This is an archived version of the Handbook. For the current version, please go to or search for this chapter here.

3.2.3  Citation versions of Cochrane reviews and protocols

Each publication of a Cochrane review or protocol has a current citation version. For reviews, citation versions are considered to be major new publications and result in entries in reference databases such as MEDLINE and Science Citation Index (SCI).  Protocols do not have citations in MEDLINE or SCI. Events triggering the creation of a citation version are listed in Box 3.2.a.


Some reviews undergo important changes (updates or amendments) that warrant new citations in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) and new MEDLINE and SCI records (e.g. changes to conclusions, authors or correcting serious errors). We call these new citation versions. In addition, some new citation versions warrant additional highlighting in the CDSR (e.g. using a flag) – in particular, those that change their conclusions such that they should be read again. We refer to this special subset of new citation versions as reviews with conclusions changed. As all updated reviews are very important, even if they do not meet the criteria for a new citation version, all updated reviews should be highlighted as updated reviews in the CDSR (using a 'New search' flag).


Protocols that undergo important changes (e.g. to authors or eligibility criteria) warrant a new citation version. Protocols are not listed in databases such as MEDLINE and SCI, so this affects only the citation quoted within CDSR. Protocols that change in such a way that they should be re-read by interested users warrant highlighting in the CDSR (e.g. using a flag). We call these protocols with a major change.


Figure 3.2.a summarizes these various types of changes to a Cochrane review, and

Figure 3.2.b the types of changes to a Cochrane protocol.