What's new in the Cochrane Handbook?

What's new in Handbook version 5.1.0 (March 2011)

A PDF summary of these changes is also available.

Chapter 1

  • Section 1.1.3: The publication frequency of the CDSR has been updated (from quarterly to monthly).

Chapter 2    

  • Section 2.3.6: Reference to the training web site and open learning modules has been updated.

Chapter 3

  • Box 3.2.c and Section Criterion 5 (Accumulation of changes) for creating a new citation version has been relaxed slightly.

Chapter 4

  • Section 4.5 (Methods): A new section about planning a ‘Summary of findings’ table has been added.
  • Section 4.5 (Results): A reference PRISMA flow diagrams has been inserted under ‘Results of the search’.
  • Section 4.5 (Discussion): The section on ‘Quality of the evidence’ has been amended to refer to ‘Summary of findings’ tables and GRADE assessments.
  • Section 4.7.2: Guidance on referring to ‘Other published versions of this review’ has been clarified. As a general rule, only new citation versions of publications in the CDSR should be listed (i.e. those that yield a new MEDLINE record).
  • Table 4.9.a and Section 4.9.1: Two new types of RevMan Figure have been added: RevMan study flow diagram (PRISMA template) and RevMan flow diagram.

Chapter 5

  • Section 5.4.1: Guidance about using outcomes as criteria for including studies has been clarified, including advice against using  a lack of ‘usable’ data as a criterion.

Chapter 6

  • Section 6.6.1: Advice to document the search results has been added in anticipation of a PRISMA flow diagram.
  • Section 6.6.2: Clarity has been added that the search methods should be presented in a protocol, even if the detailed (line by line) search strategy is not.

Chapter 8

  • The Cochrane ‘Risk of bias tool’ has been modified for RevMan 5.1. The chapter has been modified in numerous places to reflect the modified tool. The changes are summarized in Table 8.5.b. The main alterations are in sections 8.4, 8.5, 8.6, 8.8.3, 8.11, 8.12 [new] and 8.15.
  • The chapter’s editors are now Higgins JPT, Altman DG and Sterne JAC.

Chapter 9

  • Section A more general version of the test for differences between subgroups is now described, as it has been implemented in RevMan.

Chapter 10

  • Figure 10.4.c: The figure has been corrected.

Chapter 11

  • Section 11.2: A new section about PRISMA study flow diagrams has been introduced.
  • Section 11.5.3: The text of bullet point 5 has been modified slightly to clarify the purpose of GRADE.
  • Section 11.5.4: A comment has been inserted to point out the context-specific help file in GRADEpro.


What's new in Handbook version 5.0.2 (September 2009)

Chapter 6

  • Boxes 6.4.a, 6.4.b, 6.4.c, 6.4.d : last lines of each strategy corrected.

Chapter 13

  • Table 13.2.b: Entries for ITS and ChBA have been corrected for the first two rows.

Chapter 16

  • Reference added for Hollis 1999 (was missing from browseable version only).


What's new in Handbook version 5.0.1 (September 2008)


  • Extensive copy editing for style, spelling and grammar.

Chapter 3

  • Section Clarification that updated reviews are flagged with a ‘New search’ flag in CDSR.
  • Section 3.5.2: Clarification that withdrawn reviews should be given an ‘Amended’ event in the ‘What’s new’ table.

Chapter 4

  • Section 4.5: Added “Review authors who wish to mix recommended with optional subheadings should ensure that they are all displayed in appropriately consistent styles, which may require deactivating all of the recommended headings embedded in RevMan and creating them manually.”

Chapter 6

  • Section Added mention of Section 801 of the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007.
  • Section Search strategy in 2nd paragraph rephrased
  • Section 6.4.11: Added mention of search filter appraisal tool.
  • Boxes 6.4.a, 6.4.b, 6.4.c, 6.4.d : Last two lines of each strategy corrected.
  • Box 6.4.f: Lines 9 and 10 of search strategy corrected.

Chapter 7

  • Section 7.7.6: Added reference to Tierney 2007.

Chapter 9

  • Section 9.4.1: Added mention of supplementary document Statistical Algorithms in Review Manager 5.
  • Section 9.5.4: Added reference for predictive intervals for random-effects meta-analysis.

Chapter 11

  • Section Added “If there is an excessive number of outcomes in the review, authors will need to omit the less important outcomes.”
  • Section 11.8: Clarified that trade names should not be used.

Chapter 12

  • Added new key point, “Quality ratings are made separately for each outcome”.
  • Section 12.6.4: New discussion of source of standard deviations for interpreting SMDs.

Chapter 13

  • Section 13.1.2, item (e): Removed text “However, justifying a systematic review of NRS on the ground of supplementing randomized trial evidence may be acceptable if the available evidence from randomized trials is of such limited quantity or poor quality that NRS may actually provide better evidence.”
  • Tables 13.2.a and 13.2.b: Added ‘Some other process (specify)? as an option for allocation to groups.

Chapter 15

  • Section 15.6.1: more information on Purchasing Power Parities and use of gross domestic product deflators.

Chapter 18

  • Added new key point, “There may be circumstances where the benefits of obtaining IPD are marginal; others where it could be vital.”

Chapter 21

  • Changed from “health promotion and public health” to “public health and health promotion”.


What's new in Handbook version 5 (February 2008)

Version 5 was a major revision of the Handbook, and virtually all of it was updated, revised or rewritten from Version 4. A PDF summary of the new material is available.