This is an archived version of the Handbook.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

An update to a Cochrane review is defined as any modification to the published document that includes the findings (including that of no new studies) from a more recent search for additional included studies than the previous published review. The review is said to be have been updated. Updated reviews are highlighted as 'New search' in the CDSR. Any newly identified studies must be incorporated into the updated review (and not left among ‘Studies awaiting classification’ unless all reasonable efforts have been made to classify it as Included, Excluded or Ongoing). A review is still considered to be updated if a new and thorough search did not identify any additional studies.


This definition draws on a definition for an update of a systematic review as “a discrete event with the aim to search for and identify new evidence to incorporate into a previously completed systematic review” (Moher 2006). An update to a Cochrane review may involve much or little work, depending on the search results, and should in principle be undertaken at least every two years (see Section 3.1.2).