Background: Updating reviews is a challenge faced by all review groups within The Collaboration. Many groups have tried to create mechanisms to help authors update their review, but the challenge of updating increases as more Cochrane reviews are published every year.
Objectives: We report on a partnership between the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group (CSzG) and a small company specialising in systematic reviews (Enhance Reviews Ltd) on a project to update various reviews.
Methods: The CSzG set up a list of priority reviews to be updated. Our team worked on tasks involved in updating the review, in consultation with the authors.
Results: Six reviews were updated over seven months; and the updates differed on their level of complexity, with some more challenging than others. One challenge involved updating changes in the methods of systematic reviews, in particular new areas such as: Risk of Bias, Summary of Findings and GRADE. A further challenge was that it was difficult in some reviews to measure the amount of work involved; sometimes it was necessary to return to the original studies to complete tasks, such as updating the Risk of Bias Tables to the new format. The project allowed us to calculate the amount of work required according to the number of included studies and tasks involved.
Conclusions: Given these challenges, and based on our experiences, we suggest that there should be an evaluation process before embarking on an update to estimate the scale of the tasks involved. Updates should involve partnership with authors so they can indicate which tasks would be most helpful to them in supporting the update of their review, and allow them to deal with specific issues in their field, such as the discussion. We encourage editorial teams to act as an intermediary between authors and those performing the update.