New Standards for Plain Language Summaries

The PLEACS working group has produced a set of minimum standards for the content of plain language summaries. This version of the standards has been distributed to Cochrane authors and editors for implementation in all new reviews. 

The MECIR Project

This PLEACS project is part of the wide Methodological Expectations for Cochrane Intervention Reviews (MECIR) initiative, which consists of the conduct standards and reporting standards for all intervention reviews. To learn more about MECIR, please click here.


The standards completed a consultation process in August 2013. Members of Cochrane were invited to provide comments on each of the standards and to state whether they agreed or disagreed with status (mandatory or highly desirable) of each standard.  Twenty-three sets of comments were received.  Those comments were submitted by 17 entities; including 15 CRGs, one field and one Centre; and 5 individuals.Consumers from CCNet were specifically invited to comment.  

All feedback was combined into a single document for the PLEACS working group to consider.  Action items to amend the standards were discussed by PLEACS working group and implemented by the co-convenors.

For more information about the background of the project, please click here

Click here to learn more about the members participating in this process.

Following the finalization of these standards, the Cochrane Central Executive Team will work (i) to create online style and format recommendations for PLS authors in order to improve the quality and consistency of PLS; (iI) to support PLS authors through the development of clear guidance and good practice examples; and (iII) to inform development of ERC check lists, Handbook guidance and Archie software modifications. 

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