The first ten years of Cochrane DTA reviews: progress and common methodological challenges




Poster session 1


Sunday 16 September 2018 - 12:30 to 14:00

All authors in correct order:

Beese S1, Harris B1, Davenport C1, Mallett S1, Takwoingi Y1, Deeks J1, on behalf of the Cochrane DTA Editorial Teams S2
1 University of Birmingham, UK
2 International, Everywhere
Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author:

Jonathan Deeks

Contact person:

Abstract text
Background: The Cochrane Library has been publishing reviews of Diagnostic Test Accuracy (DTA) for 10 years, and it is expected that more than 100 DTA reviews will have been published before the 2018 Cochrane Colloquium. Cochrane Review Groups have been supported in producing DTA protocols and reviews by the Cochrane DTA Editorial Teams who manage methodological peer review and sign off on protocols and reviews centrally when they are methodological ready for publication.

Objectives: To identify the key aspects of protocols and reviews that are identified as most commonly requiring attention by the Cochrane DTA Editorial Team; to assess time trends in the number and nature of issues identified; to identify common methodological issues where support and guidance is required.

Methods: The Cochrane DTA editorial process has recorded all peer review and methodological contact editor comments in Manuscript Central. We will undertake a content analysis of a representative sample of peer review report and comments for both protocols and reviews. Comments will be classified according to a framework which will include: question formulation, eligibility criteria, study designs, reference standards, search strategies, search sources, study selection, data extraction, quality assessment, analytical structure, meta-analysis methods, investigation of heterogeneity, comparison of tests, interpretation of findings, summary of findings tables, reporting, and lay summaries. Other issues will be added as required.

Results: The Cochrane DTA Editorial Teams currently review around 100 original or revised protocols and reviews per annum. An overview of the editorial process and common issues will be presented at the Colloquium.

Conclusions: Expertise to support Cochrane DTA reviews is limited and the Cochrane DTA Editorial Teams have been created and run to ensure that all CRGs have access to expert peer review and editorial support. The assessment of key methodological issues that continually arise in DTA protocols and reviews identify topics for which greater training and information should be made available to assist CRGs and review authors.

Patient or healthcare consumer involvement: Patients and consumers were involved in advising on structures for lay summaries, and as members of several DTA review teams.

Relevance to patients and consumers: 

It is important that Cochrane reviews use reliable methods, that they report and interpret their outcomes appropriately, and that they are written in a way that enables their use by decision-makers. To ensure Cochrane reviews of the accuracy of diagnostic tests meet these requirements they are centrally reviewed by a team of experts. We will look at the work of this expert team over the past years to learn what issues they frequently identify as currently needing attention, whether there is evidence that protocols and reviews have improved over time, and to help us plan future training and support.