for the Group to be the 'author' at this stage, as they 'hold' the title until it becomes the authors' work?

                            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  ·  Admin →
                            • Use of commas before 'such as'

                              Feedback via email: "We are inconsistent in the style guide with the use of comma before ‘such as’, or at least we do not explain why it should be used and why not. Please search for ‘such as’ in the whole document and you will see it. The rule is that we do not use commas in restrictive clauses, but we do use commas in nonrestrictive clauses. So, in order not to change the meaning of the clauses within the sentences, we need to clarify its use in a restrictive and non-restrictive constructions. We should also specify inform about ‘as…

                              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…)

                                We agree that the Style Manual needs to be internally consistent. That’s essential. We will check this and change as needed. We will review the separate question of whether to add information on comma usage for ‘such as’ and other phrases.

                              • General guidance on use of symbols and special characters

                                The Style Manual includes guidance on how to choose and enter symbols and how to format spacing around symbols, but we may need general guidance on whether or not to use symbols in general or for specific symbols and characters.

                                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…)
                                  Under review  ·  0 comments  ·  Formatting  ·  Admin →
                                • Citing conference proceedings in particular formats

                                  Consider adding specific guidance on how to cite conference posters or other particular types of conference outputs.

                                  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  ·  References  ·  Admin →
                                  • Clauses introduced by 'that' and 'which'

                                    Clauses that could start with 'which' or 'that' must use 'which' if they are nonrestrictive clauses (i.e. separated by commas) (e.g. "the studies, which took place in France, were crossover trials"). Restrictive clauses can be introduced by that or which: "the studies that took place in France were crossover trials", "the studies which took place in France were crossover trials". Some commentators advocate only using 'that' for restrictive clauses, to avoid confusion. Others note that the usage of which is too common to justify always changing, and that the appropriate use of commas is the key to clarity. Should the…

                                    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…)
                                    • Don't see your idea?

                                    Feedback and Knowledge Base