The Heart Group aims to treat all authors fairly and with respect when making editorial decisions, including decisions to stop reviews from moving forward or to reject protocols or reviews. In cases where authors have complaints, the Heart Group uses the internal and external policies to handle complaints outlined below. Individual cases may be considered for review by the Heart Group internally among the Co-ordinating Editors and among advisory board members with appropriate content and methodological expertise.
Cochrane - How to complain
Complaints relating to the Cochrane Library in general or the staff or actions of the Cochrane Editorial Unit should be referred directly to the Editor in Chief. Complaints may be made by email, phone or letter.
If the complainant is not content with the response, or if the complaint relates to the conduct of the Editor in Chief, the complainant can ask for the complaint to be referred to the Cochrane Library Oversight Committee via its Chair. Complaints that refer to The Cochrane Library databases that are produced by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) will be redirected to the relevant individuals at the CRD. Alternatively, complaints can be made directly to the CRD:
Heart Group - how we deal with complaints
All complaints will be acknowledged within three working days. If possible a definitive response will be made within two weeks. If this is not possible an interim response will be given within two weeks. Further interim responses will be provided until the complaint is resolved.
Complainants who remain unhappy after this procedure has run its course may consider referring the matter to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). The Cochrane Library and all Cochrane Review Groups are members of COPE (See section on COPE), which publishes a code of conduct and best practice guidelines for journal editors. COPE will consider complaints against journals only after the journal's own complaints procedures have been exhausted.
Committee on Publication Ethics
The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) has outlined guidance for handling complaints, namely:
15.1. Editors should respond promptly to complaints and should ensure there is a way for dissatisfied complainants to take complaints further. This mechanism should be made clear in the journal and should include information on how to refer unresolved matters to COPE.
15.2. Editors should follow the procedure set out in the COPE flowchart on complaints.