Background: Previous studies have shown that titles registration is problematic, particularly for non-English speakers. Unfriendly or unclear title registration could kill the enthusiasm of potential authors and impose a waste of time both to authors and Cochrane review groups (CRGs). The Cochrane Equity Task Force is reviewing the current policy.
Objectives: -To describe the Intervention and Diagnostic Review Proposal Form (RPF) and Overview Proposal Form (OPF), formerly called a Title Registration Form, of all CRGs.
-To propose a unique RPF and OPF considering most CRGs’ requirements.
Methods: Descriptive cross-sectional study, analysing accessibility, frequency, content and order of form’s domains of the 52 CRGs authorised to register titles.
Unique forms will be analysed by the Equity Task Force and other stakeholders as a component of a new title registration policy under study.
Results: We analysed the 52 Intervention RPFs. One CRG, is currently not accepting titles. Direct links to RPF were not available (17), under 'Resources' (25), 'Get involved' (6), and others (4). We found important differences in headings, content or heading order of RPFs, and frequently broken links. There is also a great variability regarding author team resources/skills required (Table 1).
Out of the 35 CRG publishing Diagnostic Test Accuracy protocols or reviews, 9 provide direct links to RPF. We found no important content difference among these RFPs, that follow closely the Cochrane generic model.
Out of the 28 CRG with Overviews at any stage, 2 provide direct links to OPF, that were identical to the Cochrane generic model.
Conclusion: We found great variability regarding the route access and the content of Intervention RPF. The absence of direct links to the form is frequent, particularly Diagnostic RPF and OPF.
Those who prepare the reviews, the major product of Cochrane, are mostly healthcare professionals who volunteer to work in Cochrane review groups. Therefore, registering titles should be a clear and transparent process to avoid frustrating experiences. The absence of a unique online forms imposes barriers.