So you want to write a Campbell systematic review?

We welcome proposals for new reviews to be registered with the Campbell Collaboration and, subsequently, published in the journal of Campbell Systematic Reviews.

There are three stages in the production of a Campbell review: (1) title registration, (2) protocol, and (3) review. The editorial process for your review will be managed by one of Campbell’s Coordinating Groups.

General guidance can be found in Campbell’s Policies and Guidelines and Expectations and guidance for systematic review authors. (See the bottom of this page for a list of links to all the resources mentioned in this article.)

1. Title registration

The first step is to complete the title registration form (TRF). The proposed title for your systematic review should clearly state the scope of the review. This scope should be determined in consultation with key stakeholders including intended end users. Guidance on formulating the review title may be found in the Cochrane Handbook, which is the basis for the suggested title format you will find in the TRF template. An additional resource to assist at the title stage is The Equity Checklist.

Fill in the TRF and email it directly to the Managing Editor of the Coordinating Group with which you would like to register your review. You can expect a response regarding your proposed title within 10 working days.

2. Protocol

The Methodological Expectations of Campbell Collaboration Intervention Reviews (MECCIR) guides the conduct and reporting of systematic reviews. It is important that authors adhere to these guidelines, to ensure that your review can be published in the journal of Campbell Systematic Reviews.

Although the list of requirements may seem quite long, they are the building blocks of a high quality systematic review, and most of the items are straightforward to implement. To develop the protocol, consult the MECCIR conduct standards. The standards indicate which items are relevant at the protocol stage. You may also find it useful to consult those Methods policy briefs which are relevant to your review.

The protocol will be reviewed though a process managed by an Editor of a Coordinating Group. It will be sent for external refereeing by a content expert and a methods specialist. The Editor will provide you with a consolidated set of comments with guidance on required revisions. These comments are often more detailed than those you may be used to from the usual journal refereeing process. There may be more than one round of refereeing.

Once the protocol is approved, you are expected to submit the review to the Campbell Systematic Reviews journal.

3. Review

After the protocol is accepted, the work of producing the review itself begins. The MECCIR reporting standards give more details on how specifics parts of the review should be presented.

The review will be sent for external refereeing, usually by the same referees as commented on the protocol. The Editor will provide you with a consolidated set of comments with guidance on required revisions. More than one round of refereeing may be necessary.

Campbell expects authors to update the review after three years, or when needed.

Publishing the review

After the review is accepted, final proofs will be sent to the corresponding author for approval. Once this is done, it will be published and can be freely distributed in accordance with our open access policy.

The promotion of the review is a responsibility shared between the authors, the supporting institutions, the Coordinating Group and the Campbell Secretariat. Typically, we will write about the completed review on our website in our newsletters and on social media. We will produce a plain language summary (PLS) and promote it to policymakers, practitioners and intermediary organisations who reach these groups.

Fast track

Funded reviews may require faster review turnaround times. A fast track agreement commits both the Coordinating Group and the authors to an agreed timetable with faster than usual turnaround times. A fast track agreement usually requires the review team to make a payment to cover additional time available from Campbell officers who participate in the refereeing process. The payment will be managed by the Campbell Secretariat. Read more here.

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