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. How to format multiple footnotes

    From Kate Cahill:
    When we construct multiple footnotes for tables, do we insert a space between them, or a comma, or both? An example would be helpful.

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    1 comment  ·  Formatting  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  2. Citing co-published articles

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

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  3. Formatting of lists: more explanation and examples required

    Question from a copy-editor:

    In the review she was working on the secondary outcomes were listed as follows.
    Secondary outcomes
    1. Mortality (measured at approximately one month after the start of therapy).
    2. Adverse effects considered to be serious by either the patient or the clinician.
    3. Etc.
    She was unsure whether to leave the full stops in place, as these aren’t complete sentences. The style manual gives an example of a list like this where there is a platform phrase that has a full stop:

    The programme aims to help you with the following.
    1. 1. Learn about systematic…

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  4. 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,

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  5. How to cite withdrawn reviews

    How and whether to cite withdrawn reviews

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  6. 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 →
  7. 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).

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    Planned  ·  3 comments  ·  Formatting  ·  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?

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  9. Guidance on how to cite Colloquium presentations and posters

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

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  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…

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    1 comment  ·  References  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  11. 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.

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  12. 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].

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  13. 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…

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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.

  14. 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.

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  15. Guidance on appropriate use of surname field

    Technical change needed. See Notes.

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  16. 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

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  17. 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…

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  18. Study v trial

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

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  19. Superscripts

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

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  20. 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") .

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